David Bowie - "Blackstar" -2016. 9 minutes, 59 seconds
Blackstar by David Bowie will probably go down in history as the most infamous album release of the 21st century, an album full of allusions to death released just two days before the beloved icon's tragic passing. In that sense, the title track was overshadowed slightly by the second single, "Lazarus" whose morbid allusions are eerily crystal clear, and sung in the first person. "Lazarus" opens with the heartbreaking line "Look up here man/I'm in heaven." Whereas "Blackstar, with its surrealist imagery and obscure occult references, is certainly dark, but not obviously about death.
...until that is, we hit the verse:
Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre then stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I'm a blackstar, I'm a blackstar)
"Blackstar's" lyrics are pretty arcane, but on that one verse, the song snaps into tragic focus.
Speaking of arcana, the Blackstar album and its packaging are full of secrets and Easter eggs that it took fans years to spot and decipher. The one that stood out to me is the parallels between the songs "Blackstar," and "Station To Station," released almost exactly forty years apart, and both clocking in at around ten minutes exactly. Both songs are epics that alternate between atmospheric prog rock and funky mutant disco, and both begin and end with the same refrain.
What this means, however, I cannot say.