David Bowie, for all intents and purposes, was an alien. Fittingly, his first single was “Space Oddity,” establishing a decades long career of his anomalousness amid then current landscapes. His aura, his music and his very existence exuded something of the supernatural.
Thus, his uncanny death timing, just two days after his sixty-ninth birthday and the release of Blackstar, his twenty-fifth album, indicates Bowie’s ability to work and flow within the universe was extremely rare. Indeed, the only other musician with a similar death story is John Lennon.
His final opus to the world features a mere seven songs, each rounding out at no less than a full four and a half minutes, which is an avant-garde move in this attention spanless population of Swift-loving drones. Songs like “Tis A Pity She Was A Whore” and “Sue (Or In A Season of Crime)” hearken back to the Bowie we knew in the 70s–in point of fact, it is as though he recaptured the essence of his youth for this record.
The frenetic mind is overtly present throughout Bowie’s final offering to the world, as though he knows there’s a race against the clock–and it’s one that he wins. The final track, “I Can’t Give Everything Away,” possesses a tinge of the melancholic as Bowie insists that, no, he can’t give everything away, perhaps a subconscious allusion to being unable to share the secrets of death in his art. Nonetheless, he gave us all he could. We were just the unworthy swine with ears that could only hope to decipher his codes.