David Bowie is a chameleon. We’ve seen him as a bisexual, polyamorous alien rock star, a morphed approximation of a Disney favourite, a Reflektor, a husband, a father. On Blackstar, Bowie appears unknowably frightful, experimental and human.
I pressed play on Blackstar on the day of its release – the day of Bowie’s 69th year on this Earth – thinking, believing, that he was in a state of exhaled passiveness of accomplishment, fit and healthy. I play this album now in a dire restraint to withdraw my connotations of his death.
‘Lazarus’. It was merely a rugged edged jigsaw piece that unnervingly fit in the Bowie puzzle. The film clip, embodied with the lyrics, is an eerily prophetic relic into the artist’s own passing. There’s now an unfortunate uncomfortability with ‘Lazarus’ as if Bowie himself knew this video would be his final appearance on camera. Bowie, in the most Bowie fashion possible, allegorically foreshadowed his death to the world before the star took to his black apostate. Tied to a hospital bed, terminally poisoned and flailing beneath his weight and peeving, “I’ll be free / Just like that bluebird.”
Posthumously poignant, Bowie’s lyrics on Blackstar show signs of a breaking man. This album – now being chronicled as a final parting document to fans – concludes many of Bowie’s testaments while circling back on his alien life. The mammoth 10-minute title track details the synchronised passing of his vampish visages and characters. “Something happened on the day he died / Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside / Somebody took his place and bravely cried / I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar.”
It somehow seems improbable, but David Bowie has left us with a dear departing gift: his most resolute and ambidextrous. Experimental and “Kendrick Lamar” inspired jazz cues with the crass infusion of malice and dramatically unpredictable story-telling.
‘Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)’ pulsates his last goodbyes to the mysterious Sue. Bowie seems so infinitely human on ‘Dollar Days’, much alike ‘Blackstar’, as he profusely confesses. The daringly full circle composition of ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’ reveals itself to be the remaining glam moment to Blackstar.
Never giving us the full story and being brave as hell: the unfortunate produce of Bowie’s later years during the past two albums cycles. His refusal to tour and his reprisal of the more experimental musical aspects re-contextualises not only his early passing but the rock star’s galactic career.
The world looks upon his art very differently from this day. He now leaves this planet an altered resemblance of itself thanks to his work. We now live in his culturally impacted shadow.