I don’t want this to be morbid or death obsessed or “wrong”. Ever since David Bowie died and just two days prior, he left us, the world with an amazing goodbye album; I’ve been thinking about why and how. Also, honestly, how not many artists get this chance.
He knew he was dying. He knew that it would probably be his last album. Although I’ve since read that he wanted to record one more. I’m just thinking out loud here but maybe once the release date was closing in I think he had more to say/share. I’ve always liked Bowie. I really had no idea his death would affect me so much. Man, when Peter Gabriel dies I’m in trouble. And don’t even mention Westerberg.
So I started thinking about other “last goodbyes” via an album or song. And yes the title is from the Jeff Buckley tune.
The first three ideas came to me almost immediately. Queen, Johnny Cash and Warren Zevon. That, of course, got me thinking (dangerous thing, thinking). George Harrison knew. Didn’t the guitarist for Wide Spread Panic know? Then I started looking further into my collection and memory. I want to explore Joy Division, Nirvana, Elliott Smith maybe? Elvis? I’m sure there are more. I am sure you’ll tell me or I find them as I’m researching. I hope you don’t mind this idea. Either way I’m writing it. You can read it or not.
7 songs. 41 minutes.
Bold. Beautiful. Not a pop album. Haunting. Challenging.
The first song. The single. Blackstar. Comes in at just under the 10-minute mark. The original version was more than 11 minutes long, according to Tony Visconti. He cut it to 9:58 after learning iTunes won’t post singles that go over 10 minutes (that’s the rumor). Visconti told Rolling Stone “David was adamant it be the single and he didn’t want both an album version and a single version, since that gets confusing.” It was also two songs smashed together. It’s also a rollercoaster of song. It has whispers of Pink Floyd.
After my first full listen; I thought song 2 was going to be my “Next” song. I loved (still love) the “intro”, the breathe. I couldn’t stop listening to the album and found the last song. Near perfect. That was to be my “Next” song. “Girl Loves Me” is/was in the running too. I have a “me rule” for NEXT. I rarely play more than one song off an album. So when I listen to an album I have to really mean it. Does that make sense?
Visconti also revealed to The Sun: “We actually discussed that we were going to get a little bit of a Mick Ronson (Bowie’s Spiders From Mars guitarist) sound on the end of that track and we did.”
I believe there is a reason “I Can’t Give Everything Away” was last. It was his true goodbye. There was a hint of the past “That Ronson sound”. There is more than a hint of the future. The lyrics have a duality. They can (and should be) read in so many ways. An artists touch. Again hints. Truths. Everything is in there. Near perfect? I dare say perfect. Damn…he’s on his deathbed and sounds glorious. And he is 69.
It’s a song I’ll be listening to forever.
NEXT? I’m going to explore Queen. Or Cash. Or Zevon. Probably Cash.