Welcome to the first Music Monday of the new year! What better way to start off 2016 than with my favorite solo artist – David Bowie – and his latest (25th studio) release, Blackstar (dropping 1/8/16 on Bowie’s 69th birthday)? Once again, Bowie’s garnering critical acclaim, but will it appease the masses? In my honest opinion, I doubt it. Why do I say that?
Four words: art rock/experimental jazz.
The masses either don’t like it or don’t understand it and that’s how this album is being labelled. Those who give the album a listen, however, will be very pleasantly surprised. The Lazarus video above (3rd track) doesn’t sound too jazzy, but then he smacks you in the face with the 4th track Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime).
Jazz! Run for the hills! Horns! Non-4/4 time signatures! Gah! I think labelling this album art rock/experimental jazz does it a disservice. If I were to classify it, I would use: Bowie doing whatever he likes. In the first four tracks, he leads you down one path and then jumps 50 feet and starts down a new one before doing it all over again. Here’s the second track, ‘Tis A Pity She Was A Whore.
Shades of Trent Reznor, right? After 50 years of pushing the artistic envelope, doesn’t he deserve to do what makes his happy? I’d say he’s earned it, even if it means producing a visually arresting video of the first (title) track, Blackstar.
As you’ve likely already guessed, there’s a reason I didn’t put these in order. If I had lead with this, it’s entirely possible that no one would’ve gone past it to check out the others tracks – not just for the music, but for the seizure-like choreography. That would’ve been a terrible shame. So… what do you think?