I don’t want to write about the death of a man … that would be too shortsighted, and frankly I can’t think of it anymore today. The thing I want to focus on is the love he had for music, and the special place he held in his heart for his fans. It becomes more obvious to us only after he’s gone, when we have more of a moment to reflect on his last album, Blackstar, which came out only days before his death, on the singer’s birthday.
I read in an article that Tony Visconti, the producer of Blackstar, revealed that he knew of Bowie’s cancer. Apparently it was the catalyst for his swan song to begin with. “He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift,” Visconti posted on Facebook. “His death was no different from his life – a work of art.”
I’ve been listening to the album all day, and the more I listen to the sorrowful notes that break through on songs like Blackstar and Lazarus, the more I see what it was he was doing. He wasn’t just leaving us with yet another magnificent album – arguably his best in years, as if to distract us. The album is in part a celebration of his career, with little pieces of his many alter egos sprinkled into the mix. But mostly, David Bowie recorded an album that would comfort his fans.
It wasn’t enough for him to carry on with life, fighting an endless battle with cancer, but he had to hold us all in his metaphorical arms and stroke our hair as he slipped away from us. It’s right there in the lyrics of Lazarus, his fight with death and acceptance of its inevitability. And in it is his final message to us all … that he will be okay, and so will we.