With a musical career spanning almost six decades, David Bowie remains one of today’s most exciting and iconic musicians, as evidenced by his latest offering, BLACKSTAR. The eponymous lead single from his soon-to-be-released album is an avant-garde epic full of surreal instrumentation and even wackier lyrics, a warped piece of music which attests to Bowie’s abilities to continually surprise and deliver.
Between shifting time signatures, unnerving vocal harmonies and the weird, delicately eerie instrumentation which characterises most of the track, Bowie has melded elements of jazz and sci-fi futurism to create a single which evolves into something truly intriguing. Crucially, BLACKSTAR isn’t written for the pure sake of experimentation: there’s something effortless about the track’s creativity. Only Bowie could combine wailing synths, an atonal saxophone solo and Gregorian-influenced vocal lines, and pull the whole thing off with his signature je-ne-sais-quois charisma. BLACKSTAR conjures up a sense of exploring and exploding the boundaries of what’s come before, and of the contemporary music scene as a whole: the song is a ten-minute epic, something hardly heard of these days when quick production and a spate of straight-to-radio singles seem to be all that matters to young musicians.
“You’re a flash in the pan, I’m the great I AM,” Bowie croons through the song’s climactic bridge, demonstrating both his own lyrical genius and slyly commenting on his status as one of the most influential figures in modern musical history. If the rest of the album is anywhere near as mind-blowing as the lead single, we are in for a treat.