We begin with the title track and at just under ten minutes in length, its a remarkably indulgent introduction to the new album, but as we soon discover, this isn't just an album, it's a parting gift if you will from an artist who knows his time is coming and wants to encapsulate the very realisation of imminent departure, recording his thoughts and ponderings in song. "Blackstar" as an ideology itself is a metaphor for a death, a diminishing of light from a dying star, representing Bowie's life and career...he knows he's fading, it's simply a matter of time. At the same time, lyrically it's dotted with subtle hints, none of his fans knew he was dying, but lines like "Take your passport and shoes (I'm not a popstar) and your sedatives, boo (I'm a blackstar)" vaguely indicate that he's preparing for a final journey, and really, it's an intricately deep track.
The lead single; "Lazarus", too has huge implications regarding what Bowie is preparing us for. Lyrically, again, he's sending the listener a message, singing "Look up here I'm in heaven, I've got scars that can't be seen". Knowing full well he was dying he toys with the listener here and it's made all the more evident with the music video. Blindfolded with buttons over his eyes, as if to signify he can't see a future, for there isn't one, just darkness...filled with lamentation as he lays in what could easily be his death bed...occasionally scribbling in a little book, potentially his dying thoughts and wishes, and its as though he's fully come to terms with his situation. The tranquil yet haunting "I Can't Give Everything Away" follows a similar pattern here with it's message, as if to say he WANTS to let you know but, he knows he has one last task in completing this record and in a way he's apologising for his art. It's sad but, also simultaniously beautiful. And while here he's sorry, he's also expressing his sincerest gratitude to his fans on "Dollar Days"...he wants to be able to keep going but he knows he can't, but he's eternally grateful for all of the support he's recieved over a five decade career and you can hear that, really it's humbling.
Under normal circumstances, an artist releasing a record then passing away would be seen as tragically ironic, that they never got to see the fruits of their labour...but here...there's just something more. It's almost as if Bowie perfectly choreographed this entire thing and it really was his parting gift to the world. He hid his condition from the media, nobody knew and his death was such a shock, nobody assumed he had in fact told us all through music just days prior. Inspired by his own death, he left behind a work of art only he could have masterminded. Like the blackstar, the light faded on Bowie's life...but his legacy will shine on forever.