Throwback Review: “Blackstar” by David Bowie

David Bowie’s final album, “Blackstar” rocked the music world and offered a beautiful close to the artists career


David Bowie’s “Blackstar,” released at the end of his life in 2016, endures as one of his powerful — even in a particularly popular and influential catalog.

David Bowie is one of the most recognizable and influential artists of all time, and it’s only right that he goes out with a swan song for the ages. Released on Jan. 8, 2016, “Blackstar” is the final album in a saga for the ages. 

Production, deeply inspired by heavy electronica, takes the modern elements of synthesized instruments and forms it into a cinematic experience. Particularly, the intro track (stretching over 8 minutes long) is nothing short of a landscape to behold. 

Vocally, Bowie had always been an enigma and on this album he reaches into a dark, melancholy, operatic tone and cadence that leads to a fantastical feeling. Specifically, Bowie’s performance on “I Can’t Give Everything” stood out to me. A lot of lyrics on this album are sad, even tragic, and his inflection exhibits such emotion that it nearly brought me to tears.

Bowie tackles some dark topics lyrically. This being his final album, an older Bowie confronts his own mortality in a way that would come to be more potent than originally believed. On “Dollar Days” he reminisces of his younger, wilder, rockstar life and throughout the album there are themes of legacy, nostalgia, fear, and acceptance.

Bowie would pass away 2 days after the album’s release: a death which would rock the world of music like no other. Bowie was an enigma, no doubt about it, and his final album feels like an epilogue to an amazing life story worthy of the man who brought us Ziggy Stardust, and Aladdin Sane. It would be ranked in the top 100 albums of the 21st century by The Guardian, and would be nominated for more awards to count. An epic final chapter only David Bowie could bring to the world.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the album was released in 2006. We corrected this issue to reflect its correct release date.