Talk:Blackstar (album)

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Number of studio albums[edit]

Blackstar is considered by some to be Bowie's '25th studio album'. The Buddha of Suburbia should be considered a 'studio' album, as the music on the album bears virtually no relationship to the soundtrack used for the TV mini-series of the same name. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:31, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

The Guardian says 25 [1] and we follow the reliable sources. If you have other reliable sources which count differently, then please provide them and we can figure out how to best represent major differing opinions. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 20:55, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
Surely Bowie's own count [2] should be taken into account, right? Music press can be pretty petty at times, arbitrarily missing details (such as hailing albums as debuts in spite of them being only the artist's major studio debut or classifying albums as brand new despite the fact that they're merely represses of formerly independent releases), so their word should be taken with an editorial pinch of salt. (talk) 20:56, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
As this kind of numbering is highly subjective it should be avoided here. Citing allegedly reliable sources is even more nonsense in this regard. Just take your fingers and count.Tel33 (talk) 08:12, 20 December 2015 (UTC)


Is Facebook REALLY a good source for anything? I mean I know the tracklisting is official since it's Bowie's official page that posted it, but it just seems against Wikipedia's policy to use a social media site as a reliable source... Mrmoustache14 (talk) 21:23, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

I think in this case it's fine, as it's Bowie's own FB page (compare with his own website, for example). It would be different if we were citing someone else's FB page! WP:FACEBOOK states - "As a reliable source? Sometimes (OK)." With it going on to say "The official page of a subject may be used as a self-published, primary source, but only if it can be authenticated as belonging to the subject." Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 10:37, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
Okay that sounds good then, but may I suggest that we only temporarily use it? Like once the album actually comes out we should replace it with something more reliable. Mrmoustache14 (talk) 20:35, 22 November 2015 (UTC)


Maybe there should be a mention of the emotionally interpreted track Lazarus? For example on NME [1] (talk) 06:01, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Agree, there must be a way to cite this or mention this in a referenced way. I think it's a notable thing to mention that reviewers and the public did not know of his illness/death before its initial release period. (talk) 20:11, 12 January 2016 (UTC)


Billboard #1?[edit]

The source clearly says this was #1 and Bowie's first such. But, when I look the actual charts for this year, there is no entry for David Bowie. Why is that? (talk) 02:12, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

" (Charts will be refreshed one day later than usual this week, due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 18.)" TJRC (talk) 21:03, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
So it is not yet on the list, but will be #1 in next list? 2001:999:20:8B91:D88E:1A1:B461:4E0 (talk) 02:10, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
It's already #!, but won't be shown as such until tomorrow due to the Holiday. Simple as that. Mrmoustache14 (talk) 03:00, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

The article you linked has this: The new Jan. 30, 2016-dated chart (where Bowie debuts at No. 1)
"Jan. 30, 2016-dated chart"? Why is that? (talk) 14:24, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

That's the issue date of the magazine in which the chart will be published. Widr (talk) 15:32, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Avant garde jazz album - a misleading characterisation[edit]

Assertion that this is an "avant garde jazz album" is false and is not supported by the cited sources. Both sources are album reviews, neither describes the album as "avant garde jazz":

Source 1: Team Rock, Stephen Dalton, album review

He shoots, he scores, he falls wanking to the floor on this boldly experimental jazz odyssey.

Can lightning strike twice? Bowie’s 2013 comeback album The Next Day was as much a testament to brilliant marketing as musical skill, arriving from nowhere after a decade of silence, secrecy and sinister rumours. It topped the charts globally, earning the legendary rock recluse his first UK No.1 in 20 years, and helped make the David Bowie Is... exhibition a worldwide blockbuster. A sell-out tour without the Thin White Duke even having to leave his New York bunker? Genius.

Due for release on Bowie’s 69th birthday on January 8, Blackstar arrives with a little more notice and background information than The Next Day, but not much. This time, the beloved art-rock godfather cannot depend on the delighted surprise and (frankly) relief that he’s alive and kicking.

With its seven lengthy tracks, this album is leaner and more focused than its predecessor, but also more defiantly arty and less poppy. That said, Bowie’s vocal range and mastery is particularly striking.

Blackstar appears to be the score for Bowie’s hotly anticipated stage musical collaboration Lazarus, which opens off Broadway in December. The drama is based on his most celebrated big-screen outing, in Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth, but any narrative parallels are buried behind opaque lyrics.

The album was recorded with various New York-based jazz musicians, rather than Bowie’s regular roster of rock players, though long-time producer Tony Visconti returns, and James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem contributes percussion on two tracks.

Blackstar begins with its title track, a 10-minute mini-symphony of shifting movements and Middle Eastern melodies cloaked in jazzy electronica and muscular beats. Bowie delivers the ominous, quasi-Biblical lyric like an incantation. Then the music changes mood and a beautiful pop ballad emerges from the maelstrom, a lovely elegy about death and renewal, and fallen angels. A daunting musical monolith at first, this dense sonic tapestry reveals more and more treasures with each listen.

Hard-core fans will be disappointed that two Blackstar tracks have already been made public, albeit in alternate versions. The opaquely sketched murder ballad Sue (Or In A Season of Crime) was first released in 2014 in a skittery, brass-heavy, bebop-jazzy drum’n’bass arrangement. This update feels sharper, denser and heavier, with added funk-rock guitar squeals and percussive shudders. Crucially, Bowie’s achingly emotive vocal is terrific on both versions.

Dating from the same single package, ’Tis A Pity She Was A Whore was originally a propulsive, roaring, heavily electronic wall of sound. This new version features more organic instrumentation, with squawking saxophone and lush backing vocals that nudge it closer towards the lightly disguised R&B stompers that shaped much of Bowie’s early career. One of the less convincing tracks here is the six-minute title song to Lazarus, the musical, a fairly unremarkable two-chord churn that drags in its latter stages. Girl Loves Me is another slight affair but at least offers more punch, blending tensile art-funk with electronica and drum’n’bass flourishes.

For all its arty aura, Lazarus climaxes with two rousingly emotional power ballads that remind us Bowie can still turn on that windswept romantic crooner voice. All plaintive piano and wafting saxophone, Dollar Days is soft and soulful and steeped in regret. Lightly jazzy with a long sax fade-out, this could be an outtake from Young Americans.

But the climactic I Can’t Give Everything Away is better, six minutes of heart-swelling widescreen melodrama that builds into an Absolute Beginners-sized epic. Swept along by orchestral strings, a lonely harmonica and liquid guitar solos that recall Robert Fripp’s classic Bowie collaborations, this feels like the sweet reward for sitting through the more ear-bashing experimental tracks.

Much of Bowie’s output for the last 25 years paid lip service to his avant-garde leanings while mostly sticking within fairly straight indie-rock parameters. With Blackstar, he has gone deeper, making his most adventurous and uncompromising album since his classic run of Brian Eno collaborations. Even more than The Next Day, these seven tracks suggest the sounds inside his head are in sync with his long-time soul brother Scott Walker, though thankfully he remains on warmer terms with old-fashioned melody and emotion.

It seems lightning can strike more than twice, because Bowie’s autumnal comeback keeps getting richer and stranger. Old boys keep swinging.

Source 2: Q Magazine, Tom Doyle, album review (pay walled)

Now that we’re back together, us and

Bowie, after all those years apart, will the thrill remain? Once the dust had settled after his surprise return in 2013 following a decade missing-in-action, The Next Day still proved itself to be a great album, brimful of enduring songs, including some – Valentine’s Day, Where Are We Now?, You Feel So Lonely You Could Die – that were up there with his very best. But still, there was a sense that it was a sonic continuation of where he’d left off in 2003 with Reality and its 2002 predecessor, Heathen. Now, with the brilliant and often disorientating ★, (originally announced as being titled “Blackstar”) we’ve landed somewhere else entirely. The fact that this time around Bowie clearly desired to venture entirely out there was flagged up last year by the single release of Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime), a towering avant-jazz/drum’n’bass creation with a soaring vocal in which the singer seemed to cast himself as a jealousywracked murderer. That track reappears here, in a tougher reworking with aggressive distorted guitar, which makes it utterly unnerving. More fascinating still was the insight into his working practices given with the original’s B-side, ’Tis A Pity She Was A Whore, a home demo recorded alone by Bowie, featuring a pummelling industrial beat topped with arrhythmic sound effects. Re-recorded, it is fully realised now with billowing clouds of sax provided by New York jazz musician Donny McCaslin, who features throughout. In fact, ★ draws a fresh line in the sand in terms of personnel, with no one involved here – apart from McCaslin,Love Is Lost remixer James Murphy (percussion on two tracks) and producer Tony Visconti – ever having appeared before on a Bowie record. Breaking up the band and boldly moving on has always been a Bowie trait. But having for years tried to reconnect with the masterful art-rock of his ’70s Berlin trilogy, here he has finally done it, while pushing the envelope even further by factoring in futureheaded jazz. The near 10-minute title track of ★, already released unedited as a single of sorts, spotlights Bowie’s experimental intent this time around, with its nod towards latter-day Scott Walker, its episodic, spectral movements and its metaphysical narrative. The supernatural theme continues in Lazarus, the only song lifted from Bowie’s current New York stage production of the same name, based on The Man Who Fell To Earth. Rolling on a mid-paced groove with Joy Division-referencing guitars and dreamy saxes, the pained, alienated protagonist hovers above us with the words, “Look up here, I’m in heaven/I’ve got scars that can’t be seen”, before tumbling to terra firma in a stirring chorus: “By the time I got to New York/I was living like a king.” Later, the heavy, strident beat of Girl Loves Me reveals lyrics employing Anthony Burgess’s invented nadsat lexicon from A Clockwork Orange – “malchick” (boy), “deng” (money) and fictitious drug “vellocet”. Bowie dementedly lists a week, day-by-day, filled with all of the above, before repeatedly crying, “Where the fuck did Monday go?” and crooning, “Hey, cheena” (woman). Dizzyingly, we’re back in the stranger parts of Lodger and “Heroes”. Bowie has always expertly blurred the line between biography and autobiography and in the last two songs that make up the seven-track ★, he does so again. Amid the gorgeous ballad Dollar Days, with its oblique echoes of Sweet Thing from Diamond Dogs, he seems to comment on his self-imposed exile from Britain – “If I never see the English evergreens I’m running to/It’s nothing to me, it’s nothing to see.” Similarly, to call showstopping closer I Can’t Give Everything Away his My Way is a bit of a stretch, but it’s a cryptic admission, delivered with the intense vibrato of his Wild Is The Wind voice, of his playful artistic decision to keep much of himself to himself and leave us picking through the clues. “Seeing more and feeling less,” sings this headgame-playing art-rock Sinatra, “Saying no but meaning yes/That is all I ever meant/That’s the message that I sent.” There are layers upon layers here which will go on revealing themselves, play after play. In essence, ★ can be seen as a fourth addition to the Berlin trilogy of albums. What stops it from being an instant classic is the lack of a killer single along the lines of “Heroes”, Boys Keep Swinging or Sound And Vision. At the same time, not least because of its experimental jazz figures, it stands alone, unique in his catalogue. At 41 minutes, ★ is a more concise statement than The Next Day and a far, far more intriguing one, enticing you to follow Bowie further down this freshlyrediscovered, individualistic path where sonic surprises lurk around every corner – a journey that, at times, is not for the faint of heart. And so, absolutely, the thrill remains and has now been intensified. We eagerly await – if it ever arrives – the next message beamed to us from our

mysteriously remote and hidden star.

The Wall Street Journal review makes makes no such claim either. It features jazz session musicians, there are jazz elements, but this does not equate with it being an "avant garde jazz" album, that's just waffle. Semitransgenic talk. 19:29, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

"Experimental jazz" = "Avant-garde jazz". It's only listed as "avant-garde jazz" since that's what the article is named and since "experimental" is just another way of saying "avant-garde", in this case. Aria1561 (talk) 19:47, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
a tag line, written by single record reviewer, one that describes the record as experimental jazz, if not sufficient. It's the opinion of a single commentator, WP:POV issues are evident here. Content is misleading and improperly sourced. Semitransgenic talk. 19:57, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't see anything wrong with a tag line. If anything, it's a summary of the album. The other reviewer then labels the record as experimental jazz. I see no issues. I've also found two other professional reviews that call the album "experimental jazz": [3], [4] (the latter link also calls the album "art rock")Aria1561 (talk) 20:05, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Dalton is a single commentator. Doyle does not define it as an "experimental jazz" record, this is factually incorrect. He suggests various things, such as Bowie trying to "reconnect with the masterful art-rock of his ’70s Berlin factoring in futureheaded jazz," also calls Bowie an "art-rock Sinatra," and mentions use of "experimental jazz figures" that's about it. On the whole, the various sources see this as a jazz tinged/influenced album by an "art rock" musician, this is a more accurate characterisation. Semitransgenic talk. 20:30, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Digital Spy, Lewis Corner (who?): "aside from the lauded experimental jazz, it's Bowie's lyrics."
CBC Music, Jesse Kinos-Goodin, "Rock" review: "an experimental free jazz/art-rock album."
first source doesn't describe the album, it points to musical aspects found on the album, the second doesn't know what to call it. Semitransgenic talk. 20:49, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Why would it matter if the review is done by a single commentator? The sources for "art rock" and "experimental rock" are similar but I don't see you saying anything about them. Also, aren't most of the reviews used as sources on Wikipedia done by one person? The links I provided in my last message can easily be used as sources for "experimental jazz", then. Aria1561 (talk) 20:35, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
it matters because of WP:POV, just because one guy says something, it does not follow that it should dictate how we define things, at the very least we attribute the view to the source. If notable jazz commentators were sources for this assertion, no argument, but right now I don't see enough here to claim this is an "avant garde jazz" album. "art rock" or "experimental rock" are not problematic here. Semitransgenic talk. 20:49, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Okay, either you clearly have no idea what you're talking about or you haven't seen enough album-related articles. Many articles (including FAs and GAs) feature genres sourced by reviews done by one person.
Also, you missed the obvious within the first review. "aside from the lauded experimental jazz, it's Bowie's lyrics on Blackstar which makes it his perfect departing gift for us Earthlings". And when you say "the second doesn't know what to call it", the reviewer is labeling it as two different genres, experimental jazz and art rock. Yes, there are reviews like this. If you have a problem with the way genres are sourced on this site, take it up with the talk page for WP:POV, not here. Aria1561 (talk) 21:04, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
consensus building works on a case by case basis, do you think we should be less rigorous in the music subject space relative to other areas. Deferring to the view of a single commentator and then coat-racking cites that do not support the statement is bad editing, plain and simple. This issue has more to do with you believing this is an "experimental jazz" record than actually creating accurate content (representing a range of reliably sourced views). Semitransgenic talk. 23:23, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Suggestion: why not add a tag for "Jazz-rock" since it'd be accurate and would satisfy categorizing the jazz elements. Mrmoustache14 (talk) 20:53, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

I'm alright with doing this. For now, I've restored "experimental jazz" and have added new sources for it. If we can find a way to list "jazz-rock" while having the prose of the Composition section make sense, that'd be great. Aria1561 (talk) 21:04, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
reverting, again, misleading, it's not an "experimental jazz" album. I've clearly demonstrated above what your sources say and only one of them categorically refers to the entire album as "experimental jazz." Semitransgenic talk. 21:28, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
This article keeps calling it "Jazz" maybe we can cite it and add just "jazz" to the genre listing. It's reputable. Plus if we just list jazz as the tertiary genre, it'll be god enough, as long as "art rock" is listed first. Mrmoustache14 (talk) 22:27, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
I've tweaked the Composition section enough so that all of us could agree on the genres. If you want, I can change "jazz" to "jazz-rock" since "art rock" and "experimental rock" precede it. Aria1561 (talk) 23:07, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Keep it how it is. It's perfect now in my opinion. Mrmoustache14 (talk) 23:27, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Too many song articles?[edit]

I know they charted, but do "Girl Loves Me", "Dollar Days", and "I Can't Give Everything Away" need articles? Especially since they're all barely a paragraph. Remember that a WP:Music suggestion is that not all songs are worthy of articles, and that it's better to only make them for throughly notable songs that can be expanded into articles that hold good coverage. Honestly, so far I only think the first 4 tracks on Blackstar really meet thing qualification, so I may try nominate the other 3 for deletion if they don't expand upon the upcoming month. Especially since most, if not all of the cited articles on the 3 articles are just charting websites. Further discussion would be useful. Mrmoustache14 (talk) 22:15, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

I'll try to expand the articles with more information soon. Hopefully I'll find enough to content to make the articles start-class, at least. Aria1561 (talk) 22:59, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Fair enough, like I said Im going to wait an entire month before I even attempt to have them deleted, so you have plenty of time to prove me wrong by making the aritcles at least start class and I hope you do! I just can't stand stubs. Mrmoustache14 (talk) 23:07, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Star field[edit]

You open up the CD packaging and you see a photograph of a star field. Hubble image? Photographic plate? Pastiche? Has anyone tracked down its provenance? kencf0618 (talk) 03:16, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

It's been a year, and the provenance of this image has not been established. kencf0618 (talk) 01:31, 26 February 2017 (UTC)


It describes Bowie's work allright, but the term is established and more often used in another context. Bob Dylan is a singer-songwriter. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:37, 6 May 2016 (UTC)

Replaced with "musician" which I think is more suitable here. Widr (talk) 00:03, 8 May 2016 (UTC)

Title is ★ per Bowie's own site[edit]

The album's title is in fact ★: see Likewise, the title track is called ★. I've changed accordingly throughout (diff), hopefully catching all the instances, but may have overlooked something.

Bowie's site is unequivocal:

★ (pronounced “Blackstar”) is David Bowie’s 28th studio album and his first since stunning the world in 2013 with the critically acclaimed The Next Day. The release date for ★ coincides with David’s birthday. The album’s title track is the first single, and is accompanied by a short film visual directed by the acclaimed Johan Renck. Music from the ★ single has been featured in the opening title credits and trailers for the new TV series The Last Panthers.

(See also Love Symbol Album). --Middle 8 (tc | privacyCOI) 07:29, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Note: also fixed song article; discussion. --Middle 8 (tc | privacyCOI) 07:50, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
That's great. Now if/when we get a WP:CONSENSUS that conforms with our own style guides, then we can change it. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 07:53, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Per MOS:TM, we should not be referring to the album as "★" even if that is its name. It's fine to note this in the lede that ★ is the actual title, but the article body should exclusively be referring to the album as Blackstar. See also: WP:COMMONNAME. Fezmar9 (talk) 15:10, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Good, in the lede and infobox only, then. Thanks for finding the relevant guidelines. --Middle 8 (tc | privacyCOI) 09:46, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Obviously, cf. page history, there's no consensus yet for any one way to handle the title. Can we at least agree to respect both the Bowie RS and MOS:TM? If so, there are lots of options. Here is a way similar to Prince's Love Symbol Album. It's referred to as Blackstar except in the infobox and Lede 1st sentence:

Blackstar [1], or Blackstar, is the twenty-sixth and final studio album by English musician David Bowie.


  1. ^ ★ Blackstar - CD, David Bowie & Artist Arena, retrieved 26 May 2016, ★ (pronounced “Blackstar”) is David Bowie’s 28th studio album and his first since stunning the world in 2013 with the critically acclaimed The Next Day. The release date for ★ coincides with David’s birthday.

...Thoughts? --Middle 8 (tc | privacyCOI) 10:25, 26 May 2016 (UTC) format 01:45, 26 June 2016 (UTC)

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Progressive Rock?[edit]

I think it should be listed as one of the main genres. Take for example popmatters or teamrock as sources. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:19, 3 December 2017 (UTC)