Producer Tony Visconti has said that the new David Bowie album is “a rock album”, saying he was surprised to hear the reflective and melancholic track “Where Are We Now?” released first.
Visconti spoke to BBC News following Bowie’s surprise return yesterday with the new single and a new album, The Next Day, announced for March.
Speaking about “Where Are We Now?“, Visconti said: “I think it’s a very reflective track for David. He certainly is looking back on his Berlin period and it evokes this feeling… it’s very melancholy, I think. It’s the only track on the album that goes this much inward for him. It’s quite a rock album, the rest of the songs, so I thought to myself why is David coming out with this very slow, albeit beautiful, ballad why is he doing this? He should come out with a bang. But he is a master of his own life. I think this was a very smart move, linking the past with the future, and I think the next thing you hear from him is going to be quite different.”
Adding: “I’ve been listening to this on headphones walking through the streets of New York for the past two years, and I have not tired of a single song. I think the material on this album is extremely strong and beautiful, and if people are looking for classic Bowie they’ll find it on this album, if they’re looking for innovative Bowie, new directions, they’re going to find that on this album too.”
Speaking to BBC via Skype in New York, Visconti also spoke about the rumours surrounding Bowie’s health, assuring fans that he is fit and healthty. “David is extremely healthy, he’s rosy-cheeked, he smiles a lot,” Visconti said. “During the recording he was smiling, he was so happy to be back in the studio. From the old days I recall that he was the loudest singer I’ve ever worked with. When he starts singing I’d have to back off, and go into another room and just leave him in front of a microphone, he still has that power in that chest and in his voice. We all know he had a health scare in 2003, 2004, but he’s a very healthy man I can assure you, I’ve been saying this for the past few years. I couldn’t explain why I know that, but I worked with a very healthy and happy David Bowie in the studio.”
The Next Day will be released in the UK and most countries worldwide on March 11. Australia will get the albums three days earlier on March 8, while American fans will have to wait until March 12.
The album’s standard edition contains 14 tracks with the Deluxe edition adding three more. Both are available to pre-order on iTunes now.
You can read Part 1 of our 1999 interview with Bowie here.