On January 10 of 2016, the world lost one of the greatest music legends that has ever lived. David Bowie, who tragically died of liver cancer passed away at the age of 69. But before he left us, he managed to give us one last gift in the form of the masterpiece that is Blackstar. I was in a lucky scenario in which I was able to listen to this album both before and after learning about his death. Though the album itself remained the same, the messages and themes that this project contains were only more fully revealed through the death of David Bowie. This album is amazing. Even if Bowie had not died, critics across the world would agree that this album is quite possibly one of his greatest and most thought provoking projects. Yet at the same time, his passing compliments and in a strange way, fulfills the message of this album. Considering the circumstances, it is almost certain that Bowie made this album knowing that he was approaching death.
I truly believe that Bowie made this album to tell to the public that he was dying, and I can not imagine a better way to do so than through this album. While there are a few blatant examples such as when he quite literally says “I’m dying to” in the track “Dollar Days,” he is a bit more discreet yet open about his feelings of his approaching death in the song “I Can’t Give Everything Away.” The first time I heard this (which was before his death), I distinctively recall thinking about the classic religious teaching that we can not take material objects with us into the world beyond. During my first listening after his passing, I was blown away for a lack of a better term. Everything that I had briefly questioned about this album from the first few times I had listened were answered. David knew that this was it. Though I wont go as far as to say that he knew exactly when he would die despite the lyric ‘Where the fuck did Monday Go?’ in the track “Girl Loves Me,” I do believe that he knew that death was on the horizon. The title of the album can even be perceived as a reference to how his life has run out of light, making him the Black Star. There are too many examples of this foreshadowing to fit into one article. I imagine that there are still references to his death that we have yet to discover. All that I can say is that David Bowie left an impact on the Earth that changed music forever. From the standpoint of a reviewer, I honestly believe that most of the music that I love and enjoy would not exist without the life and talent of David Bowie. From the perspective of a life long fan, I am deeply saddened by his death and I will always remember him for being one of the biggest musical influences and icons in my life. I hope that the rest of the world will remember the Starman himself in a similar way.