Turns out the world didn’t end a few weeks back, much to the chagrin of Mayan calendar enthusiasts. And that pretty much left the masses free to wake up to an even bigger shock today: the unexpected release of a brand new track by David Bowie, called “Where Are We Now?” — an early taste of The Next Day (out March 12), the music legend’s first album in nearly a decade.
The wistful piano-rock ballad arrives on what is Bowie’s 66th birthday, and finds him reminiscing about his days spent living in the Western part of Germany’s capital city, when he recorded his seminal Berlin Trilogy in the latter half of the 1970s — that would be Low, “Heroes” and Lodger. (You can see footage of his old flat there in the video.)
Reeling from the aftershocks of this new recording, Rolling Stone pondered today, “Will he support [the upcoming album] with a tour? Bowie hasn’t done a concert since a massive heart attack abruptly shortened his 2003/04 Reality world tour, and he hasn’t sung a single song in public since 2006. That said, people often forget just how amazing he was on that last tour.”
The Los Angeles Times also considered if and when Bowie will be turning up on a stage in the near future: “No mention of that is anywhere to be found on the artist’s newly unveiled website, so idle speculation that Bowie will be gigging a certain desert music festival must remain just that.”
SPIN, on the other hand, was just happy to see the artist “breaking the end of a decade-long hiatus from recording that left millions wondering whether one of rock’s greatest icons had truly retired from the music business.”
However, perhaps Bowie’s own revamped site summed up the euphoria best: “The response to the news we exclusively revealed in the small hours has been incredible and what nicer way to wish David Bowie a Happy Birthday than with all the positive responses on TV, radio, newspaper and social media sites.” Indeed.
The Next Day‘s 14 tracks (17 if you go with the Deluxe version) were produced by the Thin White Duke’s longtime collaborator Tony Visconti, a creative pairing that dates back 44 years to Space Oddity.
Below is the full tracklist for the album, which has already jumped into the Top 10 on iTunes thanks to pre-orders alone. Even more impressive: “Where Are We Now?” is the #1 single on the UK iTunes store currently, while The Next Day is the top album.
1. “The Next Day”
2. “Dirty Boys”
3. “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”
4. “Love Is Lost”
5. “Where Are We Now?”
6. “Valentine’s Day”
7. “If You Can See Me”
8. “I’d Rather Be High”
9. “Boss of Me”
10. “Dancing Out in Space”
11. “How Does the Grass Grow”
12. “(You Will) Set the World on Fire”
13. “You Feel So Lonely You Could Die”
15. “So She”
16. “I’ll Take You There”