The slightly overrated The Next Day notwithstanding, it’s here in Blackstar that the elusive artist has truly opened his sacred closet of curiosities, again, for us mere mortals to peer in. Back in November the title track attacked the senses to shock and critical awe, bravely showing his physical maturity (no mean feat for a functioning narcissist), and diving headlong into experimental elongated rhythms and pseudo kraut-jazz.
It’s so listenable you’ll find yourself constantly hitting repeat, with gusto, on the mere seven tracks on offer. Akin to Station to Station meets elements of Black Tie, White Noise (vastly underrated) via Robert Smith’s penchant for dreamy doom, this is classic Bowie: challenging and infectious. Lazarus offers masterful landscapes with danger and darkness always lurking under each movement. Girl Loves Me enters Outsideterritory with dashes of Heroes, Low and Lodger for good measure; reflecting those he’s inspired over a vast career is indeed his right, and boy does he know how to use it.
It was at this point in penning this review I learnt of Bowie’s unbelievable death.
Hearing the tracks again, it’s cliché to read more into it all... but knowing his theatrical humour and grave seriousness of intent, it is all laid out to decipher and debate. The last offering from our androgynous saviour, a lingering taste to elongate until the palate is bone dry, leaving us to ponder ‘why’ when in reality it doesn’t matter. It’s the personal mindscapes and sheer joy this artist with no peer shared the past five decades that transcend sorrow and shock. Let 2016 be the year of the Diamond Dog himself; the lad insane, the Duke of milkywhite slender and the man who fell to Earth only to teach us of the stars he’d soon return to. We will miss him, yet we have much to enjoy and digest in his wake. There is no God, but there is David Bowie.
Blackstar is out now via Sony.