So, David Bowie is releasing a new album in the new year, on the 8th of January (the same date as his big comeback a few years ago), and I finally got around to listening to the track. The 10┬áminute long Blackstar. And, well…its not like the last album…

We remember David Bowie’s big return in 2013, The Next Day; his last album up to this point, was a beautiful piece that anyone could get into. It was a beautiful album. This song, clocking in at 10 minutes long, is NOTHING like The Next Day.

Blackstar, the name of the album as well as the track, seems to go back to the experimental days of the Berlin Era. Its like Low on some form Psychedelic drug. But it really isn’t a radio friendly track. And I think that works in its favour. I think I wouldn’t have been as impressed with a simple follow up to The Next Day. Blackstar is completely outside of the realm of contemporary music. Its a very experimental piece, with a lot to it.

The song has distinct sections, which follow on from each other smoothly from each other, but it does so in its own pace. I think the best way to look at it is to say its self possessed. It is a beautiful piece, and very melodic, but it is in some far off, distant planet (or in its own star…). The song creates a very closed off and alien sound, with foreign influences, such as eastern and african music, as well as pop and rock, electronica plays a big role in the sound as well.

And looking at that, Blackstar probably best describes Bowie himself. He’s clearly in his own world, with constant changes to his sound, image, and identity. Quite clearly, he’s using his gift of sound and vision to great effect, as I cannot simply express my feelings on the song. It is good, but it is hard to describe, because it is so out there.

The video is very similar in that regard. I know it is trying to say something, but it is oblique. I get the basic idea of it. It seems to be a star worshipping cult. But the imagery is so wild, it adds to the self possessed nature of the song. Again, sound and vision. The video is very well filmed, and very well edited. A good video fits its song like a glove. And this video fits its song like a glove.

Blackstar is one of those songs/videos you simply cannot read a review to. I can tell you if I think the song is good, but lord know’s I cannot explain it. I’d watch the video, which I link to you in this blog. In five short word, I can describe Blackstar as: A creative trip into madness.


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Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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