Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie - ★ (2016)

Was planning on picking this up this morning anyway then I woke to the tragic news. Listening to it for the first time now while writing, realizing what I write today would be much different than what I might have written yesterday. I know nothing about this album except that it's produced by longtime producer Tony Visconti and Bowie experimented by hiring jazz musicians to play rock music.

Metacritic currently has it rated at 86.  My favorite quote comes from The Guardian:
His 25th studio album concludes with I Can’t Give Everything Away, which seems to offer those attempting to unravel his lyrics a wry “best of luck with that” (“Saying no but meaning yes, this is all I ever meant, that’s the message that I sent”) while loudly trumpeting his own carefully maintained mystique.
Best of luck with that.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #1

Tracks: 7 tracks, 41 minutes.
  1. ★ - actually a 10 minute medley of two songs, they're both beautiful melodies, but the first is purposefully obliterated by the aggressive drums.  The second half descends into pseudo-funk before going back to the original theme with totally different backing drums. Is that an accordion?  I cant' read the credits/lyrics because they're printed gloss black on flat black and my old eyes can't read it. The track is mesmerizing, though.
  2. 'Tis A Pity She Was A Whore - a relentless rock track with screeching avant-garde saxophone.  Intensity builds throughout, leaving me exhausted by the end.
  3. Lazarus - lazy, midtempo self-epitaph about death.  Musically, least favorite track so far. Lyrically, my favorite.

  4. Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime) - a modified Bo Didley beat over a 'drum and bass' drum track with lots of chordal dissonance. Over all this mess, a slow, lyrical melody unfolds. And, in typical Bowie style, it all freakin' works somehow.  Another track that leaves me exhausted.
  5. Girl Loves Me - Not my thing musically, but I did like the pervasive lyric, "Where the f*ck did Monday go?" as I feel that's what I'll be thinking tonight.
  6. Dollar Days - My favorite track so far, maybe because it's the most traditional pop song on the album. Even the sax solo plays it safe.  It segues into...
  7. I Can't Give Everything Away - Another beautiful pop track that sounds a lot like Roxy Music to me with an excellent guitar solo. Gorgeous way to end the album.
Just Bowie being Bowie. Always looking forward. Pure genius. His vision will be missed.

Gonna post this and listen again.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  Still to come.

Previously revisited for the blog:
The Next Day (2013)
Zeit! 77-79 (2013)
Changesbowie (1990)
Let's Dance (1983)

1 comment:

  1. Even before his untiely passing, the hype was deafening on this one. I reserved a block of time for a critical listening session with my trusty Grados and have to admit I was not a fan after that first listen. I felt somewhat assaulted and pummeled after that first run-through, like someone had secretly replaced Bowie's fantastic widely praised new album with a failed audio experiment that sounded enough like the man himself that it could pass muster. It was after all, a leaked copy obtained before the official street date.

    But now I know better. While I haven't given Blackstar a second chance yet, I do plan on doing so, armed with a vague map of what to listen for.