Friday, January 11, 2013

David Bowie: "Where Are We Now?"

I have been listening to Bowie non-stop this week.  I've actually been in a Bowie mood for a while, so the timing was perfect for the most stunning music news in recent memory:  with zero advance notice or warning or hype, David Bowie ends a near 10-year recording silence with a new single, "Where Are We Now?", and an album called "The Next Day" due in March.   The news shellshocked the music industry and I couldn't believe what I was reading when I first saw it.

But... is it any good?

"Where Are We Now?" is just sublime.  Unbelievably powerful.  The perfect song for Bowie's return.  He mournfully, wistfully ruminates on his past, walking the dead through his old haunts of Berlin.  But the song turns, becomes a defiant statement of "hey, we are still here!" - with a desperately, brilliant sung vocal that conveys the message perfectly.  Yeah, we can sit and wistfully remember our past.  But we are still here, we are still living, and we still have a future.  At the end of the video they slip away from their pasts and walk out of the room, into their everyday, real lives.

The slow buildup and swell of the music, and Bowie's vocal performance... nostalgic and somewhat bittersweet and then turning tense and passionate ...  "as long as there's fire... as long as there's you... as long and there's me.."    The song has literally left me in tears.

The man, even at this stage in his career, continues to surprise, amaze, astonish, delight.  Thank you Mr. Bowie.  You didn't have to come out of your domestic bliss/retirement, but I'm so happy that you did.  It couldn't have been a better-crafted return.

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