Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Old kids on the block

When the new David Bowie single exploded onto the world wide web this morning, one of my colleagues harrumphed "Bowie should have stopped after two albums".

Despite general murmurs of discontent he persisted with the argument. In fact, it didn't just apply to the Thin White Streaky Bacon from Mars but to every artist ever in the history of music. If he had his way, there’d be no Heroes, no Kid A, no Sgt Pepper and, most importantly of all, no Emancipation Of Mimi.

The conversation led to much shouting in the office (someone else suggested a cut-off point of six albums for "really, really good bands like Marillion"). But I think Bowie’s elegant, moving new song (link here - no embedding allowed) shows how artists can still produce something magical late into their career, especially when they stop trying to keep up with the kids, and acknowledge their age and mortality.

And Bowie’s not the only one at it.

Last time we heard from Prince, it was with a terrible, lacklustre dirge called Rock and Roll Love Affair (trust me, it’s even more clunky than the title). But a new track, “leaked” onto YouTube, reminds me of why I loved him so much in the first place.

Called Same Page, Different Book, it’s a plea for understanding between the world’s major religions. “There’s only one God, whatever name he took,” sermonises the Purple maestro.

It’s a return to the stripped back retro-funk of his albums at the turn of the millennium - Musicology and Rainbow Children. More importantly, it’s one of the rare occasions where Prince wears his musical genius lightly. Relaxed and groovesome, enjoy it before his lawyers whip it off YouTube.

Prince - Same Page, Different Boot

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