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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 Words can't describe how hyped I was for this. First the title track was dropped, an ethereal, dour, yet hopeful mini- epic through jazz and strings that made everyone drool. Then came the deluge of information: Tony Visconti would bring his prowess to the production side. James Murphy slunk into the studio to throw all sorts of crazy ideas around and do some percussion work. A couple of previously released jazzy tracks that were the embryo for the album would be rerecorded, and, yes, this would be very much a sideways, artful jazz and rock affair. The band was taking protips from Kendrick Lamar's jazzy, off the wall hip hop instant classic "To Pimp A Butterfly". So does "Blackstar" live up to the hype?

Absolutely. The strange, dark atmosphere permeates every track through strings, vocals, winds, and dashes of electronics. The record is driven by energetic and bittersweet rock, especially through the drums and percussion. The jazz work is weirdly beautiful and ever brilliant. The proggy structure of the title track didn't really carry on through the work, but the more simplistic structures we see instead are made to work by the powerful instrumentation. And Bowie himself brings that darkly angelic voice of his to bear on every track, between mysticism and Tom Waits style stories from the gutters of olden times. The entire album is perfect, with unique highlights in the title track and the one-two punch of "Dollar Days" and "I Can't Give Everything Away", with the former ending in an electronic beat that ends up driving and forming the centre of the latter to close this dim, gorgeous, out there, uncompromising work. Album of the year material to start off 2016.

LearsFool | 5/5 |


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