David Bowie | Blackstar | The Swansong

David Bowie | Blackstar | The Swansong 

In Memory Of David Robert Jones / David Bowie { January. 8th, 1947 – January, 10th, 2016}

Label: Sony/RCA
Release Date: 2016
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Classic Rock, Glam Rock, Pop Rock, Jazz

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I come to you with the heaviest of hearts. At the time I was in process of reviewing this album, I never realised it would be part album review , part eulogy. Unlike people such as Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead or a Warren Zevon where they made their illness and potential passing public, David Bowie decided to make it a more covert private affair. It was due to the desire for privacy that would make his final album Blackstar so potent in both its melodic and lyrical foundations.

Blackstar is considered by many as a ‘Parting Gift’ to the fans. That can be justified easily. One can question whether or not Blackstar was a self fulfilling prophetic and creative statement. If it was and I stress ‘IF’ it was , David Bowie made one of the most profound of last statements on a musical and creative level I ever heard in my life. One can only imagine how his health effected his songwriting during the creation of Blackstar as well.

Throughout the span of a 51 year career David Bowie was one of those artists who never ever did the same thing over and over again yet was still able to not only make something relevant but to create something genre bending at the same time. Musical genres included in the 51 year career run the spectrum from Art Rock, Progressive Rock, Glam Rock, Jazz, Blues, Pop Rock, etcBowie always managed to change his sound totally with every new release without abandoning his fan base. Blackstar is the complete package of all those genres mentioned above with serious introspection and self reflection. 

In his 51 year career David Bowie had a uncanny ability reading the tea leaves and sensing the sea changes of the music industry. I believe this contributed to his uncanny ability to make a different style and genre of record he had released to the global fan base. I also see this ability as reason why his fan base never dwindled and progressively grew from generation to generation. Whether you are a Baby Boomer, Generation X or even a  Millennial, David Bowie managed to make a quality and unique project that spoke to any generation.  While some of his peers and contemporaries in the music industry experienced lulls or even periods of inactivity, David Bowie seemed to roll with the changes and adapt to the culture at any time.  I will not do a typical breakdown of each track of the album like I normally would. With that said here is a summary of Blackstar as I observe it.

Blackstar has many dark ambient elements. There is some great jazz undertones that run side by side with the rhythm section with lush ambient vocal atmospheres. Blackstar also presents elements of eclectic progressive rock in a minimalist setting and groove. There are some blues portions as well. Blackstar was written as if Bowie was reflecting of his 69 years here on Earth. I also see Bowie going out on his own terms musically the way he always operated when he was with us in the flesh. 

He wrote, recorded, performed, toured all on his own terms. It is perfectly fitting that the ‘Parting Gift’ of Blackstar was his own Eulogy. Many will write commentary on this Genius’ life however the best commentary is from himself on Blackstar. Although David Bowie did not go out on his own terms he certainly left us one last recording on his own terms.  With the passing of David Bowie, I believe we are now truly in a time where An Era Is Ending.  Ziggy I will look for your star shining down upon us from the heavens tonight. Thank you for the music and film you left for us and for many generations to come.  

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