Black Star is Bowie’s dirge

david bowie

“Where the f— did Monday go?”-Girl Loves Me, Black Star track 5.

Today is Monday.

Our little boy screamed throughout the night. I went downstairs to sleep on the sofa around 4am. I rolled onto the floor at 7am and started water for coffee. First thing I see today was my father-in-law texted me: David Bowie is dead. It had all the marks of a bad joke; except he wouldn’t do that.

After chatting with friends about Black Star all weekend (since its release on January 8th), I finally purchased it yesterday and listened to it intently. It was terribly weird to cross this strange threshold, a maelstrom of a night, to wake in a world with no David Bowie.

This morning, I pulled up the video for Lazarus (screen shot above), track 3 of Black Star, and cried as I contemplated what this album must have meant to Bowie.

It’s one of those great things about art. I don’t think I would feel this news so strongly (as I didn’t know him personally and death is very ordinary in the scheme of things), but the album is like a message that reached me on a personal level, as if he had intended it that way. And “me” is everyone who listened to it, making it universal at the same time. Whatever intent he had was probably unconscious and a struggle, but it worked. It is amazing art.

Powerful.

The album structure connotes an image of Bowie as relaxed, considering his favorite influences and opening himself up completely for his last expression. It’s simultaneously familiar and jarring. I honestly feel fortunate that I was able to listen to it yesterday and then again today.

It definitely makes for a unique experience of art.

I don’t put much weight on the lives or opinions of celebrities, but Bowie was an artist. And what he communicated with this album seemed dark, familiar and mysterious yesterday. Today, it seems very clear and I understand.

Today, understanding brings tears to my eyes.

Long live the Goblin King!

 

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