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David Bowie: Extraordinary musician returns to the stars

Sam Shirk
A&E Editor
sxs1090@lhup.edu
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Photo from Getty Images via youtube.com

Legendary musician David Bowie passed away on Jan. 10 after a long battle with cancer. Bowie was 69 when he passed away.

 

Bowie was considered an innovator by notable critics and musicians. He was well known for his quirky, unique personality as well as the characters he brought to life. Bowie fans knew him by many names, Ziggy Stardust, The Goblin King, Aladdin Sane and many more. There is no doubting the sheer creative genius behind each character or persona.

Bowie was one of the most inspiring musicians of our time and his inspiration paved the way for many musicians and bands we know and love today. Nirvana, Lady Gaga, Lorde, Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy, Jay-Z, Billy Idol and many more. All of these musicians have been touched by David Bowie on some level, some more than others.

When commenting in “Classic Rock” magazine about Bowie, Joe Elliot from Def Leppard said “Bowie’s death is genuinely a tragedy for me, because his music has been in my life for more than forty years. That’s a long time. I’ve recorded more than twenty of his songs over the years.”

Bowie was a true musician and during his time on Earth he tried many different forms of Rock N’ Roll, which led to the varied Bowie sound many of us know and love. In true musician form, Bowie left us with an amazing gift before he died, an album that is clearly one of his best, “Blackstar.”

Bowie’s “Blackstar” is a 7-track jazz phenomenon that will go down in my book as one of his greatest albums of all time. From the opening track of the same name as the album it’s clear Bowie has set us up for a wonderful treat that perfectly embodies Bowie’s heart, soul and legacy.

The song “Blackstar” is a long listen that captivates the listener from the very first sound. Strong electronic beats accompany Bowie’s hauntingly beautiful vocals. The track is almost 10 minutes of pure perfection, closer to 2 minutes in we’re treated to the beautiful sounds of Bowie’s saxophone, setting us up for what’s yet to come musically.

The whole album sounds like something out of the old but wonderful jazz years mixed with the futuristic edge we all know and love from rock’s most well-know time traveler. It seems to me that Bowie went back to his old “Space Oddity” roots for this album.

Following the album’s title track is a more upbeat tune “’Tis A Pity She Was A Whore.” Featuring rich musical sounds alongside Bowie’s low vocals, this track is a nice break to prep the listener for the tragic “Lazarus.” Witty lyrics and humor are laced throughout this number and it makes the listener feel like he or she is having a fun drunken chat with Bowie about a past event.

ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL

Photo by Maxppp via flickr.com

“Lazarus” was the album’s single, and it can only be described as Bowie’s final goodbye message. He knew his tragic end was drawing closer by the minute and to many this seems to be the way he wanted to tell the fans. Featuring lyrics like “I’ve got scars that can’t be seen/I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen” and “This way or no way/You know I’ll be free,” it’s hard not to almost cry when listening. Especially after watching the single’s accompanying music video which features Bowie lying in a bed with wraps on his eyes, before rising and moving almost as if he’s in a trance or possessed. Later his movements are jerky as he stands, continuing to look like some supernatural being is forcing him to move.

Like anything, all good things must come to an end, and Bowie’s final track does not disappoint. Providing us with a beautiful and strong ending, “I Can’t Give Everything Away” is the perfect jazzy tune to end on and Bowie’s powerful vocals leaves us with a slightly sad but satisfied feeling.

With an array of amazing talent and breathtaking sounds accompanying it, “Blackstar” is a gem the ear will want to hear over and over. A strong finale from Ziggy Stardust himself can only lead to one word: extraordinary.

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