Album Mini-review: David Bowie — Blackstar
In some quarters, Blackstar has been characterized as a “jazz” album. That’s not accurate: though instrumentation closely associated with jazz (most notably saxophone) is employed throughout the album’s seven tracks, the uses to which those instruments are put are decidedly not jazz. Distorted electric guitar crops up fairly often as well – most prominently on the snaky closer, “I Can’t Give Everything Away” – but it’s not accurate to call Blackstar a rock album, either. Immersing themselves in David Bowie‘s 28th (and sadly, his last) album, longtime listeners may spot sonic similarities between it and his so-called Berlin trilogy (Low, “Heroes” and Lodger), as well as Diamond Dogs and Scary Monsters. Blackstar sounds and feels like the logical culmination and synthesis of most every style in which Bowie has ever traveled. And that’s saying something. Blackstar is a triumph, and a career highlight for the 69-year old musician. (Note: Bowie passed away within 48 hours of Blackstar‘s release.)
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.