The announcement last month that David Bowie was releasing his first studio album in a decade took everyone by surprise. Now as we all wait for The Next Day to arrive and soak in the sonic qualities the Thin White Duke has to give us, we look back at one of his most tremendous and brilliant records, 1997's Earthling. The 20th Bowie album came at a time when industrial music from KMFDM, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Nine Inch Nails, Atari Teenage Riot, Prodigy were all making waves. Inspired by industrial music and drum and bass, Bowie rushed into the studio after nearly a two year tour supporting his 1995 release, Outside. Linking up with producers Brian Eno, Trent Reznor, Reeves Gabrels, Mark Plati, he took the sounds that computers and machines were making and crafted his own bland of brilliance in nine songs. Mixing humanity, counter cultures and ideas of the future together, the narrative of Earthling is a portrait of what the end of the millennium was expecting in the next millennium and 21st century, which was around the corner. Earthling was the first Bowie record to be entirely digitally recorded and with its lush layers and textures, it is one of the most chaotic sounding records of his long, colorful career.