Few names draw as much of a reaction among music lovers as David Bowie. He is rightfully revered for an era-defining body of work and the massive contribution he made to music. The easy option would have been to sit back, rake in residuals from his back catalogue and sip a martini by the pool for the rest of his years - but that's never been Bowie's style, has it?
There's little denying that Bowie had taken his foot off the accelerator somewhat as he grew older. His last album, 2003's Reality, didn't particularly set the world on fire and the decade long hiatus he took after its release suggested that Bowie's days as a recording artist were all but over, particularly when you consider just how prolific he was throughout his earlier career.
But earlier this year, on the occasion of the great man's sixty-sixth birthday, it was announced the Bowie would once again emerge from the shadows with the twenty-fourth album of his career The Next Day. But would it be any good?
There's a trend when someone like Bowie releases an album at this stage of their careers, that being a vociferous reaction often split right down the middle. Some are delighted that Bowie is back, others are worried that it'll be awful and will somehow diminish what has come before it.
For those who fell in the latter camp, don't worry - the album is good. While it's not among his best work, that voice is still there and it's completely untouched by age. As well as that, Bowie has accurately retained that sense of mysticism and artistry which flowed through his best work.
Title track 'The Next Day', singles 'The Stars (Are Out Tonight)' and 'Where Are We Now?' as well as the upbeat 'How Does The Grass Grow' and languid crooner 'Heat' find Bowie more wistful and contemplative than he's often been over the course of his previous twenty-three albums.
There's not 'Space Oddity' or 'Ziggy Stardust' on here but I don't think anyone was truly expecting that. Instead, what we got was a fitting cherry atop an outstanding career's worth of expression and innovation.