Taking a headlong plunge into electro-acoustic jazz Bowie’s spellbinding 25th album is lyrically inscrutable and thrillingly strange.
As he reaches his 69th birthday David Bowie finds himself in a rarefied position even by the standards of the rock aristocracy.
He does not give interviews – make himself available to promote new releases or explain himself in any way.
He does not tour the world playing his hits.
In fact he doesn’t do anything that rock stars are supposed to do.
It’s behaviour that theoretically means a one-way ticket to oblivion with no one but diehard fans for company.
But since his re-emergence from a decade-long sabbatical with 2013’s The Next Day, it’s proved a quite astonishing recipe for success.
Bowie’s scant public pronouncements are treated as hugely significant.
His releases are pored over in a way they haven’t been since the days when his army of devotees would turn up at Victoria station to greet him off the boat train – a state of affairs abetted by the fact that since his return Bowie has reverted to writing the kind of elusive elliptical lyrics that were once his stock in trade.
Dense with mysterious references – the words on The Next Day and its follow-up alike have far more in common with the impenetrable mass of signifiers that made up Station to Station’s title track than say the Dad-misses-you-write-soon message to his adult son of 2002’s Everyone Says Hi.