David Bowie (Jan. 8, 1947 – Jan. 10, 2016) is gone, long live David Bowie. His final album, "Blackstar," is the magnificent swan song of a dazzling career and a final gift to his fans released just days before he took his final bow.
Looking at "Blackstar" outside of the scope of Bowie's death is impossible, but as this album grows outside of that notoriety, it won't fit any easy attempts to categorize. It is much more than just the end cap of a legendary career and life. Critics are calling "Blackstar" a jazz record and it does offer haunting sax solos, mournful and plaintive as in "'Tis A Pity She Was a Whore."
There are avant-garde drums that do not inspire one to dance, but instead create a sense of anxiety and miasmatic solitude. "Blackstar" is as much art rock as it is jazz and is as much avant-garde as it is experimental and abstract.
Tracks such as the prophetic "Lazarus," the aggressively textured "Sue," and "Dollar Days," with the heartbreaking refrain "I'm trying to, I'm dying too," show "Blackstar" to be a work of art that is very personal.
It exists not just as a complex and layered snapshot of Bowie's mind as he fought to accept death, but as the world's window into everything that was put on his shoulders as a modern day icon. "Blackstar" is seven darkly seductive tracks released on Bowie's 69th birthday, just two days before his death. It debuted at the number one spot on Billboard's chart and broke Youtube records with 51 million views on Monday, the day of his death.
Bowie is survived by his wife Iman, his son Duncan and his daughter Lexi.