So, The Next Day Extra is a special edition release of Bowie’s latest original album, The Next Day. It’s a box set of two CDs and one DVD. I already talked about The Next Day, the album proper, so I’ll just talk about the extra CD, which is a load of songs cut from the record and a couple of remixes. The vibe on The Next Day Extra is totally different than on the original album. And given that all of these songs are really great, I’m guessing that was the reason they were cut from the record. The Next Day has a gloomy, greyed out tone to it; The Next Day Extra is kind of unapologetically a party record, filled with danceable tracks like the blasting opener Atomica & the rousing The Informer. Then there’s a winning short instrumental called Plan and a couple of great, high energy tracks with little hidden jokes. Like a Rocket Man has obvious resonances with Elton John’s song and, of course, Bowie’s own Space Oddity and Born in a UFO borrows the rousing chorus melody right out of Springsteen’s song without changing a note. This is Bowie having fun and it’s a perfectly wonderful contrast to the dour, dark original album. Getting the box set like this is really perfect; it’s like a two disc album, neatly split down the middle between darker material and more fun material. This probably is how it should have been released in the first place. But a word for the real winner of The Next Day Extra. The best track on the original album is Love is Lost; the best track on the bonus disc is a remix of Love is Lost. It’s done by James Murphy (nee LCD Soundsystem) and it mixes Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes into the mix and stretches out to a wonderful 10 minutes in length. If the idea of LCD Soundsystem mixing two Bowie songs together and then mixing them both out into a ten minute track doesn’t get you salivating, nothing will and the track is suitably wonderful. Sometimes artists try to pawn off subpar material on bonus discs and extra tracks; not Bowie. This stuff is great. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – the leftovers from Bowie’s Next Day album are just as good, just different in tone; Bowie’s having a party on this one and it’s non-stop fun. 4 stars.