David Bowie and ‘Blackstar:’ A Final Farewell to His Fans

WRITTEN BY: REILLY MEIERS

It is hard to write a review about a piece of work from the recently deceased musical genius, but David Bowie’s “Blackstar” deserves all the attention it is getting.

David Bowie may have lost his battle to cancer, but he gained respect worldwide for leaving his fanbase with a proper goodbye. (Photo courtesy of Skiddle)
David Bowie may have lost his battle to cancer, but he gained tremendous respect worldwide for leaving his fans with a proper goodbye. (Photo courtesy of Skiddle)

On January 10, 2016, cancer took a beloved and extremely the talented Pop/Rock star, David Bowie. For 18 months before his death at the age of 69, the star kept his health issues private from his fans and admirers. It appears that Bowie’s diagnosis laid the groundwork for a thoughtful, deliberate “parting gift” to the world, his new album.

The 25th full-length studio release for the art-rock artist is a seven-track album, which was released on Bowie’s birthday – two days before his death (January 8th). “Blackstar” features contributions from Mark Guiliana, Jason Lindner, Donny McCaslin, Ben Monder, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, and Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Tim Lefebvre.

This album – backed by Columbia Records – deserves 40 minutes of a listener’s full attention with its blend of jazz, codes, brutality, drama, and alienation contains messages from a man with much to say and little time to say it.

The album’s producer explained the attention the icon gave to the final work:

As an artist, David Bowie helped his listeners to embrace their individuality. (Photo courtesy of Design Week)
As an artist, David Bowie helped his listeners to embrace their individuality. (Photo courtesy of Design Week)

He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of art. He made ‘Blackstar’ for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry.

In reading and hearing about Bowie from fans and the media, it is awesome to discover the unique ways he inspired so many to embrace being different. He did this by being unique and taking on different identities as time progressed (Ziggy Stardust, Halloween Jack, Thin White Duke, The Man Who Sold the World, Aladdin Sane, etc).

Part of the album’s 10-minute-long title track has been used as the theme song to the British TV heist drama for Sky Atlantic, The Last Panthers, and the opening credits can be viewed here: The Last Panthers | Opening Credits with new music from David Bowie

In listening to and following along with the album’s lyrics, one can conclude that the overall effect is ambiguous and spellbinding, adjectives that apply virtually throughout. “Blackstar” is a rich, deep and strange album that feels like Bowie moving restlessly forward, his eyes fixed ahead to his final days. David Bowie always held this restless position in which always made his greatest music.

 

Whaddya gotta say to that?