Today, David Bowie celebrates his 66th birthday. But it's his fans who are getting the surprising presents.
With no fanfare, Bowie released his first single in 10 years, a gorgeous, haunting ballad “Where Are We Now,” on iTunes and debuted its stark, Berlin-influenced video on his website and on YouTube.
He also announced that a new album “The Next Day,” his first since 2003's “Reality,” is complete and will be released on March 12 on his own ISO Records and distributed through Columbia Records.
Bowie hasn't made any public appearances or statements in years, leading to loads of speculation about his health and that he has simply retired. However, “Where Are We Now,” produced by his longtime collaborator Tony Visconti in New York, shows that Bowie remains in fine form artistically.
The song starts off melancholy and harkens back to “Life on Mars?” from 1971's “Hunky Dory” album, as the narrator wanders around Berlin “just walking the dead.” But it grows steely at the end, with a trademark Bowie/Visconti orchestral swell, as Bowie describes “the moment you know you know you know” in concrete terms – “as long as there's sun,” “as long as there's rain,” “as long as there's me” and “as long as there's you.”
It's a stunning, powerful declaration of the intent to push on. And it's a thrilling confirmation that Bowie, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, is still with us.