Music round-up today: David Bowie, Maxwell, Bilal and a hint of D’angelo

This morning, David Bowie celebrated his 66th birthday with a surprise gift for his fans.

David Bowie announces single and album. Photo: David Bowie website
David Bowie announces single and album. Photo: David Bowie website

He released a video clip for a gorgeous song, called “Where Are You Now”, and announced an album which is already a top-seller based on iTunes pre-orders. What’s astounding is that this album – a return from a decade-long hiatus and a process of two-years in the making – was kept a secret.

The media had no inking, there had not even been a tweet until Bowie’s own announcement on Twitter. An amazing feat in this day and age, when music leaks happen all the time and recording artists answer their fans via social media.

Bowie has kept an extremely low profile since touring for his 2003 album Reality – even refusing a personal request from Danny Boyle to perform at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics 2012 – where his presence was missed despite it being a great opener.

He obviously still has his magic. His 24th album, The Next Day is now expected to be one of the biggest of the year.

“Where Are You Now” was produced with one of Bowie’s long-time collaborators, Tony Visconti and the video sees Bowie looking over the changes in Berlin since he used to live there.

Also working with his longtime producer; Maxwell, posted a 1:13 long snippet demo of a track called “Gods” today, from the upcoming sequel to BlackSummers’Night: SUMMERS’

Written and produced by by Musze and Hod David; Maxwell posted the artwork on his instagram with the label: “Official teaser for Gods. Cover Art by Julian Peploe”.

GODS Lyrics
the unsaid is told / in spite i can’t let it go /the answers don’t ever make no sense baby /when the questions are up to you/if you want you can fly you can float /you can walk, you can do what you want /but if the smallest seed of feeling is left in you /you and me soon will grow lyrics needed for 2nd half/ with your crimes you made me guilty girl/you swore so convincingly/ as you played the game of gods/you played the game of gods/oh in this game you played/you lost.

Although Maxwell has not been on the longest of breaks in-between the albums Black and Summers’ (three years is a long time in the industry now); he’s been missed. It’s a rough cut, but It’s hard not to relish every chiming chord with utter enjoyment. And at 15 seconds in, Maxwell’s dreamy voice, shimmers in the groove to the fade; leaving you yearning to hear more, but happy.

Bilal, in the Back To Love Video. Photo: Okayplayer website
Bilal, in the Back To Love Video. Photo: Okayplayer website

Another announcement today came from Okayplayer: Bilal’s new song and video. “Back To Love” charts the highs and lows of a relationship. Bilal’s voice seals the mid-tempo funk song in a layer of harmonies as he questions over and over, “How do we get back to love?” It’s the first single from the album, A Love Surreal, which is released in time for Valentines Day.

It’s hard to write up the following news – that D’Angelo could release his album soon. Hopefully his recent tour inspired him to release something he is happy with.

I am getting my hopes up because Questlove tweeted but – there were no confirmations.

See the screen capture for the tweets where he mentions working with people who are known to be D’Angelo’s associates. Questlove’s most obvious tweet accompanied an instagram photo, it said: “Tracking Room for the album we been waiting 13 Cotdamn Years on!!!!! #soon”.

Finally, Twitter was flooded with birthday tweets for Shirley Bassey, Elvis Presley, R.Kelly and David Bowie today. It’s also Stephen Hawking’s birthday.

Happy birthday to anyone celebrating on January 8 – a lot of great music artists announced music today!

David Bowie Twitter: @davidbowiereal

Maxwell Twitter: @_Maxwell_

Bilal Twitter: @bilal

Okayplayer Twitter: @okayplayer

David Bowie: The Next Day; sleeve - BARNBROOK BLOGS
David Bowie: The Next Day; sleeve – BARNBROOK BLOGS

Check out David Bowie’s website here. The new album cover sleeve for The Next Day was designed by another of Bowie’s trusted collaborators, Jonathan Barnbrook, and he is producing the publicity material and book to accompany the David Bowie exhibition at the V&A in March.

Buy tickets for the exhibition here.

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