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Sound Check

CD Reviews 03.14

3/13/2013

David Bowie's The Next DayDavid Bowie

‘The Next Day’

Columbia

Remember when David Bowie was DAVID BOWIE, and everything he touched was beautiful and amazing? He stopped being transcendent right around 1990, and since then has been releasing albums that have seemed to grasp more desperately at some kind of social relevance. Time had passed Bowie by. But a funny thing happened on the way to “The Next Day.” Bowie stopped reacting to trends and just started writing. The result is Bowie’s best album in three decades. “I’d Rather Be High” and “Valentine’s Day” are some of his best work since songs like “Heroes” or “Ashes to Ashes.” The album isn’t perfect, but it is vintage Bowie: There’s no apologizing here; no pandering for a younger audience. This is just high heat, and if you can’t catch up to it, the fault is yours, not his. CV

 

HIV

CD Kate NashKate Nash

‘Girl Talk’

Have 10p Records/Fontana

Kate Nash is growing up, and she really wants you to know it. The problem, however, is that — much like a toddler struggling to figure out what all these emotions mean — Nash doesn’t really know where her grown-up voice is going to take her. “Girl Talk” serves as an effort to take her further away from the mainstream pop of her debut album, and into something that I guess you could call punk. At least, that’s the idea. It’s got a very DIY sound, but she seems to have gotten there more by abandoning songs in the middle than by any normal artist convention. All-grown-up-Kate has a social agenda, but she’s also got a very heavy-handed way of delivering the message: (“I’m a feminist / and if that offends you / then fuck you.”) Ultimately, “Girl Talk” is sound and fury signifying nothing. And it doesn’t even have the decency to be entertaining during the experience. CV

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