Heroes are always remembered, but legends never die. Right up until his end, David Bowie worked on his art and love. After decades of setting standards and defying boundaries, the world lost a true legend just days ago. His final legacy is written from his soul onto his twenty-sixth and final album, Blackstar. From beginning to end, Bowie punches out one massive tune after another, each of these final pieces making a memorable last impression.
The album begins with the 10-minute art rock, avant-garde title track, “Blackstar”, which sounds like Björk took a trip to the Eighties. The song begins the album with a haunting atmosphere, ominous harmonies building into a pop banger before returning to its haunting core. The beginning half of the song features saxophone dissonance and Björk-esque synths and strings, modulating into a more upbeat, funky track with syncopated guitar chords with brass and woodwinds brooding in the background. The song evolves back into its creepy krautrock rooting, ending with a harmonious conjoining of a scattering flute and synthesizer. Bowie doesn’t hold back on being subtle with this album - he chants, “I’m not a gangstar... I’m not a pornstar” in “Blackstar” and “Black struck the kiss, she kept my cock / Smote the mistress, drifting on / 'Tis a pity she was a whore” in the following track, “’Tis A Pity She Was A Whore”. “Lazarus” is a more Bowie-typical song, the big ballad of the album, featuring a soaring saxophone solo and arena-filling synthesizers, with some doodly guitars in the background doing their own thing, as well. “Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)” begins to border a progressive rock sound, the krautrock influences heard prominently in “Blackstar” returning to the foreground. The song has the dark atmosphere of “Blackstar”, but with a more apparent urgency to it. “Girl Loves Me” is a throwback to earlier Bowie works, while incorporating the Björk influence once again. The song continues the darker components of the album, revolving around the idea of how one can get lost in their own emotions (”Where the fuck did Monday gooOO!?”). “Dollar Days” is another throwback to classic Bowie, and the closure track “I Can’t Give Everything Away” was fished straight out of Eighties synthpop.
After decades of work, inspiring countless artists to follow their musical dreams and breaking down countless walls, the great David Bowie has finally been laid to rest. He has left one final legacy with his last album, Blackstar, that has not fallen short of any expectations. We may have lost his future, but we will always have his influence with us. Thank you for the years of unfathomable inspiration and creation, David Bowie. Rest in peace.
Favorite Tracks: Blackstar, Lazarus, Girl Loves Me
Least Favorite Track: Dollar Days