David Bowie is acting his age. He’s no longer an androgynous glam rock star or a space man. Those days are long gone. He’s not even attempting to reprise his role from the late ’90s as elder statesman of electronic rock. Instead, on this, his 66th birthday, Bowie presents himself as an older and wiser man, looking back on time spent in Germany in the ’70s with this, his new video for “Where Are We Now?”
Listen, and one can hear the years’ toll on Bowie’s voice. The arrangement, overseen by producer Tony Visconti, accentuates Bowie’s vulnerability, as its reserved mix of piano, guitar and strings moves at a slow, respectful pace, even showing restraint at those points where one might expect a grander, more robust movements.
Yet, “Where Are We Now?” has power. It’s not often one gets to see and hear an aging rock star admit his limitations. Rarer still, is to witness someone with a name as grand as Bowie, do such a thing.
Not everyone can be Keith Richards. Nor, do we need anyone not named Keith Richards to live like Keith Richards into their sixties. There’s another, more elegant, more realistic way to create into your twilight, and it begins by stripping away any pretense you are still who you were in your thirties. For Bowie, one of rock’s original chameleons, this means no costumes and no acts, no reinventions and no splash, but just his simple self.
The Next Day, Bowie’s 30th album, will be released March 12th. More details can be had at DavidBowie.com.