David Bowie: Where we are now

by Gazette Reporter
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2013 is barely two weeks old and it already seems that this is going to be the year of the comeback.
Starting out with a whimper — hold onto your hats for the return of Atomic Kitten, people — and ending with a tumult of acclaim and delight with the emergence from the wilderness of a certain Thin White Duke, there have been some incredible events before the New Year’s hangover has barely passed into the realms of never again.
Destiny’s Child, Justin Timberlake, Outkast… just three of the returning acts so far this year, but, really, there is only one that matters.
The amazing birthday gift to the world of David Bowie’s return to the game was a stunning piece of theatre worthy of the onstage retirement of Ziggy Stardust or the Top Of The Pops performance of Starman.
What was so amazing was its subtlety and the sense of utter surprise felt around the world. In a world of spoilers and leaks, where instantaneous news is fed to us constantly and we crave the next thing immediately before moving onto the next with barely an impression being left on us in the process.
No fanfare, no tweets, no status update, just a ripple that turned into a tsunami of chatter, hope and expectation by the following morning as people woke up to the news that Bowie was back.
The track, Where Are We Now?, is an exercise in restraint and melancholy, reflective and heartfelt about a time when Bowie was undergoing another fundamental change as an artist when he came to Berlin, recording seminal albums like Heroes that defined more markers in the uninterrupted succession of epochal records that ran from Hunky Dory to Let’s Dance.
It’s on the basis of the legacy of that period that the current shock and awe is earned, alongside the presumption that Bowie had left the building. Following his last outings on record and on stage that included a pair of simply astonishing appearances at The Point that will linger to the dying day of anyone who was privileged to be there, there was little heard since 2006. Health issues, and the ongoing radio silence from New York made the presumption of retirement a more likely reality. But without official confirmation, there was always the possibilty of a comeback. And so it comes to pass…
The news that Tony Visconti, Bowie’s long time producer is on the boards, that the record has taken two years to craft, and features both classic Bowie and experimental Bowie is fantastic. Hopes will remain high and hopefully internet hype and expectation will not crush the project when it finally appears. But given the theatre and subtlety of the initial announcement, it makes sense that the arrival of the album in March will have the same impact.
Bowie is not one of the legends of music for no reason. He remains able to create an enormous effect with four minutes of song in the same way he shook and changed a generation with an unimpeachable back catalogue and seismic cultural impact nearly 40 years ago. To say we should be looking forward to the album is a massive understatement.

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