‘Blackstar’ is a masterpiece, I’m just going straight there. On this his 25thand final album there are seven songs of utter beauty. It’s nighttime listening, reflective in nature, powerful in delivery.
This reminds me of ‘Low’, an early Bowie album released in 1977 and part of his ‘Berlin Trilogy’ of albums, which featured experimentation, long landscapes of jagged sounds with minimal hints of pop leanings.
The German electronic band Kraftwerk and Producer Brian Eno influenced the ‘trilogy’, but here on ‘Blackstar’ those landscapes are seen through a dying man. Bowie was succumbing to liver cancer and wrote this after receiving the diagnosis, yet there is such vibrancy in this record.
The thin white duke gets straight into it with ‘Blackstar’ the first song, a ten minute odyssey you’d think was performed by two different artists, downbeat at first, weird drum rhythms with soft saxophones which then morphs into upbeat jazz.
Straight away you know any commercial shackles are broken. On all my favorite Bowie tracks the drums are high in the mix and this record is no different. ‘Tis a pity she was a whore’ is driving and powerful but then on the next track ‘Lazarus’, which drips of Joy Division, he sings “Look up here I’m in Heaven, I’ve got scars that can’t be seen”, it’s a beautiful slow burner.
The remaining four songs shimmy with the same freedom. Such is the greatness of this album it shows the utter peace of an artist who knows exactly what he is, one of the best chameleon’s the music world has ever seen who can go from Avant-garde niche to accessible pop.
David Bowie would die only days after the release of Blackstar, it’s a pity the great man has gone, but he’s left us with pure brilliance.
hallymustang rating 5/5