Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bowie's Back

I see that David Bowie, 66 today, has announced his first album in ten years: The Next Day, produced by Tony Visconti (who of course produced most of his 70s classics). Can't say I'm chomping at the bit but I'll certainly give it a whirl when it comes out in March - coinciding with a big retrospective exhibition at the V&A. 
Bowie was untouchable in the 70s. I cut my teeth on the glam of Ziggy, Pin-Ups and Aladdin Sane, was there for 'Starman' on TOTP, went back to Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold the World and Hunky Dory, followed him through the rock-to-soul-to-increasingly-experimental Diamond Dogs, Young Americans and Station to Station, and lapped up the Euro-Eno weirdness of LowHeroes and Lodger. Saw him once during this time - at London's Earls Court in 1978, while I was still at school. 
The 80s started well, with Scary Monsters, and Let's Dance was OK, but it all went downhill from there, including the awful Tin Machine. I tried to like him in the 90s, and to be fair Black Tie White Noise was passable, the overlooked Buddha of Suburbia soundtrack actually very good (Bowie once said it was his favourite), the Eno-produced Outside decent in parts (and I caught the tour at Wembley Arena), but I just couldn't get into Earthling and Hours
Come the 00s, Heathen Earth and Reality were merely OK, although Liz & I saw a great show at the Budokan in Tokyo in 2003... and then nothing. I see that Jon Barnbrook, who designed the last two albums, has come up with a controversial sleeve for the new one (see right). 
Which brings us to the 'Where Are We Now' single, out today. The theme of the album sleeve kind of suggests "forget the past", so it's odd that the song and video are all about Berlin, harking back to the late 70s. Tony Oursler's video is predictably, reassuringly strange, but who is Bowie sitting next to on that couch?

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