By George Ludwig on January 12, 2016
The first record I ever owned was Bowie’s 45 for Space Oddity/The Man Who Sold The World. My mother bought it for me. I remember playing it incessantly and singing along, trying to match Bowie’s exact phrasing and emotion.
Since then, Bowie has been a lifelong inspiration. And even today, singing like Bowie appears to be one of my musical superpowers, as commented by multiple of my collaborators. I’m truly grateful Bowie had the energy for one last album, one more opportunity to distill his soul and life experience in to music and video, all the while his mortality staring him in the face. I can’t imagine what the vibe in the studio must have been like. I would read the book that’s written about it, after someone writes it. Larry Crane/TapeOp, you listening?
Bowie wore many masks throughout his career, of which that of Ziggy Stardust is both his best remembered as well as his earliest. And when he peeled it off, he simply revealed another mask, a pattern he continued throughout his career. In his final guise on Blackstar, we see him wearing a death mask as Lazarus. This is Bowie’s final mask, and he knows it. Heartbreakingly, there is no Bowie left to take it off.
David held on long enough to see his last work received by the public who adored him, and who he likewise adored. It will always be with a combination of awe and sadness that I experience his final masterpiece.
My final thought on Blackstar is that this is an album you MUST have. There are few artists of Bowie’s stature, fewer still have gotten the head’s up on their impending mortality and used that opportunity to create one last work. There is nothing like death staring you in the face to focus your artistic intention. “Blackstar” is Bowie at his finest. His most human. His most mortal.
Thank you David, for everything. And FUCK CANCER.