David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ Will ‘Avoid Rock ‘n’ Roll’
Just a few minutes with the title track (and accompanying short film) from David Bowie's upcoming Blackstar album is enough to tell you he's entered another experimental phase with this LP — an impression confirmed by producer Tony Visconti in a new interview with Rolling Stone.
Rather than a straight-ahead rock aesthetic, explained Visconti, he and Bowie were after a looser, more sprawling sound — one partly inspired by hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar, whose 2015 effort To Pimp a Butterfly earned rave reviews for its confident incorporation of an eclectic array of influences that run the gamut from classic funk to more modern instrumentation.
"We were listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar," Visconti explained. "We wound up with nothing like that, but we loved the fact Kendrick was so open-minded and he didn't do a straight-up hip-hop record. He threw everything on there, and that's exactly what we wanted to do. The goal, in many, many ways, was to avoid rock 'n' roll."
Fans can presumably also expect Bowie to avoid interviews and live performances after the Jan. 8 arrival of the album, whose title is being officially stylized as ★. Saying "it will be a total surprise" to him if Bowie ever performs live again, Visconti predicted that the new record will spawn a wave of "imitation albums" — and suggested that the closing track, "I Can't Give Everything Away," serves as a sort of manifesto for this stage of Bowie's career.
"I don't know what the song is referring to," he admitted. "But what he gives away is what he writes about. I think a lot of writers feel like, 'If you want to know about me, just study my lyrics.' That's why he doesn't give interviews. He's has revealed plenty in past interviews, but I think his life now is about his art. It's totally about what he's doing now."
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