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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 238 - 01/24/16

David Bowie
Blackstar
ISO Records/Columbia Records

David Robert Jones aka. Bowie
8 January 1947 - 10 January 2016

I listened to Blackstar the day it was released, on David's 69th birthday on 8 January, nodded approvingly, but still found it a bit tedious with too much of Donny McCaslin's jazzy sax here & there, as with its track "Lazarus" when it was launched a week before Christmas. Still, here were some familiar elements from the late 1970s, naughties, 00s and 10s blended with exciting new jazzy ones. Not many can match an album that far from previously trodden terrain at the age of 69. Probably no-one. Saw the two videos later in the week-end and noticed that the skin of David's face seemed like a death mask, like seen on patients ridden with cancer. Was it heavy make-up or for real?

Since the news broke the following Monday morning (local time) I've found it impossible to judge Blackstar in an ordinary way. I hadn't started to go into in the lyrics before then. By now they can only be seen as parts of Bowie's last master plan. And what a master plan! John Lennon was shot dead three weeks after the release of his last album. But it wasn't part of his plan, far from it. I cannot imagine any other artist than David who could manage to finish the career and life in such a way, with splendour, spectacle and flying colours. A true artiste till the very end!

Well, then... A lot have been written about the new album and life and careers of David Bowie lately. Go to Tom's chronological marathon run through his entire album catalogue before you do so yourself. And there's not only the music; watch Nagisa Oshima's great film Merry Christmas Mr. Laurence from 1983 to confirm that he was a great actor, too! And of course there's the fashion thing, image, use of new technology and the urge to try out new trends or create them himself.

Let's just add: Thank you for the music during the last 50 plus years! So many highlights, and a few downlights, the latter probably due to the willingness to change and be innovative throughout those years.

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre then stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I'm a blackstar, I'm a star's star, I'm a blackstar)

I can't answer why (I'm not a gangstar)
But I can tell you how (I'm not a film star)
We were born upside-down (I'm a star's star)
Born the wrong way 'round (I'm not a white star)
(I'm a blackstar, I'm not a gangstar
I'm a blackstar, I'm a blackstar
I'm not a pornstar, I'm not a wandering star
I'm a blackstar, I'm a blackstar)

In the villa of Ormen stands a solitary candle
Ah-ah, ah-ah
At the centre of it all, your eyes
On the day of execution, only women kneel and smile
Ah-ah, ah-ah
At the centre of it all, your eyes, your eyes
Ah-ah-ah

Off the song "Blackstar" from the album of the same name.

A man with so many tricks up his sleeve throughout his career that release a song called "Lazarus" a few days before he dies... Does it mean we're in for a resurrection...?

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You may also want to check out our David Bowie articles/reviews: Hunky Dory, Lazarus, Quart Festival, Norway 03.07.2002, Studio albums, 1967-2016.

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