Monday, January 11, 2016

Goodbye Blackstar.

Somehow tweeting 'R.I.P David Bowie' and posting a link to Ziggy Stardust just does not do the great man justice. Obviously by now you will have heard the news from several respected news sources and the obituaries will cover his 'Golden Years'. What has made this especially difficult for me is that recently I have become more and more of a David Bowie fan. Scary Monsters is one of the first albums I have bought on vinyl and it sounds every bit as wonderfully strange today as it did then. What's really shocking is how he had seemed in such good health. Only now does the chorus of the Next Day's title track seem to ring with a sharp irony, 'Here I am, Not quite dying'. Since being diagnosed with cancer David managed to release two albums, star in several music videos, Launch a retrospective at the V&A in London and also help create a Broadway musical 'Lazarus' based on his own songs.
The Next Day was a great album. Packed full of great songs but very much another retrospective of his own career. Throughout it's track listing were songs that could fit onto any of his classic albums. Even though it never seemed possible that man of such stature of David Bowie could die. It is fitting that just like his old frenemy Lou Reed, he should leave us with one last album, and rather than going the easy route, making album 25 one of of the most adventurous of his career so far. Of course unlike 'Lulu', Blackstar is brilliant.
Kendrick Lamar has been credited with being a big influence on the album, you can spot where Bowie has nabbed a lyric or two. On 'Girl Loves Me' he used the phrase 'Po-Po' as well as making up a few phrases of his own. He sang in a similar style to rappers such as Drake or Travis $cott. Of course in typical Bowie style he had taken influence from younger stars. But he did it in such a way that his music sounded fresh and unique even with those reference points. It may seem odd that a white man at the age of 68 could sing a line like 'Where the fuck did Monday go?' and not sound ridiculous, but he must have been aware that he was the only rich, white 68 year old man who could. Blackstar is also Bowie's first venture into jazz. Much like Kendrick Lamar's masterpiece 'To Pimp a Butterfly' he found a way to tie the two genres together but he also threw a bit of drum and bass into the mix as well. Despite having never explored two of those genres of music before. Because David Bowie was not a Gangstar, not a filmstar, not a popstar, marvelstar, wandering star, or a pornstar, he was a BLACKSTAR. It was the ultimate boast, because David Bowie was the best. And he damn well knew it.

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