David Bowie 'Blackstar' (2016) ****1/2

I've given 'Blackstar' a number of listens now. I wanted to wait a week after Bowie's passing before settling on my star rating. Regardless of his passing and the album subsequently reaching #1 in the US (a first for Bowie), this album is incredibly strong and deserving of the praise it's receiving. I'm seeing a lot of reviewers call this album "jazzy". While there are some jazzy elements (re: saxophone), that's not really how I would classify it overall. It has plenty of dance/electronic and rock elements as well. It reminds me most of a combination of sounds that Bowie previously explored on 'Earthling', 'Outside', 'The Buddha Of Suburbia' and 'The Next Day'. The self-titled opener is a standout, as are the freaky "Girl Loves Me" and the closer "I Can't Give Everything Away", which still all but brings me to tears a week after DB's death. It's a weirdly unique/experimental album but simultaneously accessible. 'Blackstar' is a beautiful parting gift, bittersweet yet so perfectly Bowie.

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