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David Bowie's new album: Why now?

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David Bowie with his Rolls Royce, May 1973

© PA Images / PA Archive / AP

David Bowie in 1973


He hasn't appeared in public for years or released any new music in over a decade, so why has David Bowie chosen now to release a new album?

Aside from the obvious desire to celebrate his 66th birthday - which falls today - it was only three months ago his wife casually-but-cleverly insisted that he wasn't interested in writing new music and was spending his golden years playing dad.

Noise of Bowie's possible comeback began before any official news was released, with #BowieComeback2013 gaining momentum on Twitter late last night - though truth be told it felt more like wishful thinking from hardened fans.

David Bowie, Birmingham NEC Arena - 1995

© PA Images / Simon Meaker / EMPICS Entertainment

David Bowie photographed in February 1970.

© PA Images / PA Archive












However, shortly after midnight, the news was even better than expected. His website reappeared with not just a new song, but a music video and details of an entire new album, The Next Day, to follow in March.

The track itself - titled 'Where Are We Now?' - is a melancholy affair that finds Bowie in reflective mode. "Sitting in the Dschungel on Nurnberger Strasse," he sings in his distinctive, wobbly vocal as he recalls the streets of Berlin.

And while the accompanying video might not be much to look at, it's worth it for a glimpse of a man whose last major public appearance was a performance with Alicia Keys at her charity Black Ball in 2006.



So why now? Rumours of deteriorating health - which after heart surgery in 2004 and his absence at both Olympic ceremonies prompted many to assume he had retired altogether - have been dismissed time and again by his confidants. More likely is what his spokesperson once said, that "he writes and performs what he wants, when he wants".

Of course for many people Bowie never really went away; his boundary-pushing style and sound continue to influence new artists today. That said, one aspect he has well and truly brought back in a blaze of glory is the art of surprise.

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