So it turns out you didn't have to buy the Lazarus soundtrack to get these final recordings of David Bowie. It would be foolish not to release them in their own right as they are not only an important document of his last work but they are absolutely superb. The fact that they sound somewhat unfinished only increases their brilliance. Bowie sounds totally unhinged at times and totally inspired.
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When 'Blackstar' came out you have to remember that this was before he died. In no way am I trying to justify my 7/10 review of an album I later got rather obsessed about. How was I to know he'd die and it would gain about 50 million extra layers and I would get used to the saxophones? Improbably all those three things happened and so it now goes down as an utterly unique work.
But that wasn't all. Bowie had three other tracks in the can which were shoved onto the end of the 'Lazarus' soundtrack to try to help flog a few copies. I'm not one for things getting repeat-released but these things really had to see a proper light of day and not tacked onto the end of some musical theatre. 'Lazarus' itself we already know about so I'll concentrate on the new stuff. 'No Plan' is as bleak as anything on 'Blackstar', bleaker in fact with Bowie sounding almost tortured over a lovely melody with some glorious 'Sound and Vision' era guitar twiddles. Lyrically an end of life lament..."nothing to regret" he utters.
'Killing A Little Time' heads left of 'Sue (In A Season of Crime') with a kind of live drum and bass/metal guitar crossover type thing that is way better than that sounds. Again it's lyrically fascinating "I have a handful of songs to sing...to fuck you over" being another indication that Bowie was frantically getting as much stuff onto tape while he could. An artist truly working against the clock.
But 'When I Met You' is my favourite. Again it sounds totally unhinged - Bowie's vocal is wracked and raw, the guitars sound rush recorded and even out of tune but this just exemplifies the 'demo' style recording process. The chorus is truly brilliant, Bowie appearing in separate ears with different timbers on his voice until all the vocals collide in one magnificent mess. Despite the song seemingly balancing on the edge of a precipice this is a love song pure and simple.
I love this raw and racked Bowie, almost lo-fi, certainly inspired. Brilliant work, right at the end. It might just be four tracks (including the already familiar 'Lazarus' but if you liked 'Blackstar' you need this too.
YOUR RECENTLY VIEWED ITEMS
- No Plan EP by David Bowie
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