Every time I glance at the cover of The Next Day, a sense of relief and happiness descends on me. I am found, and set square on the earth. I know where I am, where we all are.
Always ready to be wrong, always uncertain and apologetic for my stupidity and then – proof falls out of the sky unasked. You believe in UFOs – a UFO lands in New York. You believe in Reptilian Overlords and the Queen’s mask falls off. Or like me you suspect that insipid nostalgia has become pandemic and a Bowie record comes out with artwork from THIRTY SIX YEARS AGO with a stupid white box slapped over it.
Why didn’t they use Comic Sans? If you are going to announce that you have truly given up and have absolutely nothing left to offer, at least give it that friendly, happy look. A clip art of a puppy and some balloons maybe? Because at the moment there’s a slight protest that the white box is in some way stylish, that it aspires to some artistry. The sad ass who ‘designed’ this has landed on something as default as Myriad Fucking Pro. Ineffectually ‘professional’. Gutless. A tepid little mnemonic of risk. Give me HOBO or death.
Look at the font on the original sleeve. It’s ugly, gloriously, proudly fuck you seventies ugly. They have crossed it out, but even then in a timid little scratch.
Where is the humour, the ribaldry? It’s a twee little titter of a thing that dares not rise above a ‘reference’ to become a fully grown mock.
I love this album art as an honest appraisal of our artistic landscape in 2013. A time where so many touch screens, tweets, arduino boards and clouds all conspire to squeeze out a mealy little fart. A time when we desperately cling to the old revolutionaries even when they became reactionary swine. When Bowie and Kraftwerk and Joy Division are the names we have to work with – long after they were left out of the fridge.
I was apologetic for continuing to exist, but I realise that what we need is so much of this limp filth that that the audience rises up and strangles us. Bring it on.