David Bowie turns 69 and blows us away with BLACKSTAR

In the villa of all man stands a solitary candle. In celebration of the starchilds 69th birthday on January 8th, David Bowie released his 25th studio album “BlackStar”. A seven track epic, with no song shorter than 4:40, we are reintroduced to the soundscapes that made Bowie a household name in 1972.

Produced, mixed, engineered and recorded by the man himself in New York City, the album features experimental jazz influences and funk elements, whilst maintaining sharp Bowie-ness that maintains reliability and intriguing art rock statements. Without catering for a mainstream radio audience, Bowie creates an extreme album of dark, self-confiding brilliance.

From the nine minute title track, we are immediately reminded that Bowie is by no means trying to retrace his Ziggy Stardust cocaine tracks, but is waiting for everyone else to catch up – a motif reinforced by the bonus video for “Blackstar” – a frightening sci-fi epic that features an astronauts jeweled skull.

Personal highlights are the saxophone heavy Lazarus and the re-recorded ’Tis a Pity She Was a Whore. Startling and opaque, “Girl Loves Me” includes semi-rapped lyrics like “Where the Fuck did Monday Go?” and syllabic Polari – a type of British slang particularly popular with flamboyant LGBT culture in the 60’s and 70’s, and heavy references to 1984 and A Clockwork Orange. The incredibly smooth drum machine transition into I Can’t Give Everything Away is also worth looking out fort.

– James McDonald