“Where are we now?” croons David Bowie in the single he released to the music world’s surprise this Tuesday, on the occasion of his sixty-sixth birthday, and the unspoken answer is “Back together.” The theme of the song is reunification, in all its meanings. The first new music from Bowie in ten years, “Where Are We Now” reunites one of the most revered elders of art pop with fans who had been filling the long silence with whispers about his health.
I have an odd affinity for pop music that came out from 1982 through 1984. I'm not completely sure why that is. Those were the only years I listened to a lot of top 40 radio. I'm not sure if I like the music from that period better because I was an impressionable kid with immature tastes, or if I'd still like that music if I heard it for the first time today. Moreover, do I like the music from those years because I just happened to be listening to pop music on the radio then, or did I stop listening starting around 1985 because the music got worse?
Early in Bottle Rocket, writer-director Wes Anderson's 1996 debut film, a little girl asks her recently de-institutionalized 26-year-old brother when he will be coming home. "I can't come home," he explains. "I'm an adult." With that scene Anderson, himself 26 at the time, announced the theme that would dominate all his movies to date: the plight of the man-child, too old to live life like a kid but not mature enough to stop trying. In Bottle Rocket, it was half-hearted thieves Anthony and Dignan straddling the gap between boyhood and manhood.