David Bowie's gone through some ch-ch-ch-changes in his career. But perhaps the most perplexing one was pulling a disappearing act 10 years ago.
Well, great news, Bowie fans: The Thin White Duke is back with his first song—and album—in a nearly a decade in honor of his 66th birthday today.
The new tune that was released on Bowie's website, "Where Are We Now?," is a slow burner that the music legend worked on with long-time producer Tony Visconti with lyrical nods to the city of Berlin. That's where Bowie lived for three years and conceived what's been dubbed his "Berlin trilogy" of records—Low, Heroes and Lodger.
"Where Are We Now" is accompanied by a haunting video of old black-and-white footage of the German capital circa the 1970s and features Bowie's now-sexagenarian mug projected onto the body of a puppet looking at the stark images of Berlin that flash by.
"The moment you know, you know, you know," he croons.
The somber, poignant ditty reflecting back on another time in his life is an interesting pick on Bowie's part as he re-enters the music scene. That's because after his last album, 2003's Reality, he abruptly stopped touring and making music in 2004 after suffering a heart attack while performing at a festival in Germany.
The rocker retreated from the pop world, spending most of his time being a dad to his young daughter Alexandria, whom he had with his model wife, Iman, as well as painting and collecting art while living in New York. His last musical performance was in November 2006 at New York's Keep a Child Alive benefit.
But as any Bowiehead will tell you, the "Space Oddity"'s Houdini-like reemergence from radio silence and semi-retirement is welcome news.
"A new record...who would have ever thought it, who'd have ever dreamed it!" reads a statement on his website. "After all David is the kind of artist who writes and performs what he wants when he wants...when he has something to say as opposed to something to sell. Today he definitely has something to say."
The song is now available for download from iTunes, while the new album, The Next Day, hits stores first in Australia on March 8, the rest of the world save for the U.S. on March 11, and then stateside on March 12.
What a great present to himself and fans. Happy birthday, David!