The last picture taken Of David Bowie by his wife Iman, on his birthday, January 8th 2016.
Bowie is dead.
1:08 a.m. January 11 2016.
That was the message. Telling me that the world that had David Bowie in it had ended. Of course, my first reaction was denial. How could David Bowie die? He had just released an album, as the world celebrated his birthday. He couldn’t just die. But I had to smile a little when I realized that he had planned it this way. Of course. David Bowie had pulled off one final act of performance art. He would never ‘just die’. He would orchestrate his passing just as he had orchestrated his life and his image, his work and his name.
In the silent age between Reality and The Next Day, rumors swirled of David Bowie’s imminent demise. Rumors of failing health. Rumors to explain the silence. I never once believed the rumors. I believed that David Bowie would never die in silence. I predicted that when the time came, it would be a time of inspiration. As someone so long fascinated by death, there was no possibility that David Bowie would ignore his own mortality. And he did not disappoint.
Needless to say, Blackstar is his most depressing album. My initial glib reaction – only two days ago – was that this is the David Bowie album for people whose favorite David Bowie song is Bring Me the Disco King. Now, of course, I understand why the tone is so bleak. Why the video shows Major Tom’s headless skeleton floating towards an eclipsed sun. Why, in the Lazarus video, Bowie is levitating in a hospital bed. Why his hair is so thin and grey. There’s a lot of meaning still to be parsed, but there’s no doubt that this record is the most important statement David Bowie has ever made. There is nothing more intensely personal than facing death. There is nothing more intimate. There is nothing braver than sharing that intimacy with the world. David Bowie has outdone himself.