Editor’s note: We had this thing almost ready to go the week of release WAY back in January and then got blindsided, like most of the world, with the news of David Bowie’s death soon after Blackstar hit stores. In prepping our 2016 ‘best of’ list (Where Blackstar most certainly appears), we felt it was fitting to finish what we started so without further adieu/pardon the delay:
Releasing a new record in January is a dangerous thing. You’ll either get swallowed up with the rest of the year’s releases or blow the new year’s wad right off the bat. It seems that lots of bands and iconic rockers would rather be first as David Bowie’s 25th (!) studio album hurtles towards the masses barely a week into the new year. So which category does it fall into? Definitely the latter.
Blackstar is simply amazing. Seven tracks of pure Bowie weirdness in which he harnesses all of his musical talent and everything he’s picked up over the years into a concise bunch of exquisite sonic voyages.
“Blackstar” itself is a beast. It has that experimental Earthling sound all over with touches of Outside and all that weird, quirky eccentric Bowie stuff seeping throughout. Want some flute? “Blackstar” has that! Saxomophone embellishments? Yep, got those too. Crazy time changes that weaves in an out of a Bowie narrative? Yeah, that too. I mean, only Bowie could release a ten minute jam as the lead off single for a new album, right?
And that’s just the tip of the Blackstar.
Going deeper into his latest opus and it’s almost like being in a Bowie time capsule: “‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore” could’ve been plucked out of the “Golden Years” era while “Lazarus” sits comfortably in the early aughts until “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)” and “Girl Loves Me” dance into the world of Bowie’s marriage to electronica in the ’90’s. “Dollar Days” even hearkens back to “Space Oddity” if you listen close enough. But this is by no means a retread of past Bowie glories. If anything, it’s a celebration of all that has led to this, and as “Blackstar” most certainly proves, a bold look into what’s to come.
Blackstar is out now through Columbia. Buy yours here.