David Bowie ‘Blackstar’ Album Review Roundup

January 6, 2016

David Bowie’s new album is ‘Blackstar.’ The 25th album from the legendary music artist has generated much excitement and anticipation, and now the critics are weighing in. Worth the hope and the expectation? Check out a review roundup below.

David Bowie

David Bowie’s new album arrives with much fanfare and deservedly so. A legendary, trailblazing iconic artist who’s been a pioneer for decades graces us with new music. He was daring and edgy in the 1970s with his Ziggy Stardust persona and his influence, to this day, whether acknowledged or not by artists, is undeniable.

Now, after what may seem like long hiatus, we have new music. He did release an album two years ago, ‘The Next Day,’ but before that there had been a decade gap since 2003’s ‘Reality.’ But now, we have yet another album from Bowie and the release date, January 8th is his 69th birthday.

When the title track and lead single — and its epic music video arrived — it immediately sparked curiosity. More experimentation and pushing boundaries now, in what’s his fifth decade in the public eye? But of course. This time, it’s a foray into jazz and some collaborations that are generating quite a buzz, notably the likes of famed jazz saxophonist Donny McCaslin and a whole group of New York City-based jazz musicians. And it’s not just collaborations, of course, but the kind of genre-defying fusion that we’ve come to know from David Bowie.

And, as he makes his inimitable presence known once again on our pop music landscape, critics are applauding, much as they did when he ended his hiatus with ‘The Next Day.’ Yes, this isn’t your average album that easily fits into a genre or a category. As Rolling Stone puts it, this new album is his “best anti-pop masterpiece since the Seventies.”

Yes, critics have much to say about ‘Blackstar.’ Here’s a roundup of reviews.

“….Released on his 69th birthday, 25th album ‘Blackstar’ spins the spaceship back around and points it at the moon. Bowie’s formidable record of reinventing himself with each new album remains intact….”– NME

“….With “Blackstar,” the delicious conceit of David Bowie conspiring with modern jazz artists is fulfilled beautifully. What began merely as a “boundary-pushing experiment,” according to Mr. Visconti, the album confirms that Mr. Bowie has long found inspiration in jazz. With its powerful, erudite performances by Mr. McCaslin and crew, “Blackstar” emerges as an album to savor as well as admire…..” — Wall Street Journal

“….So radiant and tuneful, The Next Day holds up as a late-period masterwork. Bowie’s latest twilight opus Blackstar, to be released on his 69th birthday, doesn’t soar quite as high. Instead, it veers sharply from a long-traversed career orbit into far-flung sonic frontiers. This collection of seven thorny tracks is a companion of sorts to The Next Day, a distorted sibling. Now that Bowie has reestablished his bona fides, he’s free to go a bit nuts. And nuts is where he goes, thrillingly and with glorious abandon, on Blackstar. ….” — Pretty Much Amazing

“…. Usually, singers become more mainstream as they age, their catalogue more likely to be expanded via the Great American Songbook than personal inspiration. But on his 69th birthday early in January, David Bowie releases the most extreme album of his entire career: Blackstar is as far as he’s strayed from pop…..” — The Independent

“….The second album he’s released since that unexpected return to the limelight is an even greater surprise: one of the most aggressively experimental records the singer has ever made. Produced with longtime collaborator Tony Visconti and cut with a small combo of New York-based jazz musicians whose sound is wreathed in arctic electronics, Blackstar is a ricochet of textural eccentricity and pictorial-shrapnel writing. …” Rolling Stone

As exciting as ‘Blackstar’ is, let’s hope that it’s just the harbinger of what’s to come from an artist who’s challenged us and astounded us, and mesmerized us for decades. You can see the music videos and the cover art for David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ below!

Pictures: PR Photos

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