It is almost ten years ago that David Bowie released his 2003 album – Reality, so perhaps it is fitting that today, on his 66th birthday, he has decided to surprise his fans and release a new single Where Are We Now, to be followed up with an album – The Next Day, in March of this year.
Bowie fans are undeniably excited as the rock star has not performed live since 2006, and now speculation is rife as to whether he will take to the stage to promote the new album and single. And praise is already flooding in for the new tune, which sees Bowie reunited with his old chum and long-time collaborator Tony Visconti.
As befits the former Ziggy Stardust star, Bowie has kept his fans guessing over the years with his constant changes of image and musical style, and as the singer appeared online to promote his new single, John Wilson, presenter of BBC 4’s Front Row expressed his “genuine surprise” at the singer’s appearance.
The single is a ballad, filled with imagery of Berlin, and although it has been produced by Tony Visconti, whose 70s collaborations were typically modern, solitary, harsh, forward-looking, this new single is reflective, sweeter in tone – yet also haunting and full of doubt.
“If you listen to each of the verses, there are lyrical references to Berlin, to Potsdamer Platz, to Nuremberg Strasse,” said Wilson. “Places where he lived when he was making those albums. And there is an elegiac quality. There’s a sadness, I think. A weariness to his voice.”
The artwork for the new album, which has surfaced on iTunes, is an altered version of the cover to Heroes, suggesting a further connection to the Berlin Trilogy.
Fellow Bowie fans have taken to Twitter to voice their pleasure at the new single, with journalist Caitlin Moran writing: “I’m so insanely excited. It’s like hearing King Arthur’s voice from the cave.” Comedian David Walliams added: “I love that Bowie has kept his mystique. No word from him for years and then out of nowhere this beautiful song appears. I wonder whether Bowie will go on Loose Women to promote it?”
Music fan Chris Lilley wrote: “It’s quite an elaborate way to apologise for not performing at the Olympics.” And Bowie’s son, film director Duncan Jones, chipped in: “Would be lovely if all of you could spread the word about da’s new album. First in ten years, and its a good ‘un!”
Acknowledging the stealthy release of the single, the pop star’s press representative said in a statement: “Throwing shadows and avoiding the industry treadmill is very David Bowie”.
The promo, which can be viewed via the singer’s website, features his face projected onto the body of a puppet. The face of a woman is projected onto the mannequin beside him, with Bowie appearing in more conventional form later on in the video, clutching a notebook and wearing a T-shirt with the logo for the classic operetta Song Of Norway.
In September, the singer denied reports he was involved in an upcoming exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum in London charting his career.
Source: BBC News