David Bowie - Blackstar - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

David Bowie - Blackstar

by paul_guyet Rating:6 Release Date:2016-01-08
I have two issues with ★. First, between the stage play, Lazarus, and the two re-recorded-yet-previous-released tracks ('Sue' and 'Tis a Pity She Was a Whore'), it feels less like a new David Bowie album and more like a "Here's what David's been up to since 2013" compilation*, and, second, Bowie and company blew their load far to soon with the utterly astonishing opener, 'Blackstar', and, aside from a few moments here and there, the listener spends the rest of their tragically short time with the album stepping on cold, semen-soaked tissues. But, it is David Bowie's semen, and, I feel, that makes it better than regular semen.
 
After the epic, 10-minute title track, which introduces a plotline, characters, haunting locales, and a rich and mysterious world just begging to be explored and discovered, it is crushing to find that world immediately discarded for the drum-fucked ribaldry of 'Whore'. This album could have been a follow-up to Outside (the new, sleeker, more dangerous version of 'Sue' would have fit nicely there)...
 
The rest of the record isn't bad (although people who aren't fans of experimental jazz might want to watch out), but, except for the title track, 'Lazarus', and 'Girl Loves Me' (the lyrics for which borrow heavily from polari, something you'll know more about than you ever wanted to only because Bowie decided to record this song), the rest of ★ just sort of fades into the background. Both 'Dollar Days' and 'I Can't Give Everything Away', each wistful and hazy in their own beige fashion, feel like they could have been off of any one of Bowie's last four albums. Insert the mention of this being Bowie's 28th studio album and the fact that it's to be released on his 69th birthday and how we should all be happy/lucky/grateful to even have new David Bowie music while children in Africa are starving for new David Bowie music.
 
It's my fault. I understand that. But it doesn't make the disappointment any less stinging. I based an entire album on its opening track and that was foolish; I'm an adult and have been listening to music most of my life, so, my bad. And, whatever the case, no matter how unfulfilled I was with ★, I'll always have the ebon perfection of 'Blackstar' and its video to soothe me, provoke my imagination, and score my nightmares.

* An alternate title could be 'David Bowie is Back into Jazz!!!'

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