One thing that is beautiful about The Next Day is David Bowie’s face. David Bowie’s face is a thing that has often been written about, and which has been often fetishized in the context of his work, especially in the period between ’72 and ’77 or so, when he was more than beautiful, when he was radiantly beautiful and oddly casual about how beautiful he was (what else could he do). …the package of The Next Day casts off the earlier Bowie. And the jacket of The Next Day, which uses a cocktail napkin, a white square, to block out the David Bowie of “Heroes,” lies in wait for those who would make the mistake of looking for David Bowie the fetish; likewise, the highly stylized photograph of Bowie in the package makes him look about as haunted and rough around the edges as he could possibly look, and it’s the beautiful Bowie that seems like an albatross now, even to Bowie himself,  it’s the whippet thin androgyne from outerspace wearing a g-string or a dress that’s the effigy, or all those suicidal coke-addicted paranoids who can’t even remember making Station to Station, who gave interviews high saying things much regretted later on, those effigies are bodies left to rot in a hollow tree, and the challenging part of the metaphor is that Bowie can still, apparently, feel the too-famous-for-his-own-good young man back there, in the wreckage, and feels him like a sequence of ghosts informing what he has to write, and he keeps trying to kill them off (like on the back cover of Scary Monsters), the effigies, the undead, they keeping coming back, because everybody has to come to some compromise with the early work, you know, when it’s produced in public, and the effigies, here, haunt the enterprise, in the lyrics and occasionally in a wafting of melody of texture from the past, which drifts over the dark landscape …

Swinging Modern Sounds #44: And Another Day by Rick Moody