Sarah Larson at The New Yorker:
Like many of us who adored David Bowie, I’ve had his music in my head lately. In the past month, this has included a “Lazarus”-themed bunch of songs, including “Always Crashing in the Same Car,” “Life on Mars,” “All the Young Dudes,” and the ecstatic “Heroes”; “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” which I can’t stop listening to sometimes—needing to hear “Five Years” and be awed by it, and have it bop and shake into “Soul Love,” and then into “Moonage Daydream” (“I’m an alligator! I’m a mama papa coming for you!”) and then, good lord, into “Starman”; and, this weekend, songs from “Blackstar,” which just came out on Friday, Bowie’s sixty-ninth birthday, and which is so good, so interesting and vital and weird that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I went to “Noises Off,” I got a massage, I went to a couple of parties and did errands and got a drink with a friend, and I kept hearing Bowie in my head, the haunting and wonderful “I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar,” or the hilarious lines “Man, she punched me like a dude,” or “Where the fuck did Monday go?,” delivered in that elegant, amusingly stylish David Bowie way, and I kept thinking, My God, David Bowie, you’ve done it again. Doing all of my pleasant weekend things, I was on some level also looking forward to solitude, and music, and being reunited with these haunting songs that were taking over my consciousness.
For many months Bowie had been known, or rumored, to be ill. He had announced that he would not tour again, would not interview again. Previously, he’d been one of those wonderful magical geniuses resident in New York who, as Lou Reed long did, lived a normal life as a townsperson, delighting people by shopping at bookstores and walking down the street.