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David Bowie - Blackstar CD (album) cover

BLACKSTAR

David Bowie

 

Prog Related

4.51 | 248 ratings

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RainingStigmata
4 stars Boy what a ride! The first time I listened through this album the time past in the blink of an eye, which is surprising as usually in prog there requires a lot of thought put into the music by the listener before the genius is seen. It's tough to put into words exactly how I feel about this album and David Bowie as I have never really sat down and listened to this sort of music as such, being more a lover of Metal. Below are my thoughts in my listen to this beautiful piece by David Bowie.

Blackstar - A haunting introduction with such an infectious beat and yet caught me out in places not knowing where I was - brilliant beginning. Having not listened to much Bowie, really only his "hits" - I wasn't sure if this was his actual singing voice now. Well that was answered about 5 minutes in when the pieces moves into a more clean feel with higher hopes than the daunting intro. A few minutes later, back to haunting and the unknown. What an opener! The supporting instrumentation here adds beautiful accompaniment to the melancholy of the drums and vocals. Reminded me in parts of the haunting passages performed by The Beach Boys when they went artsy.

'Tis a Pity She Was a Whore - Nice rock beats to start off followed by some wandering saxophone to begin. The vocals kick in and it's still - not sure. Pessimistic sounding but optimistic feel? Again after not listening to much Bowie this is a real ride so far. Some nice introduces of the sax and piano providing a nice jazz contrast against the more rockier sounding drums.

Lazarus - Nice, slow and melancholic beginning, with some great sounding sax thrown in. This reminds me of some other fairly recent "ballads" that other bands in the prog genre go through, with a drum loop, sad accompaniment and a beautiful voice on top providing the perfect level of thought-provocation in the listener. The piece does build however and the message behind it feels extremely foreshadowing of what was to come for Bowie. This extra meaning and the subsequent event of his death really hit a nerve with me while listening, that i've had to listen to it back. Beautiful. One of my favourites on the album.

Sue (Or In a Season of Crime) - There seems to be an emerging trend on this album for amazing drumming with the haunting vocals of Bowie playing off against the supporting instrumentation with well calibrated ease. The guitars really drive this song with a repeating motif throughout contrasting this to TaPSWaW, making this a heavier sounding track with so much more going on in it. How about that climax! What beautiful drumming and effects to end the song.

Girl Loves Me - Another haunting piece with drums keeping the beat in a loop and supporting instruments feeling a lot more in sync, slightly orchestral as opposed to the first half of the album where it felt a lot more driven by jazz. This may take a couple of listens to truly understand and get a hold of but once you do it will be hard to turn it off, especially if you miss Mondays.

Dollar Days - Beautiful start of saxophone and piano already reminds me of 90's television show introductions. That probably sounds worse than what I mean. Once the vocals kick in this quickly leaves us however. David's voice feels lot brighter in this song. Less haunting, more conventional. The saxophone solo provides some nice reprisals of the introduction as the song builds to a crescendo, and there's the guitar! Feels like absolutely perfect timing. The drums become more busy as the music ends.... in a dance? Wow. The other of my favourites on this album.

I Can't Give Everything Away - The final song of the album, and it feels like the music has passed in no time. The drums fall into a familiar groove in line with most of the album but again Bowie's vocals feel like they've evolved over the course of the album from dark, daunting, dreary to a more hopeful and optimistic sound, and this even includes the music behind him. Donny McCaslin again is having a great time on this album, and then a beautiful guitar solo to transition from the orchestral background to a more rock driven feel to end the album.

In sum, a haunting album to begin with turns more bright and hopeful towards the end of the piece with intense sincerity played on behalf of all the players on the album.

RainingStigmata | 4/5 |

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