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Lazarus 0 0%
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Old 03-07-2017, 05:29 AM   #1
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Mini David Bowie Survivor: ★ FINAL

By one vote, Bowie's final song, the utterly tremendous I Can't Give Everything Away, was eliminated.

I'm going to ask everyone to vote for their least favourite of the two songs remaining: the 10-minute theatre epic title track, ★, or the album's second single, Lazarus.

Whichever song is left with the least votes will be crowned the winner.
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Old 03-07-2017, 05:32 AM   #2
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★ for me.

My thoughts on Lazarus, taken from my year-end blog post:

Quote:
Prior to David Bowie’s death I thought “Lazarus” was a really good song. Great guitar and a good hook. In the wake of his death, everything I thought was typical Bowie esotericism – quirky, fatalist lyrics, a terrifying film clip – turned out to be a rearview signpost. “Look up here, I’m in heaven / I’ve got scars that can’t be seen”, begins the track, the second from his parting gift of an album called Blackstar. It’s as accurate a summation of terminal cancer as any that’s been eulogised in song; and yet in the days before his death we didn’t read deeply into it, wondering instead if it came from the mouth of a character, based on the biblical Lazarus, the latest in a long, long line Bowie has played. We were excited at the prospect of five, ten, perhaps more years of Bowie as an artist. That never came to be, which is sad, but we should count ourselves lucky that he left us with work as vital as anything he released in his previous five decades of work. Many singers lose their edge over time, but on “Lazarus” we hear Bowie in sensational form. In his first few lines he sounds resigned, alongside mournful horns and slow drumming. In the second verse he sounds a little fidgety, a little anxious, a little paranoid – “look up here man / I’m in danger”, “I’m so high it makes my brain whirl” – before asking rhetorically, “ain’t that just like me?” The song continues to swell, getting more restless, both the music and the vocals – the drums get faster, a stop-start guitar part wanders in, the horns moan their discontent as Bowie’s lines begin to blur together, bound by a feeling of trepidation – “This way or no way / you know I’ll be free / just like that bluebird / now ain’t that just like me?!” Bowie takes his leave from the track with about two minutes remaining, instead allowing the masterful horns, now running wild, to solo calamitously. But they too, fade away, leaving just gentle drumming, grounding bass and metallic guitar strikes to wind down the song, without doubt Bowie’s greatest since at least 2004, if not the 1990s.

A few months after Bowie’s death I saw a tribute show at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall. It left me and my good friend Stephen, with whom I have shared many a tear and glass of red wine since Bowie’s passing, cold. A run-through of his biggest hits, it sorely lacked atmosphere, personality and vivacity. The one artist who could be excused from criticism was Tim Rogers – he alone brought the swagger necessary to pay tribute. It was telling that the highlight of the show, by the length of the Swanston St tram corridor, was not any of Bowie’s tried-and-true hits, but Rogers sauntering his way through “Lazarus”. The conservative audience were indifferent to it, but Bowie might have smiled. It speaks volumes of the artist Bowie was that rebel rebel Rogers sought to pay dues not only to the packaged, 2-CD Essential Bowie, but the Bowie that the artist himself embodied for his entire career – adventurous, daring, challenging, restless, fucking brilliant.

“Everybody knows me now,” a forlorn Bowie sings in “Lazarus”. But did they? Who among us expected him to treat his own death as art, releasing a Labyrinthine album full of great new songs and then quietly, privately pass away? I certainly did not. But god am I thankful that he did. Always surprising, always leaving us wanting more. Ain’t that just like him?
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Old 03-07-2017, 10:29 AM   #3
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Lazarus is the clear victor here. There are certain songs or parts of songs that are what I imagine death would feel like - the coda to Radiohead's Nude, for example. Lazarus, and in particular its horn section, is another. It is a wonderfully evocative song.
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Old 03-07-2017, 11:31 AM   #4
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It's still vote for your LEAST favorite FYI.
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Old 03-07-2017, 01:20 PM   #5
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Yeah, I voted for Blackstar in the poll itself.
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Old 03-07-2017, 01:24 PM   #6
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both songs are great, but Lazarus is among his greatest songs. Every aspect of it is perfect, but my favorite part is the "oh I'll be free" section leading into the monstrous sax solo. The solo is up there with Moonage Daydream for solos on Bowie songs. The single edit that cuts it short is brutal, which is fitting since Bowie had a habit of using singles as an opportunity to defile his work. Bowie and the band are a single, glorious unit. It's such shame that they'll never make any more music together.

It's incredible that he had the Spiders from Mars, let alone the DAM trio (my pick for the best band of the 70s) and the McCaslin group. His ultimate genius was in finding great musicians that would not only realize his vision but that he would also bring the best out of. Like Miles Davis, he made them play beyond what they knew.
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