On his 66th birthday, the crowning jewel of British Rock ‘n’ Roll announced a shock return to the music industry. David Robert Jones, stage name David Bowie, dropped silently back onto the scene with the single Where are we now? and the announcement of his 24th studio album The Next Day, which will become available in March. After reportedly turning down an offer to sing at the Olympic ceremonies, it seemed unlikely that we would hear from Bowie again.
Recently, the designer behind the artwork of The Next Day, Jonathan Barnbrookhas, has spoken out about the reasoning behind the peculiar cover. It features Bowie’s iconic album Heroes with ‘Heroes’ crossed out and most noticeably, a big white box obscuring most of the cover with ‘The Next Day’ written on it in simple black font. According to Barnbrook, this is to signify the weight of expectation given by such an illustrious career as Bowie’s and how, however hard we try, we cannot escape the past. This and the title, The Next Day, seem to represent Bowie moving forward from his past work and maybe onto a different direction with the new album.
David Bowie’s Where Are We Now?
Fans can now get their hand to the majestically simple Where are we now? which has already been nominated for a ‘Best Music Video,’ award. Far from the 70’s image of the painted face of Ziggy Stardust, Bowie looks more solemn and weary in this video, acting the part of a conjoined puppet. The lyrics of the song are simple but have the makings of an instant classic. The strong theme here is the collapse of the Berlin wall with shots of this throughout and the haunting lyric, ’20,000 people/ Cross Bösebrücke/ Fingers are crossed/ Just in case.’ The chorus of this song is delivered beautifully with real emotion that can be heard and seen on the face of David Bowie in the video.
What this means to music, is that after the year of The Stone Roses’ and The Rolling Stones’ reformations, we are kindly given back the iconic music hero of the past decades. Despite this, Bowie has reportedly ruled out any live shows or interviews, preferring now to work from behind the scenes. This, sadly, will probably be the case given the star’s years and well documented stubbornness. However, the music fans have been returned a character that isn’t about the money or the fame. He simply wants to get his music out there and with it we will quite probably be delivered a very strong message.
Written by Jack Ryan
OurVinyl | Contributor