David Bowie - Blackstar

David Bowie Blackstar cover
David Bowie
This feels rather awkward. To write a review for one of the artists you admire the most and his fingertips are all over your mind, for one of the best albums of his career and yet avoid the trap to be sentimental and get carried away by his recent passing away. As you might see, there is no rating in this review, and there is a reason for that. Bowie’s sudden death, his legacy and the ado related to the latest release have already transcended “Blackstar” to mythical dimensions. Rating it at this very moment is worthless, as only time can prove its artistic tare.
On my personal understanding: Having listened to the first two tracks (“Lazarus” & “Blackstar”) when they were uploaded by Bowie and the complete album the day of its release, I was sure that it would become a classic, a monumental intervention in modern music. And I still support this view, as the new album – setting aside the cultivated myth around it – is among the 5-6 best releases of the Thin White Duke. The 10 minute-long opening track, “Blackstar”, sets the tone right from the start. A dark, deep, weird and twisted song (with a masterpiece video-clip) self-transforming and travelling from deep helms to moonlighted mountain tops and back again.
The rest of the songs follow more straightforward approach, yet without carrying the flag of the “single”. The music in the whole album is difficult, deployed within a jazz broad scenery with infiltrating drum n’ bass sounds of the 90s, avant garde 70s prog rock, rich orchestrations fitted in plain forms and – of course – the dark electro sound of Heathen. I strongly believe that relatively few people will really enjoy this record (at least in comparison to those who will praise this, influenced by the ado around it after Bowie’s death).
I’ve really read a lot of reviews for this album, yet I find this paragraph from “All Music” as the best couple of sentences to describe the feeling of “Blackstar”: “For all its odd twists, the album proceeds logically, unfolding with stately purpose and sustaining a dark, glassy shimmer. It is music for the dead of night but not moments of desolation; it’s created for the moment when today is over but tomorrow has yet to begin”.
Here Bowie shows his most humane face… the lyrics, the battle with death the legacy. And so we end the chapter. With a massive blast, from a man who never conformed and his vision had always been the absolute artistic expression, unbound from any conventions. And this is “Blackstar”. A swan song with the subject not being afraid to show his inner self. Bowie is finally naked in front of the public. No personas, no tricks, only his deep thoughts, his talent and a long goodbye.