It’s David Bowie’s (Ziggy Stardust; Goblin King; around smashing guy) 66th birthday today, and, for the first time since 2003, he’s releasing new material. Many people speculated that he’d quietly retired, with no public appearances in years. The nation would have much preferred a live rendition of ‘Heroes’ than Paul “I’m always free” McCartney’s Hey Jude at the Olympic opening ceremony. But that wasn’t the right time. 2013 is Bowie’s year. He’s even got an exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Early January seems to be David’s favourite time to release (yesterday was the 41 anniversary of Changes; Sunday was 35 years since Beauty and The Beast came out), so there was a bit of Twitter based speculation last night. Would Bowie’s 66th year see a new track? Many doubted. But bright and early this morning the rumour became a reality, and Bowie is back.
The video for ‘Where Are We Now?’ is quite odd and more melancholic than we’ve heard in a while. Featuring David’s face projected on a puppet, Tony Oursler’s surreal video echoes the lyrics (hard to miss, when they’re written out for you as well); this is a song about Bowie’s time in Berlin in the 70s. Despite ten years away from the studio, and the inevitable vocal ageing which comes from a career which spans six decades, Bowie is still sounding pretty bloody good. There are moments which seem reminiscent of late 60s tracks, a nod, perhaps, to his earlier work, and the man who produced both this, and ‘Space Oddity’: long-time collaborator Tony Visconti.
Dance Yrself Clean