Three ‘new’ tracks have been released by the late David Bowie, nestled amongst the cast recordings of the Lazarus play, based upon Walter Tevis’ The Man Who Fell to Earth. Below we bring you a review of each stunning number.
The first track, ‘No Plan’, is a gorgeous slice of jazz. At times sweet, at times sad, it sees Bowie prophesying (intentionally or unintentionally) his mortal demise, much like his last album Blackstar. ‘All of the things that are my life / My desires / My beliefs / My moods / Here is my place without a plan,’ Bowie sings in his gorgeous warble, and it’s striking how powerful his voice was so close to death.
This is the most emotive of the three songs, and it actually wouldn’t be out of place on his last album. The musical breakdown towards the end is evocative, helping it rightly earn a place amongst Bowie’s best ever offerings. Prepare to feel emotional.
Killing A Little Time
In fact, the second ‘new’ track seemingly references Bowie’s demise, too. ‘I’m falling, man / I’m choking, man / I’m fading, man,’ Bowie sings, drawing his voice smoothly over the chorus. He’s just killing a little time until his end comes.
Here in ‘Killing A Little Time’, it’s almost as though Bowie is angry at his death, whereas previous tracks have shown him seemingly accepting the inevitable. The chaotic, and somewhat disjointed, amalgamation of guitar, drums and sax produce an angry sound; that, coupled with Bowie’s raw voice is a force to be reckoned with.
‘This symphony / This rage in me / I’ve got a handful of songs to sing / To string your sole / To fuck you over / This furious reign,’ Bowie sings as he opens the track, and it’s a powerful assessment to make. He’s produced a last handful of songs to seemingly upset his fans because he’s angry, and rightfully so.
This is a new sound trajectory for Bowie, and it’s a great sorrow that we won’t ever be able to see him experimenting with this rage again.
When I Met You
The final track, ‘When I Met You’, could very well be a song dedicated to his widow: ‘You actually become the centre of my world / The seams of my life / The steams of daydream.’ Again, it’s emotional. Bowie’s vocal is somewhat stripped back, especially after the anger of ‘Killing A Little Time’. Think ‘Where Are We Now?’ off The Next Day. There’s a subdued essence over the verses.
The chorus is more disjointed, more… different. And difference is what we’ve come to associate with Bowie, after all. The music is disjointed, too. The guitar sounds out of key. But this adds to the charm of ‘When I Met You’.
This is a stunning final song, a worthy rival to ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’.