Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 01:01
After a decade away from music, David Bowie left little hope for his release of another album. However, this March he plans to do just that with The Next Day, his 28th studio album, announcing his return early this week. The lead single off the album, “Where Are We Now,” is a look back on his career, a funk-driven ballad much in the spirit of his 1977 single “Heroes.” Longtime producer and friend Tony Visconti promised the 17-track album to have a good number of “rockers” on it, mixed with “funky, mid-tempo songs” in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine. David Bowie has a history as a musical chameleon, changing his sound to match the decade, and although the extent of its divergence is unclear, The Next Day is slated to again refine Bowie’s sound. The once androgynous, sexual revolutionary has since married Somalian model Iman, and with a 13-year-old daughter, now invests most his time in family life, with occasional stints in acting. Bowie is 66 years old. - J.W.
The Rolling Stones
2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the Stones’ formation, and they celebrated the occasion in all sorts of ways. The new compilation album GRRR! was only the beginning, with the band making an energetic appearance at the 12/12/12 Sandy benefit concert and performing several reunion shows in London and New York. They also debuted two new singles, “Doom and Gloom” and “One More Shot.” The former was especially powerful, with ferocious guitar riffs and dizzying lyrics that make room for topical political commentary and surreal visions of a zombie apocalypse. The accompanying video, featuring actress Noomi Rapace playing dress-up and dancing to the band’s signature sounds, only helps to show what the Stones have proved once again this year: they can still make killer rock and roll. - S.K.
Though the success of the trio’s individual members overshadows the impact of their mutual efforts, it’s important to remember that Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams were first Destiny’s Child. Despite the fact that a series of name changes preceded their self-titled debut in 1998, and a succession of member transitions influenced their next release in 1999, the popularity of Writing on the Wall enabled the R&B girl group to leave an indelible mark on the music culture of the past decade. Survivor and Destiny Fulfilled—which included a number of chart-topping singles—were released before their disbandment in 2006, and now, seven years later, they are reuniting to promote Love Songs, a compilation of their greatest hits. Though it’s true that the record includes “Nuclear,” a new song, and that Rowland and Williams are set to sing alongside Beyonce for her Super Bowl performance, it is, indeed, still questionable whether an actual reunion really does lie in their future. -A.I.
This week, Justin Timberlake officially ended his six-year hiatus from music with the release of “Suit & Tie,” a single produced by longtime musical partner Timbaland and featuring a verse from Jay-Z. The single proves the 31-year-old pop star has not lost his falsetto, but more importantly, it preludes the release of The 20/20 Experience, a musical project Timberlake describes as “the best time I’ve had in my career” in an open letter to fans. The former member of ’N Sync released two celebrated solo records before refocusing his career on acting, starring in films such as The Social Network, Friends with Benefits and Bad Teacher, and making several iconic appearances on Saturday Night Live. In describing his unexpected return to music, Timberlake explained, “I don’t want to put anything out that I feel like is anything I don’t love. You just don’t get that every day. You have to wait for it—I’m ready.” - J.W.
Characterized by their unique blend of ska, pop, reggae, punk, and rock, No Doubt was formed in 1986. Their first album, No Doubt, was received with little enthusiasm because its upbeat sound contrasted sharply with the grunge movement that was so prevalent throughout the ’90s. However, the group garnered a much more significant following with the release of The Beacon Street Collection and Tragic Kingdom. After achieving mainstream success with songs such as “Just a Girl,” “Don’t Speak,” and “Spiderwebs,” No Doubt recorded their last two records before a decade long hiatus, during which lead singer, Gwen Stefani, focused on her solo work. They joined together to tour in 2009, but it wasn’t until this past September that No Doubt finally released their sixth album, Push and Shove. Clearly, their status was uncertain for a time, but with a new album in their recent past, there’s no doubt that the group is back, at least for now. -A.I.