Bowie's Blackstar

irreduciblekoan
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Bowie's Blackstar

Postby irreduciblekoan » Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:38 am

Unless I missed it, surprised that there isn't a thread dedicated to this album yet. Bowie is one of AM's most acclaimed artists and a true legend in his own right. I am personally not even his biggest fan but I at least appreciate what he has done for modern music. What do you all think of his latest, and how do you think it will figure in the test of time, such as its future AM placement compared to his other albums, etc?

My thoughts after four listens is that I love it. And I was not very fond of 2013's The Next Day. To me Blackstar is his true comeback, and his first album to harken back to his '70s heyday. Since I am also not a fan of Scary Monsters, I am hoping that Blackstar ends up higher on AM, like top 400.

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Re: Bowie's Blackstar

Postby Nick » Sat Jan 09, 2016 3:00 pm

I'm really liking it, and I think it's even better than "The Next Day", which I liked quite a bit.

The album is something of a mix between experimental jazz and art rock, and the relative brevity of the album (7 songs over 41 minutes) really helps the album out, lest it venture into the realm of self-indulgence (something that I fear could have happened quite easily thanks to the idiosyncratic nature of the music). I'm reminded of Scott Walker throughout the album, not just in the "narrative" sense (acclaimed rocker releases decades of critically ignored material only to come back as an avant-garde musician), but also due to the fact that Bowie's voice could really pass off as current-era Scott Walker. Like all the best artists in music, Bowie is able to take the raw and "out there" sound from the field of experimental jazz and combine it with a certain pop sensibility to give the audience an album that, while somewhat challenging and distinct, is never an arduous listen.

As for AM placement, I'm expecting something pretty high, maybe at or around the level of "The Next Day". It's hard to know which of those two albums will win out on AM in the future, but I'm hoping for this one.

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Maschine_Man
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Re: Bowie's Blackstar

Postby Maschine_Man » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:50 am

If there were any doubts about this album ranking high this year, they have gone. Not that there should have been, it's a fantastic album. I have been breaking it down and only listening to parts as there is a lot going on in these seven tracks. It's the first album I listened to this year and he has set quite the standard, many established and upcoming musicians are going to have to follow this up, good luck to them.

I think this is going to be a massive year for Bowie in the press, bigger than any time since the late 70's, really. I wouldn't be surprised if Blackstar ranks higher than some of his classics like Aladdin Sane or Scary Monsters.

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Rob
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Re: Bowie's Blackstar

Postby Rob » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:57 pm

Maschine_Man wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if Blackstar ranks higher than some of his classics like Aladdin Sane or Scary Monsters.


I think it deserves to. As much as I love Bowie I also think a lot of his classic albums are somewhat uneven and mostly get away with it because the great songs are truly great. This definitely goes for Aladdin Sane and Scary Monsters, but not for Blackstar. Based on one listening that one works as a whole.

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Moonbeam
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Re: Bowie's Blackstar

Postby Moonbeam » Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:21 pm

Rob wrote:
Maschine_Man wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if Blackstar ranks higher than some of his classics like Aladdin Sane or Scary Monsters.


I think it deserves to. As much as I love Bowie I also think a lot of his classic albums are somewhat uneven and mostly get away with it because the great songs are truly great. This definitely goes for Aladdin Sane and Scary Monsters, but not for Blackstar. Based on one listening that one works as a whole.


Haven't listened to the new one yet, but I'm sure it will be a confronting experience. That said, Scary Monsters and Aladdin Sane are my favorite Bowie albums. I think they deserve a lot more acclaim than they get.

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Re: Bowie's Blackstar

Postby Jirin » Fri Jan 15, 2016 6:05 am

Scary Monsters is my favorite Bowie album.

Blackstar really is an incredible album. I'd be shocked if it weren't in top three of critically acclaimed albums this year. It's a great album with a heart wrenching narrative. Some of it reminds me of Scott Walker, but it's an emotionally direct album about a known impeding death. Maybe the death of the artist is what it takes to have a rock album be critically taken seriously now.

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Re: Bowie's Blackstar

Postby Nick » Fri Jan 15, 2016 6:17 am

"Blackstar" is quickly becoming a new favorite of mine in Bowie's catalog. Right now I'd put it above not only "The Next Day", but also "Scary Monsters", "Aladdin Sane", and "Young Americans". Really just a fantastic album.

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Live in Phoenix
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Re: Bowie's Blackstar

Postby Live in Phoenix » Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:44 pm

One of the first of the gruesome "anniversaries" -- the one month anniversary. The least I can do is post a Blackstar review.

I've been listening to a few releases, including the very good The Next Day, but Blackstar leaves that one behind. The Next Day was Bowie's best collection of tunes in decades, but at times it felt a bit indistinct. This is no longer an issue, a few notes into Blackstar's opening track. To see rock music's Prince Charming, and a man of youthful reinvention, starting his music video with the sun blotted out in the blackness of space, was hard for me to even take, on the first pass. The song's ten-minute pace makes me think of a gravitational-like pull towards one's physical oblivion. As much as I believe I can discern Bowie lyrics, a few of the songs are sort of him having fun, although colored by the musical themes of gloom and anxiousness. The final two songs wrap up, even though no one wants to wrap up. "If I never see the English evergreens I’m running to / It’s nothing to me / It’s nothing to see." "I can't give everything away" (yet he still gave enough for five outtakes, plus five demos for another album).

I'd call this one of Bowie's ten best albums. Rock music was in such good hands with him that we entrusted him to shape it as he saw fit. We're now without one of those precious few performers who could unite so many disparate people in appreciation.

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Re: Bowie's Blackstar

Postby Jackson » Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:04 am

I think this is better than any Bowie album except Ziggy Stardust and Low.

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Dan
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Re: Bowie's Blackstar

Postby Dan » Wed May 11, 2016 4:15 pm

I've just listened to this album for the first time in months because I wanted to compare it to Beyoncé's Lemonade, as they are the two most likely contenders (at the moment) for the critics' overall album of the year.

Like Lemonade, I've only listened to this album twice now. Even more so than the first time I'd listened to Blackstar, I really loved how it was experimental yet so warm at the same time. For some reason, tracks 4 and 6 ("Sue" and "Dollar Days") again didn't engage me as much as the other tracks - probably because I felt that there needed to be a little bit of a shift in atmosphere at those points in the album. But I might feel differently about that after listening to the album again.

It's difficult to compare Lemonade to Blackstar because of the differences in style and sound, but regardless of the fact that Bowie's death has undoubtedly had an effect on my appreciation of Blackstar, at the moment I feel that it's the better album of the two. I really like both, though. I'm looking forward to listening to them again.

I'm not sure yet where to rank Blackstar in Bowie's overall catalogue, but I certainly think that it's one of his best.
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