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David Bowie - Blackstar CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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4.48 | 462 ratings

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Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars With David Bowie's passing the day after this album was released, one is tempted to let emotion rule, and raise the rating for sentimental reasons. However, I left this disc in my CD player, and after many spins, I feel I can step back and give it a less clouded review.

The album to me sounds unfinished. Every track sounds hollow. There is a rhythm track, with drums and bass, and Bowie's vocals. There are some guitars, keyboards and horns, but overall, the production is very empty. My gut tells me that the album was pushed out this way to get it out while the artist was still alive. I compare the sound to any other Bowie album, with rich, lush texturing, and I find it hard to believe that this album's bare sound was the intended result.

The songs themselves are good. Bowie's lyrics are about as dark as they can be (Do you blame him, given the circumstances?). The drums sound out of place, often much too frenetic for the music they are supporting. Again, it makes me feel that the wildness of the drums were meant to support some additional instrumentation that never was completed.

Bowie himself sounds weaker than usual, but had written his parts so that his failing voice could handle the task. And his moaning backing tracks add a lot of eeriness, helped along by splashes of dissonance by the horns, guitars, and string synths.

This is an interesting album. Not great, but not bad. Get it if you like Bowie, or if you just what to honor his memory.

Evolver | 3/5 |


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