On Mr Bowie‘s 69th birthday he continues to amaze fans and casual listeners alike. The release of ‘Blackstar’, his 27th (including Tin Machine releases I think that is correct) studio album was not as big a surprise as when he dropped “Where Are We Now” on his birthday two years ago. But compared to ‘The Next Day’ album from 2013 ‘Blackstar’ is in a different universe, well mostly anyway. You could call it some kind of jazz rock fusion but it is much more than that. It is Bowie taking things that he has enjoyed and dabbled with in the past; jazz, art, his own history, A Clockwork Orange, film soundtracks and probably a lot more and blending them all together to make what I believe will stand the test of time and become a classic Bowie album.
Many reviews are saying that it is his best album since; ‘Scary Monsters’, ‘Outside’, ‘Heathen’ and many others. Feel free to take your pick. Personally I think it is a great album, although it will be a real challenge for the casual listener to get into it I think. Having said that it took a Bowie fanatic like me six or seven listens to the title track to really understand it properly.
The album includes some previously released, although reworked songs; ”Tis A Pity She Was A Whore and ‘Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)’. In addition both the title track and ‘Lazarus’ taken from the current stage musical were both released along with their excellent accompanying videos in recent weeks. The three songs that haven’t had much of an airing so far are probably my favourite part of the album (“Girl Loves Me”, “Dollar Days” and ” I Can’t Give Everything Away”) and I would love to watch him perform them live, although that is probably a forlorn wish. If you’re an avid Bowie fan you have probably already heard the album. If you’re not, then give it a shot and give it a chance it might not be an easy listen first time around. But it is very fair to say that Bowie still has it!