Gary Flockhart: Year Bowie fell back to Earth

David Bowie. Picture: PA

David Bowie. Picture: PA

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MY musical highlight of the year? Easy. Twenty-Thirteen belonged to one man (alien?)... David Bowie.

The shape-shifting, gender-bending rock chameleon caught us completely off guard in January with an unexpected new single, Where Are We Now? – his first new music in ten years, released to celebrate his 66th birthday – and from that point on, our interest in all things Bowie was piqued.

In March, the Starman had us spoiled with the release of new album The Next Day, and not long after came the ‘David Bowie Is...’ exhibition at London’s Victoria And Albert Museum.

Planned long before anyone had an inkling he was about to release his best new material in aeons, the museum was granted unprecedented access to the Bowie archive to curate the first international retrospective of the singer’s extraordinary career.

I took a trip to the Big Smoke to check it out in April, and was blown away by it.

Female artist of the year? Miley Cyrus fans look away now... that’ll be Lorde, the 16-year-old Kiwi pop sensation whose brilliant debut album, Pure Heroine, seemed to come out of nowhere, which is always the best way to hear new music (i.e. no hype).

As for the best band of 2013, that’s a tad trickier. Vampire Weekend and Daft Punk both released cracking albums, but I’m swaying towards Arctic Monkeys, having witnessed their blistering set at Spain’s Benicassim music festival in the summer, where they performed fifth album AM.

On second thoughts, scratch that. It just has to be Scotland’s band-of-the-moment, Chvrches – the Lauren Mayberry-fronted synth-pop trio whose hit-packed debut album, The Bones Of What You Believe, stormed the charts a few months back.

Chvrches, of course, are on the bill for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, where they’re sure to prove the perfect warm-up act for Pet Shop Boys.

Here’s hoping they do their fantastic cover of Prince’s I Would Die 4 U.