So Now We Know Bowie’s Blackstar Was Death

What a consummate pro, staving off death until he could get his magnificent final work, Blackstar, out the door.

It is early, and we are just processing the sad news, but a few words are in order.

If David Bowie had died without having released, in 2013, The Next Day, and now an incredible final album, we would have been sad, because for a almost a decade — from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars up through Lodger — there was no more cherished artist in our lives.  But after the commercial success of Let’s Dance, Bowie was for us a figure of the past, like the Rolling Stones, always beloved but no longer relevant.

And then, from out of nowhere, two years ago came The Next Day, which was among the most thrilling music of the year, and a reminder of his greatness.  And beginning Thanksgiving weekend, we had begun listening, over and over, to “Blackstar” from the new album, and reveling in Bowie’s vibrancy, his relevance, that gorgeous voice.

We were just thinking this weekend, when we at last got to listen to the album as a whole, how brilliant Bowie’s marketing has been these last few years — not touring, not doing interviews, holding himself above the industry and stardom, and letting his music do the speaking for him.  And now we know.

That he finished with Blackstar is like the Beatles going out with Abbey Road: an amazing grace upon which to conclude one of the transcendent careers in contemporary music.

 

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