Artist: David Bowie
Title: Blackstar
Release Date: January 8, 2016
Label: ISO Records

Ever so strange and always unique is David Bowie.

After 26 genre-jumping albums spanning over nearly 50 years, the constant chameleon releases his 27th and final album, Blackstar  which lands on his birthday and two days before him passing away. With Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly stated as an influence— the jazz-induced, hip-hop album— you could expect an interesting Bowie release none-the-less, and that exactly what the 69 year-old delivers.

From the dark and delusional ten-minute saga of “Blackstar” to the soothing, yet upsetting “Dollar Days” that sends you back to the late 60’s; Blackstar becomes unlike anyone else, showing that Bowie is not afraid to be relevant. Slow and cool, before turning on you with a Mars Volta-esque tantrum of frantic horns and drums is “Lazarus”. It rolls in with the instrumental swagger accompanied by vocals delicately muttering confessions “I’ve got scars that can’t be seen”. — What else are you hiding from us, David? The out-of-tune yelping on “Girl Loves Me” can only be made addictive by Bowie, as it echoes behind pulsating bass that comes off as deceitful. Not all of the album is a groovy smoothy though, “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)” strains on repetition, jagged crunchy guitars and howling vocals stretch towards agitation, upsetting the flow of the seven-song LP. Although it blends into of the over-all demeanor that is cosmic and addictive.

Reminiscing 2002’s Heathen, the somber 80’s synth and whaling lounge-sax on “I Can’t Give Everything Away” draws Blackstar to a close, leaving you somewhat empty; a seductive way to end an album that feels quite fresh and full, pulling the drapes down on the inspiring career from the legendary musical chameleon, David Bowie.

By: Matthew Burke

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