Look up here, I'm in heaven.

In a way the clues were all there; perhaps we simply didn't want to solve this puzzle, afraid of what it would mean. Blackstar, David Bowie's twenty-eighth and final record sounds different today. It's no longer just a melancholic record, but a funeral recital. However, if we are to understand 'Lazarus' (and Blackstar as a whole) as Bowie's admission of mortality, then we must also acknowledge the optimism and hope it presents. "You know I'll be free," Bowie tells us in the final lines of 'Lazarus', reminding us that death - for a star of Bowie's stature - is never really the end. Perhaps this is why Blackstar ends with 'I Can't Give Everything Away': it's the one track that directly references the artist's past, lifting the harmonica melody of 'A New Career In A New Town' from Low.

Recorded towards the end of 1976, Low marked a challenging period for Bowie. He was recovering from drug addiction--the extent of which was so bad that he barely remembers recording his previous record Station To Station--and using the music as a way of airing his demons. Low, like Blackstar, was born out of trauma, yet rendered in an obliqueness that encourages the listener to make their own connections, their own meanings.

That was always Bowie's strength. He was so many things to so many people. As I watched people share their memories throughout Monday, I was reminded of just how much he united people. For some he was a film-star, for others a pop-star; he was everything and nothing. He was a singular figure in our collective culture, offering something for everyone. For me, Bowie was my gateway to a world of fascinating, thrilling music--and not just that which he recorded. To the end he was a champion of others, citing Kendrick Lamar, Death Grips and Boards of Canada as influences on Blackstar. I often wonder where my musical tastes would be if not for Bowie weaving a web of intrigue, taking in Brian Eno, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Iggy Pop, Krautrock, Soul, and so much more.

It hurts right now, but it'll get easier. His legacy will still be there for the highs and lows of life.

  • Something happened on the day he died
  • Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
  • Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
  • I'm a blackstar


  • 'The Width of a Circle'
  • 'Oh! You Pretty Things'
  • 'Five Years'
  • 'Lady Grinning Soul'
  • 'Sweet Thing'
  • 'Young Americans'
  • 'Station To Station'
  • 'A New Career in a New Town'
  • 'Sons of the Silent Age'
  • 'Yassassin'
  • 'Ashes To Ashes'
  • 'Modern Love'
  • 'Under The God'
  • 'Jump They Say'
  • 'The Heart's Filthy Lesson'
  • 'I'm Afraid of Americans'
  • 'Slow Burn'
  • 'Bring Me The Disco King'
  • 'The Stars (Are Out Tonight)'
  • 'Lazarus'