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David Bowie - Blackstar CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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4.48 | 462 ratings

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5 stars For his new offering, the english chameleon returns to the eclecticism that grabbed our attention in 'Outside'

When I read that jazz musicians are involved and that hip-hop star Kendrick Lamar was a major source of inspiration, I wondered what 'Blackstar', which was planned for issue on the day of the white star's 69th birthday, would sound like. Unclassifiable musician, the legendary vocalist and multi-instrumentalist already accustomed us, at the heights of his popularity, namely in the seventies, to musical changes from an album to the other and from one character to the other. He deserves all the more respect that he reached his goal while keeping the same line- up from an album to the other (the two Mick, Ronson and Woodmansey). When it comes to change musical orientations, it is indeed hard to avoid tensions in the band. Visionary who knew how to federate his bandmates in his eclectic choices, Bowie can be raised as a model to refer to in discussions about tolerance and harmony among nations, all the more that his music is appreciated worlwide.

Let's focus more specifically on the twenty-fifth record of the multi-faceted singer. First, the above-mentioned jazz flows from the liquorous spring of the saxophone and escapes from the flute to regain the freedom of Herbie Mann. Regarding hip-hop, it bursts in the languid rhythm and the hallucinated flow of the verses to "Girl Loves Me", even if dissolved in the very personal universe of our child of Albion. From a general standpoint though, the climates are covered in very art-pop outfits, switching from reflectivity to swinging rhythms. In fact, on one hand, let's note the introspective "image freezes" (the bipolarity in "Lazarus", a track that is both comforting and troubling, and again in "Dollar Days", when dawn and twilight meet). On the other hand, bathing in the misty symphonicism of keyboards, we are invited to join the dancefloors (the breakbeat of "Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)", the electro-pop of "I Can't Give Everything", the funk incursions in the title-track). At the crossroads of Black music, electronica and pop, the varied approach to the atmospheres depicted brings us back to the times of 'Outside'. This parallel is further enhanced by a penchant for strangeness and repulsion in the videoclip to "Blackstar". In other words, this is the Bowie album we were waiting for to succeed to a record that was as unfathomable as the track "I'm Deranged". Our english citizen encourages the limbs of his bandmates to swim in varied musical waters, but his own voice is also involved in this endeavour. In fact, where a haunted choir supports the pleading mysticism of "Blackstar", it's on the reverse ethereal choirs reminiscent of doo-wop bands of the fifities like Platters that back the theatrical manierism of "'Tis A Pity She Was A whore" and its "chuckling" bass! The tone of glam rock star's voice doesn't seem to be altered by time, maybe it's the welcome effect of a regular consumption of Evian water, which he once recommended in a commercial of the brand!

Surrounded by little known jazz musicians and looking for the inspiration in the music of a worldwide known hip- hop artist, David Bowie turns his compositions towards the future while covering them with the elegance of the past. A black star that will dazzle us as much as 'Outside' did : this is another milestone in the extensive discography of the english chameleon.

lucas | 5/5 |


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