But damned if we know what that theme would be. It's typical Bowie sci-fi/alienation/masquerade fare. If anything, Heathen is about Bowie's return to being Bowie. And it's simultaneously a lazy and wise move. After 1999's Hours . . ., which was a labored attempt to revolutionize and contemporize the noise, Heathen plays like a comforting hug from his Thin White Duke days.
But except for a few Low-sounding space-age hums ("Sunday") and feedback-soaked guitar greetings ("Slow Burn"), Heathen's self-referential, self-contained ode to the name above the title is rather static. Ground control to David Bowie: It's time to leave the capsule, if you dare.