‘Blackstar’ By David Bowie Review: An Excellent and Uneasy Image of Death
David Bowie’s musical legacy is one with immense importance to the development of music in the latter half of the 20th century and well into the 21st as his 27th and final studio album Blackstar, actually titled with the reticent symbol ★, demonstrates.
‘Blackstar’ by David Bowie Review
Blackstar, released on January 8 just two days before Bowie’s passing, is hauntingly preoccupied with imagery of death. From the opening lines of the title track, proclaiming “On the day of execution/Only women kneel and smile” to the reference recalling Lazarus in the eponymous song Bowie’s final album delves into the pessimistic subject-matter with musical ingenuity and outstanding artistry.
Bowie’s choice of jazz collaborators on the 10-minute long “Blackstar” contribute to the impressive musical rumble that dominates most of the tracks. The title track has both jazzy points and deeply electronic moment suggestive at times of the ambient sound of Radiohead. But to call Blackstar a jazz album or rock or electronic for that matter would fall short of what Bowie’s final musical endeavor represents.
The album also features a new rendition of Bowie’s 2014 single “Sue (Or In A Season of Crime) charged with spectral harmonies that bring a more dynamic texture to the track. This is one of the reasons why Blackstar is an outstanding musical legacy.
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After the music icon’s death on January 10, his most recent video for the song “Lazarus” — the second single from the album – broke the record for most views in 24 hours of video-hosting platform VEVO with 11.1 million views in the span of a single day.
What Bowie sings about on Blackstar can quite simply be understood as the alienation of an artist whose achievements and artistic contributions further separate him from the rest of the world – a condition that is regarded as both difficult and desired. Blackstar attests to the fact that a star of Bowie’s caliber can afford to create a work of art that is an amalgamation of styles infused with overbearing nihilism and to do so with unrivaled excellence and grace. It is odd, daring, rattling and exceptional.
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