Though he returned last year from a decade-long hiatus, David Bowie tends to keep a low profile. He’s supposedly sworn off interviews, makes few tour appearances, and his public persona—once a primary part of his international celebrity—is barely maintained. That being said, Bowie’s remarkable new song, “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime),” is an epic and avant-garde tune that sounds like it was written in his heydey.
The song is a mournful opus, with Bowie doing a Scott Walker croon over some frenzied jazz drumming and the swells of a restless horn section. It’s the sound of a musician no longer fettered to expectation: one gets the sense that Bowie feels so free after decades of success that he now makes seven-minute experimental ballads because he feels like it. The track was written for the forthcoming compilation Nothing Has Changed, a three-disc collection comprised of Bowie’s best in reverse chronological order.