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|Posté le: Jeu 21 Fév - 14:49 (2013) Sujet du message: Ashes To Ashes? Not Just Yet…
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Ashes To Ashes? Not Just Yet…
Thursday 21 February, 2013
“You never knew that, that I could do that.”
On January 8 2013, shock was felt throughout the world when David Bowie fans heard their idol’s 66-year-old voice softly singing on the radio. Following the sudden release of his latest single ‘Where Are We Now?’, there was news of an upcoming album titled The Next Day, which confirmed that when it comes to the ability to surprise the music industry, artists such as Madonna and Lady Gaga still remain absolute amateurs when compared to the legend that is David Bowie.
Having not released any noteworthy new material for a decade, refusing to appear in a scene dedicated to his music at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, and with constant rumours surrounding the artist’s declining health, fans of the Thin White Duke could be forgiven for thinking that they had seen the last of their musical idol.
Even more so, the last decade has seen a legacy built around the Bowie brand which may have perhaps suggested that it was part of a bygone era. The BBC television programmes Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes, as well as the upcoming David Bowie Is exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum have all fuelled this idea, turning the very idea of David Bowie into one of myth.
That myth was cemented at the beginning of January 2013, when Bowie seemed to do the impossible: releasing news of new material, without having experienced any leaks (neither due to the media nor even from within the music industry itself). Bowie’s team had managed to keep the recording of the new material so secret that many radio presenters commented that they didn’t know of the new single until they were about to press the play button. It is surprises like this which only add to the Bowie mystique.
With the musician’s age in mind, some were quick to comment on the slow tempo of the new number, as well as the apparent dullness of the artist’s latest visual offering. This isn’t really a surprise: Bowie’s legend is built on the foundations of anthems and continuous, spectacular changes in visual presentation (the most famous of which is, of course, the ‘Ziggy Stardust’ persona), with each glamorous outfit followed by another which was even more glamorous (and weird).
However, it is because of this legacy that some critics have accused Bowie of having had his time, particularly when they watch his latest video and see who could be seen to be merely a normal man, wearing normal clothes. Maybe, though, this is all part of Bowie’s latest reinvention and perhaps this may even be his masterpiece?
Only time will tell how successful the comeback of Bowie will ultimately be. Certainly, his latest musical foray offers not only a break from the past, but a reflection on one of the greatest musical careers in history. Meanwhile, the latest reinvention of the man himself could be the sign of a musician who has left behind the days of glitz and glamour in favour of a more conservative sense of style. Or, it could be Bowie’s greatest ever work of art.
While he refuses any interviews and has allegedly ruled out any chance of touring, this all appears irrelevant – he has done what he set out to do. By causing shock and surprise amongst his fans and the music industry with his sudden return from what many considered to be retirement, and maybe – just maybe – by dressing and performing in a more reserved style, David Bowie might just have performed his greatest trick of all: convincing the world that he is, as they say, conventional.