Thursday, January 17th, 2019

David Bowie, Blackstar

Krysteana Scribner | The Free Press

Posted on January 25, 2016 in Album Reviews, Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press


By Bradford Spurr

David Bowie has now been gone for two weeks. Indifferent societal norms, Bowie has left a void in his wake. Thousands of people ranging from millennials suffering a collective existential crisis to the Baby Boomers doning their lightning strike face paint and sequins to honor the legacy of a man more essential to music than the guitar.

He left us a final gift, however, a goodbye present to the world that he never quite fit into. Blackstar comes three years after the release of his last studio album which put a capstone on a legacy that he began back in 1977 in a tiny apartment in Berlin. David Bowie, a.k.a Ziggy Stardust, a.k.a the Thin White Duke released what would be his final album on his 69th birthday and just two days later he would succumb to his 18 month battle with cancer.

However in traditional Bowie fashion he did not disappoint with the dense seven- track record that embodies nearly every aspect of his career that spanned five decades. Featured heavily across the whole album is the saxophone, which was the first instrument the Bowie learned how to play. The opening title track stretches to almost ten minutes and features two major instrumentation shifts that Bowie has employed on past albums.

Four and a half minutes in Bowie sings, “Something happened on the day he died. Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside,Somebody else took his place and bravely cried (I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar).” The theme of loss and the struggle to acknowledge the end echoes throughout the album much like the hooks on each track.

Track Four, “Girl Loves Me,” is notable not only because of its artistic merit but because in it Bowie sings in the language created by Anthony Burgess who authored his favorite book A Clockwork Orange.

The final track, “I Can’t Give Everything Away,” begins with Bowie saying, “I know something’s very wrong,” but that was something he kept to himself. David Bowie might no longer be with us but he built a towering legacy that has taught generations of misfits that being different is hardly a bad thing. Sometimes it is exactly what makes us great.

David Bowie will be sorely missed and the bedrock of ‘70s glam rock marks the end of an era.  Hopefully, he is somewhere out there floating in a most peculiar way amongst the stars that yes, look very different today.


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