Five Years of Blackstar; Five Years Without Bowie.


The album cover of ‘Blackstar’.

Nousha Aldhefery, Associate Editor In Chief

David Bowie, A.K.A The Starman, A.K.A Ziggy Stardust, A.K.A one of the greatest minds in musical history. If only he was as good as a person as he was with his music… He was an arrogant ***** (to say the least). However, you couldn’t deny that he was a genius for creating, diversifying, and reinventing music.

Photo : Photograph copyright © Masayoshi Sukita, from forthcoming limited edition Speed of Life

In ‘Five Years’ the introduction to his 1972 album, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars”, the song is about finding out the world is going to end. Bowie sings about all the people he’s met and how they were all significant to him in some way – after all, they have five years left to live and they made it into his song. As a listener, the song is supposed to make you think about what you would do if you had limited time left in the world. The creation makes you ask yourself: “If I knew I was going to die soon, what would I do with myself?”

Bowie with an answer, created music.

Recently, the fifth anniversary of his twenty-fifth studio album ‘Blackstar’ passed by. An album about the fear of death. David Bowie released the album on his birthday; which was also two days before he died. He shocked the world, as he was passing of liver cancer and created music about the fear and anxiousness of his death.

The beginning of the album starts out with a 10-minute song called ‘Blackstar’; this song exemplifies Bowie’s fear of dying. The lyrics “Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried (I’m a Blackstar, I’m a Blackstar)” shows his hope that he wasn’t the only artist with expertise, and someone will come along and be the next generation of Bowie. He references himself throughout the whole song as the ‘Blackstar’, not the ‘pop star’, or a ‘film star’, but his true self behind the media. The Blackstar.

David Bowie in the ‘Blackstar’ music video.

Bowie concludes the album with ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’ which is the last song you’ll ever hear from him, as he finally faces death and moves forward with passing away. With use of funeral symbolism, creative writing, and subtle sounds, this song has proved Bowie finally giving in to the life he lived. After decades of being in the media, giving his all to music, and becoming one of the greatest artists in rock-and-roll, he finally just repeats the title ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’ revealing that he has given all he could pour into the music, and now it’s time to end it.

So Bowie was a horrible person. He has said and done some questionable things, including, but not limited to, sleeping with underage girls. However, the mark he has left on music, and the artists he paved the way for could never be replaced.