The below mixture of unrelated terms might look like something that has been thrown up during an advanced game of Scrabble, but it is actually a “work flow diagram” explanation of David Bowie’s new album.
The Thin White Duke has retained his mysterious remoteness throughout the promotion of his first album in a decade, The Next Day. He has refused to be interviewed and has made no public appearances - not even attending an exhibition dedicated to his aesthetic influence at the V&A.
So Bowie’s decision to break his silence has been welcomed by the fans. But unfortunately what he has graced us with is so cryptic it more closely resembles Finnegans Wake than the sort of mutually congratulatory indepth exploration of his inner self which might appear in an industry music rag.
The list was presented to American novelist and journalist Rick Moody who, writing in The Rumpus, marvelled at the fact that he had “somehow persuaded David Bowie to part with a few words on the subject of this album”.
Thanking him “fervently” for the list, which he says enables “a really great album to be illuminated, given the opportunity to blossom further”, Moody explains his motivation: “I wanted to understand the lexicon of The Next Day, and so I simply asked if he would provide this list of words about his album, assuming, like everyone else waving madly trying to get his attention, that there was not a chance in hell that I would get this list, because who the f*** am I, some novelist killing time writing occasionally about music, and yet astonishingly the list appeared, and it appeared without further comment, which is really excellent, and exactly in the spirit of this album.”
He add: “And the list is far better than I could ever have hoped, and it’s exactly like Bowie, at least in my understanding of him, impulsive, intuitive, haunted, astringent, and incredibly ambitious in the matter of the arts; Bowie is a conceptual artist, it seems to me, who just happens to work in the popular song, and he wants to make work that goes somewhere new, and this is amply demonstrated by the list.”
Here’s the list in full. What do you think David Bowie means? Please leave thoughts and responses in the comment area, below: