David Bowie returns to music with new song on his 66th birthday


DavidBowie Where are We Now? stillWell, consider my cynicism of David Bowie ever releasing a record again squashed. Early this morning (on his 66th birthday), David Bowie’s official website debuted his new song “Where Are We Now?” accompanied with a lyric-video (watch it here). Bowie seems in fine form. Working once again with producer Tony Visconti, the new song fits right into the stream of albums he released in the early 2000s, Heathen and Reality. It’s hard to believe his last album, Reality, was 10 years ago.

The new song has all the autumnal elements of Bowie. Again, his obsession with creeping mortality juxtaposed with naiveté has cropped up. The first lines:

Had to get the train
From Potzdamer Platz
You never knew that
That I could do that
Just walking the dead

Potzdamer Platz is an acknowledgement of Berlin, where Bowie famously worked with Visconti and Brian Eno on some his the greatest albums of his career: Low and “Heroes.” He clearly is in nostalgia mode referencing Böse Brücke, a checkpoint separating the once divided city. He also sings “Sitting in the Dschungel/On Nurnberger Strasse,” a reference to a club he used to frequent in the city in the late 1970s.

Another element recognizable to the Bowie obsessive is the mark of video artist Tony Oursler, who Bowie began working with during 1997’s Earthling. The projected faces on oval objects is his hallmark. It reveals Bowie’s typical self-deprecating humor. He knows he’s no longer some pretty pop star.

David Bowie Where are we now still

Finally, the music seems low-key with a key dynamic and powerful moment halfway through when he offers a beautiful building string of lines that also shows how accepting he is about mortality:

As long as there’s sun
As long as there’s sun

As long as there’s rain
As long as there’s rain

As long as there’s fire
As long as there’s fire

As long as there’s me

There are dreamy guitars and a sporadic, soft piano with a quietly tapped drum kit, until the soaring midpoint and the guitar climbs a high-pitched scale and the piano starts soloing with restraint (could it be Mike Garson?*), and the drums receive a delicate pounding. Bowie is clearly on acoustic getting emphatic along with the other instruments. It’s a beautiful return to form. It seems Reality was only yesterday, and Bowie was never gone.

Details (including full track listing) about the new album, titled the Next Day, can be found hereIt will be released in the US on March 12 (Australia will get it first on March 8) via Columbia Records. Edit: revised release dates:

March 8: Germany
March 11: UK
March 12: USA
March 15: Australia

Hans Morgenstern

*Up-date: Garson confirmed via email that is not him playing but added that he thinks “it’s a cool song.”

(Copyright 2013 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.