Where Are We Now?

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“Where Are We Now?” is the first single from Bowie’s 24th album entitled ‘The Next Day.

Where Are We Now? is the first single from the forthcoming David Bowie (or Bowie) album The Next Day.

The song seems to be from the perspective of an insecure Bowie speaking to a youngster today. The purposeful omission of his face from the artwork is a  direct challenge to those below a certain age. Do they remember him? Would they know that the image on the album cover is him?

 “Had to get the train / from Potsdamer Platz / you never knew that / that I could do that / just walking the dead,”

The original image is from Bowie’s (in)famous Berlin era, namely 1977’s Heroes – the second installment of the Trilogy.

This was a period in Bowie’s life when he was reportedly running around Berlin with Iggy Pop consuming drugs, drink and people of either gender. But it was also a time of unmatched musical creativity.

Thankfully ‘Where Are We Now?’ is a step away from ‘Eighties Bowie’ and much more stripped down. On first listen I was unmoved but the song has a mark of genius about it, it’s subtle and poignant but most importantly catchy. The simple bridge is unbelievably basic but is arguably one of Bowie’s best of recent times.

The lyrics and video are unabashedly centered around late 70’s Berlin, featuring Brandenburg Gate; the Dschungel nightclub,  Potsdamer Platz railway station; the Reichstag among others.

The video conjures up the image of Bowie’s fragmented, mind during the 70’s – the disembodied heads/Puppets sitting in a cluttered studio apartment surrounded by half completed items representing manic creativity. While a video image of Berlin passes by. The opening shot of a discarded diamond is perhaps a reference to Diamond Dogs.

However Berlin has grown older and become a lot more stable, much like Bowie himself, it has changed. Gone is the Wall, in have come Europe’s hipsters.

Perhaps David Bowie is hoping to tap in to the wave of popular culture like he has done successfully so many other times. Or is Bowie the original Berlin Hipster?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWtsV50_-p4

“Sitting in the Dschungel/ On Nürnberger Straße,”

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One Response to “Where Are We Now?”

  1. Arbitrary list of music albums ordered by preference during the Roman calendar year | la Résistance Says:

    […] Bowie’s is acutely aware of his own importance to British culture. Like many great artists he draws heavily on his earlier works in ’The Next Day‘. […]

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