by Bill Forman
Fans of pop music superstars rejoice: Today is the birthday of both Elvis Presley and David Bowie. And one of them is celebrating the occasion today with the release of his first new single and video in nearly 10 years, and a full album to follow in March.
In an age where virtually nothing stays secret for long, Bowie’s “Where Are We Now?” release came as a complete surprise to fans, journalists and even most of Bowie’s inner circle. Daily Telegraph critic Neil McCormick welcomed it as possibly the most “surprising, perfect and welcome comeback in rock history.”
It’s also a great tune, which may come as a surprise to those who lost interest in the artist’s late ’80s and ’90s output. The track was produced by Tony Visconti, who was responsible for nearly all of Bowie’s classic albums right up through the famed late-’70s “Berlin trilogy” (Low, Heroes and Lodger).
The two collaborators subsequently parted ways and did not reunite until 2002’s Heathen, which was rightfully greeted as a major comeback far superior to Bowie’s ’90s work on his own and with the band Tin Machine. 2003’s Reality followed, after which a near-fatal heart attack seemingly sent the artist into retirement from stage and studio.
Until now, that is. The elegiac “Where Are We Now?” resonates with the soulfully atmospheric vibe of Young Americans’ best, albeit lesser-known, tracks. Have a listen below, and see what you think.