4. David Bowie – The Next Day (Columbia)
In a year of musical comebacks, perhaps none was more surprising than the return of David Bowie after a decade’s absence. Heralded by the sombre, wistful and impossibly beautiful comeback track Where Are We Now? Bowie’s 24th album turned out to be neither the sad farewell address of a man suffering from erroneously reported medical ailments or an exercise in bland nostalgia but instead a vital and invigorated record imbued with the spirit of identity, invention and myriad styles that make Bowie the most iconic of artists.
The Next Day was recorded in secret over the last few years and produced by long-term collaborator Tony Visconti. It is undoubtedly a classic Bowie album. The unexpected nature of its release just makes it all the more special. While referencing his past with the Heroes referencing artwork and lyrical nods to Berlin, Bowie also points the way towards a musical future with an album that bristles with energy and vigour.
Not only is The Next Day a remarkable record in its own right, it is as perfect a comeback release as any Bowie fan could hope to hear.
– Martyn Young
What we said: “It may well be that a change is as good as a rest, but David Bowie’s gone through more than his fair share of changes over the years. This may have been a particularly long rest, but he’s come back sounding like a new man. The release of The Next Day would have been one of the biggest stories of the year no matter what its quality – the fact that it also happens to be one of the best records of Bowie’s career to date just makes the comeback that much more triumphant.” – John Murphy