Freddie Matthews writes from London: The fact that David Bowie has released his first single in a decade is some of the best music news we’ve heard since Jeff Wayne’s War Of The World’s New got a whole New Generation. But what has Bowie been up to and where the hell has he been?
Not only is there a new single Where Are We Now? but he also released it on his 66th birthday, 8 January, following many years and much speculation if he’d ever return to the music business.
The single was totally unexpected but the news gets even better as Mr. Bowie has also announced a brand new album release also, The Next Day, due to go on sale sometime in March. If you’re a Bowie fan then you’ll be familiar with his long-term producer Tony Visconti. He was at the production helm for Bowie’s 1969 Space Oddity album. Well he’s there for this up and coming, soon to be, 26th studio album.
What’s fantastic about David Bowie’s return is not just that the production and performance remain, albeit with a slightly more frail vocal performance but that David Bowie is a British singing legend. He’s rock royalty and from Brixton in London of all places. What this new material does is open the extensive Bowie back catalogue to a whole new generation of music lovers and there’s so much of it to be explored and more importantly, purchased.
Bowie bowed out of a personal performance at the 2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony, to which Danny Boyle personally invited him, due to ill health. Well, that’s what we thought. Of course his 1977 single Heroes was an Olympic anthem and quite rightly so as it typified everything an Olympian aspires to be, a hero.
David Bowie had heart surgery in 2004 and ever since there have been many rumours of his ill health. Visconti has been quoted saying that Bowie is, ‘Extremely healthy and rosy cheeked, his stamina is fantastic.’ That’s exactly all we need to know heading into a brand new 26th David Bowie album and hopefully that will also translate into a tour, of some kind, and maybe even a festival performance or 5. You can just imagine festival organisers and fans alike, myself included, getting excited at the prospect. Unless you’re of a certain age it’s unlikely you’ll have seen Bowie live, apart from the odd one-off guest performances here and there.
The new single Where Are We Now? is a simple no fuss vocal over piano, a ballad that shot to the iTunes No.1 within a matter of hours of its release. I like the David Bowie philosophy, almost as if he’s releasing this because he has something to say, not because he needs to produce albums and now the time is right. There are mentions of Berlin where Bowie and Visconti lived while producing three of the 1970s albums, Low, Heroes and Lodger.
I’d like to think that a song from a music legend could kick the often-mundane UK Top 40 into shape, at least if only for a few weeks.
Download the new David Bowie single Where Are We Now? and also the new album The Next Day which is released sometime in March, for which here’s the tracklisting:
The Next Day
The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
Love Is Lost
Where Are We Now?
If You Can See Me
I’d Rather Be High
Boss Of Me
Dancing Out In Space
How Does The Grass Grow
(You Will) Set The World On Fire
You Feel So Lonely You Could Die
Deluxe Version bonus tracks:
I’ll Take You There
For the first time ever Bowie music has been introduced to social media in the shape of the best free and positive, money can’t buy, publicity and that won’t do his sales any harm whatsoever. Yet, even with all of the above not a single social media site had any intimation of the fantastic David Bowie news received simultaneously on Wednesday morning 8 January 2013.
Age is irrelevant, British rock royalty has returned and we should all bow to respect that. While I’m on the subject of royalty, has ‘one’ thought about Sir David Bowie, Your Majesty?