David Bowie – Blackstar (2016)
ISO / Columbia
News that David Bowie had died of cancer hit me harder than Monday morning. It was such a shock. What the fuck? I had no idea. I spent the day listening to his final album Blackstar, released two days before his sudden departure from this planet. And I couldn’t believe what I heard.
Everyone from Brian May to Kanye West sang Bowie’s praises on Twitter. He was described as the greatest, a genius who changed the face of pop music forever, and on Blackstar – his 25th album – you can hear it like a freight train. It’s phenomenal; a timeless, textured adventure lightyears ahead of, and simultaneously behind, its time.
Listening to Bowie’s carefully planned goodbye in context is truly heartbreaking, yet there’s a peaceful sense of acceptance and resoluteness to his now not-so-subtle clues that the mothership was coming back to get him. And amazingly, the videos for singles “Blackstar” and “Lazarus” are filled with defiant, captivating and very physical assertions that the show must go on until the final curtain. Even on his deathbed, Bowie’s performances are mesmerising.
Musically, punctuated with such mind-blowing consideration and driven dedication, every pulsing note, layer and breath sends shivers down your spine and arms your skin with goosebumps. Bowie’s band is incredible, rallying around and supporting their ailing Thin White Duke with such palpable emotion and respect. It’s an immense parting gift; bitter-sweet and haunting.
“Just like that blue bird, oh I’ll be free…”