by James Wylder
You can watch the music video for the title song from "Blackstar" here:
It is the year. We have been counting down to it from the number, but now it is the year. My sister, she carries the disk in her hand, and we walk to the temple. The jai-no eyes us from the side. The black magicians are jealous, but they were never granted the third eye. We walk up the steps of the temple. The stones are still stained with blood. They will always be, even after the rain comes.
He is lying on the tablet, it is both a large piece of stone, and a place for writing. There are so many words on it.
“Did you bring the disk?” He asks, his voice rasping.
“The sky is going to boil. Seven have already burned their eyes out trying to look at it.”
“I asked if you brought the disk.” She holds it up to him. “Good, place it on the spindle.” She carefully does.
“Now press the plaque of the broke circle.” She hesitates. “DO IT.” He weakly screams.
She presses the plaque, and cringes at the holy light.
“Press the plaque of the three lines and three points.” Weeping, she does so. Weeping, I hold my face.
The room is suddenly booming, filled with sound.
“Master?” I whimper. He smiles.
“I'm a Blackstar.” He whispers.
David Bowie was gone, then he came back. His last album before he fell off the face of the Earth ended with a song called “Bring me the Disco King,” and then while dragging the Disco King's severed head he returned with an album that skewered the entire notion of nostalgia, while also reveling it, “The Next Day.” The striking thing about “The Next Day” isn't its bold painting over of the most treasured memories of its own creator, but the fact that it was good at all. David Bowie is getting old, after all, and if he had simply churned out a mediocre album that called back with sincere and trite nostalgia, it would have still sold well.
“Hey guys, remember me? David? You used to like me back in the day? Relieve those days in washed out paper cuts.”
He didn't say, he didn't do.
Instead, he did something drastic: He made art.
But while “The Next Day” felt at times like it was the best songs David Bowie wrote during his hiatus, each with something to say but sometimes disconnected from each other, his new album Blackstar is cohesive and singular. You can listen to the album like a 40 minute song in movements. The words change, but the melodies and music are an experience nearly tactile: you can feel them slipping through the valves of your heart, right into your liver.
In many ways the album of David Bowie's that Blackstar resembles the most is his cocaine fueled opus “Station to Station” only without the cocaine, and I mean that in a good way. Where Station to Station felt like a man on the edge of his life trying to squeeze the ache in his brain out into song, Blackstar feels like a seasoned artist who has been on the edge of his life many times, and now that he is clear of it is putting the things in the corners of his eyes onto disks and handing them out to teenagers.
"Happy Birthday to me! Everyone have some creepy cult party jazz!"
I imagine, if he threw a birthday party, it would be bananas. I imagine, if you bought this album, you'd enjoy it. Its not just good, after all, its not just great, its not just four stars, its a Blackstar.
* * * *
The disk finished rotating, and we stared at the Master. My sister looked at me, her eyes wide, they shimmered a bit, and I knew what I had to say, as I went out onto the balcony before the people, as the music calmed the dead heavens and the beasts beneath our dreams seeped back into their pores.
I bravely cried, “I'm a Blackstar. I'm a Blackstar.”
Poet, Playwright, Game Designer, Writer, Freelancer for hire.