David Bowie was never one to shy away from the weirder side of art. This is something he certainly proved over the course of 26 studio albums and something he continued to prove with his newest one. Blackstar is ambitious–the album has 7 songs, with the average length being above five minutes, and it is filled with more jazz-styled music than any other genre.
Saxophones play throughout the album, especially in the songs Lazarus and ‘Tis a Pity She was a Whore. The album has a large focus on emotions which are portrayed through lyrics and sound. The album’s title track, “Blackstar,” talks about “the day of execution” and involves a mix of both rock and jazz music. Hailed by Pitchfork as “intensely creepy” and The Guardian as a song that creates “an atmosphere of mounting dread,” it’s quite clear how this song was trying to portray itself. The song “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)” is a remake of a lead single from one of his previous albums Nothing has Changed. One of the songs, “Girl Loves Me,” has lyrics referencing the film A Clockwork Orange—“Nagsat and Polari”–which, ironic ally, used to be an old British form of gay slang. “Dollar Days,” the second to last song on the album, starts to wind everything down. It allows itself to be slower than any of the other songs and even starts to sound similar to a rock ballad at certain parts. The album is not quite what everyone expected and the lyrics aren’t exactly opening up their meanings to everyone, but it seems Bowie might have wanted it this way, with the very last song on the album being called “I Can’t Give Everything Away.”