Singer David Bowie’s The Next Day and Blackstar
On 8 January 2013 (his 66th birthday), his website announced a new album, to be titled The Next Day and scheduled for release 8 March for Australia, 12 March for the United States and 11 March for the rest of the world. Bowie’s first studio album in a decade, The Next Day contains 14 songs plus 3 bonus tracks. His website acknowledged the length of his hiatus. Record producer Tony Visconti said 29 tracks were recorded for the album, some of which could appear on Bowie’s next record, which he might start work on later in 2013. The announcement was accompanied by the immediate release of a single, “Where Are We Now?”, written and recorded by Bowie in New York and produced by longtime collaborator Tony Visconti. A music video for the single was released onto Vimeo the same day, directed by New York artist Tony Oursler. The single topped the UK iTunes Chart within hours of its release,and debuted in the UK Singles Chart at No. 6, his first single to enter the top 10 for two decades, (since “Jump They Say” in 1993). A second video, “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”, was released 25 February. Directed by Floria Sigismondi, it stars Bowie and Tilda Swinton as a married couple. On 1 March, the album was made available to stream for free through iTunes. The Next Day debuted at No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart, his first since Black Tie White Noise (1993), and was the fastest-selling album of 2013 at the time.
According to The Times, Bowie ruled out ever giving an interview again. An exhibition of Bowie artefacts, called “David Bowie Is”, was shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2013. Later that year the exhibition began a world tour, starting in Toronto and including stops in Chicago, Paris, Melbourne, and Groningen (The Netherlands).
Bowie was featured in a cameo vocal in the Arcade Fire song “Reflektor”. A poll carried out by BBC History Magazine, in October 2013, named Bowie as the best-dressed Briton in history. At the 2014 Brit Awards on 19 February, Bowie became the oldest recipient of a Brit Award in the ceremony’s history when he won the award for Best British Male, which was collected on his behalf by Kate Moss. His speech read: “I’m completely delighted to have a Brit for being the best male – but I am, aren’t I Kate? Yes. I think it’s a great way to end the day. Thank you very, very much and Scotland stay with us.” Bowie’s reference to the forthcoming Scottish independence referendum garnered a significant reaction on social media. On 18 July, Bowie indicated that future music would be forthcoming, though he was vague about details.
New information was released in September 2014 regarding his next compilation album, Nothing Has Changed, which was released in November. The album featured rare tracks and old material from his catalogue in addition to a new song titled “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)”.
In May 2015 it was announced that “Let’s Dance” would be reissued as a yellow vinyl single on 16 July 2015 in conjunction with the David Bowie is’ exhibition at the Australian Centre For The Moving Image in Melbourne.
Bowie wrote and recorded the opening title song to the television series The Last Panthers, which aired in November 2015. The show’s director, Johan Renck, said of Bowie, “His first response was precise, engaged and curious. The piece of music he laid before us embodied every aspect of our characters and the series itself – dark, brooding, beautiful and sentimental (in the best possible incarnation of this word). All along, the man inspired and intrigued me and as the process passed, I was overwhelmed with his generosity. I still can’t fathom what actually happened.” The theme that will be used for The Last Pantherswill also be the title track for his January 2016 release Blackstar (★) which is said to take cues from his earlier krautrock influenced work. According to The Times: “Blackstar may be the oddest work yet from Bowie”.