After a decade away from the music scene in the wake of a heart attack, David Bowie is back with a new album, "The Next Day," released Monday.

The glam rock icon kept his plans under wraps over two years of recording in New York and announced the release of the new disc in January, on his 66th birthday.

Produced by long-time Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti, the effort is getting an enthusiastic welcome.

Critics and fans got the chance to sample "The Next Day" before the release, thanks to Bowie's decision to stream the entire disc for free on iTunes for a limited period.

Early reviewers have been generous, describing the new music as "provocative" and "bold." The album cover and first single, "Where are We Now?," evoke the work Bowie created in Berlin in the 1970s, such as the anthem-like "Heroes."

Another tune, "I'd Rather Be High," recalls '80s hit "Ashes To Ashes," while "Dancing Out in Space" rocks and "You Feel So Lonely You Could Die" joins the short list of Bowie ballads.

The album's release will be followed March 23 by the opening of an exhibit on Bowie's life and career at London's Victoria & Albert Museum, which has already sold more than 25,000 tickets for the event. EFE