OK, I don’t need to tell you that David Bowie is a brilliant musician, responsible for songs such as Life On Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Fashion, Changes and Heroes amongst many others. I also don’t need to mention that he is a fashion icon, or that he has straddled so many genres over the past 50 years that he has inspired everyone from Lady Gaga to Franz Ferdinand. And of course, most importantly, I shouldn’t have to say that without him we would never have seen Heath Ledger strut his stuff to Golden Years in A Knight’s Tale. He’s an icon.
And now he has returned! How he managed to record a new album after a ten year absence without anyone twigging on I have no idea- just when the world had finally accepted that he had stopped making music and rumours about his health circulated, he just swept in and casually dropped that The Next Day would be out in March and that we could buy his latest single on iTunes, the whole shebang, and promptly flounced out again. WHO DOES THAT? David Bowie does that. Personally, I’m intrigued as to what ‘Dancing Out In Space’ and ‘(You Will) Set The World On Fire’ will sound like (because if they’re anything like their titles they will be EPIC).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to pretend that I’ve listened to all 24 of his previous albums, and in that sense you might wonder why I’m excited about one more when there are so many I already have to discover. Well, other than the Batman-esque notion that he’s back to save the music world from the clutches of autotune just when we need him most, I’m curious to see how he’s changed as an artist since his last release. He’s now turned 66 (that’s old enough for free bus travel!) and it looks like this time around we’re getting the chance to see his nostalgic side- listen to his new single Where Are We Now? and be instantly transported to his heyday in Berlin, sitting and watching the world go by. Imagination is a powerful thing, and something I don’t think you necessarily get from the millions of songwriters Rihanna has behind her.
It remains to be seen whether a new generation will finally be able to see him perform live, as emergency heart surgery resulted in the final 14 dates of his last tour being cancelled, but the world waits with baited breath.