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Two words I was fairly certain I would never see again: “New Bowie.”

He hasn’t released any new music since 2003’s Reality. And aside from a very few one-off appearances, he’s pretty much evaded media attention since the closing of the Reality tour in 2004 (which incidentally, was the highest grossing tour that year). In fact, the last leg of the tour had to be canceled due to the discovery of a clogged artery that required an emergency angioplasty.

That was it. Sure, there have been reissues and archival materials released in the interim, but it seemed that Reality was to be Bowie’s final recorded document of new material.

And yet, just as the Thin White Duke turns 66, we get the first new Bowie material in a decade.

Through his own website, Bowie released a video for the new track “Where Are We Now” promptly at midnight on January 8th, his birthday. If that weren’t enough, the song comes in advance of a new album, The Next Day. The fourteen song album will be released on March 12 in the US, and is available for pre-order now. The deluxe edition comes with three bonus tracks (going off of titles only, one may be a cover of the Staples Singers’ classic “I’ll Take You There“).

Admittedly, “Where Are We Now” is more exciting for the fact that it’s new Bowie than anything else. The smooth ballad brings to mind 1999’s …Hours album, one of the weakest offerings in his catalog. The song isn’t unpleasant, it just isn’t terribly interesting. Directed by Tony Oursler, the video is slightly more interesting, being a somewhat abstract representation of the song that takes place in an art studio. That said, the fact that there’s a new Bowie album on the horizon is exciting news, and is the biggest musical surprise of 2013 so far.

And a happy 66th to Mr. Bowie!

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