Much excitement surrounds the release of David Bowie’s new album, Blackstar, which is due on the English star’s birthday, January 8. Certainly the already spruiked 10-minute title track, a weird mix of chanting, trancelike beats and with a pop song embedded in the middle, suggests it will be a typically adventurous offering from the Thin White Duke. New single Lazarus, out this weekend, is a feature song from the stage musical of the same name by Bowie and Irish playwright Enda Walsh. The show opened in New York early this month and has been getting rave reviews, with The New York Times gushing in rather flowery language about how “ice-cold bolts of ecstasy shoot like novas through the glamorous muddle and murk”. I think that’s a good thing. One advance review of the new album likens it to Bowie’s output from his glorious Berlin period, which produced the albums Low, Heroes and Lodger. That should be of interest to another great English tunesmith, Elvis Costello. SD has been hurtling through Costello’s excellent, lengthy autobiography Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, where he reveals that he and his band the Attractions spent many an hour listening to Low and Heroes on the tour bus as they made their way across the US for the first time in the late 1970s. You can read reviews of Bowie’s album and Costello’s book in these pages over the coming weeks.
David Bowie rises again