This past Sunday, the world lost one of its most prolific, eccentric, and brilliant minds when David Bowie passed away two days after his 69th birthday.
According to his official Facebook page, the multitalented artist died peacefully while surrounded by his loved ones after an 18-month battle with liver cancer. But in true David Bowie style, the wonderfully strange man didn't leave us without something to mull over.
Just a few days prior to his passing, the artist released his newest album ★ (Blackstar), as well as the music video for his song "Lazarus." Blackstar was recorded in secret last year and was largely met with positive reviews after its release. However, many critics agreed that, even given Bowie's penchant for doom and dark undertones, this latest album was particularly grim.
Now grappling with a greater understanding of the album's inspiration, the world has been interpreting and internalizing Bowie's final album and its contents, specifically the video for "Lazarus."
The haunting music video was already a point of interest for David Bowie's fans, but the footage and lyrics gained whole new meaning come Monday morning.
The title itself refers to Lazarus of Bethany, or Saint Lazarus. Lazarus was a biblical figure resurrected by Jesus four days after his death, and he is largely used as an allusion to restoration of life. The lyrics are paired with Bowie's writhing body and paint a scene in which his character is finally called up to heaven.
Look up here, I’m in heaven. I’ve got scars that can’t be seen. I've got drama, can’t be stolen. Everybody knows me now.
The video closes with Bowie frantically scribbling into a notebook, tormented by his busy mind, and singing:
Oh I’ll be free. Just like that bluebird. Oh I’ll be free. Ain’t that just like me.
Seemingly satisfied with his work at long last, he raises his arms to the heavens from his bedridden position. David Bowie's swan song ends as he shakily retreats into a dark armoire. What appeared to be confusing and even disjointed prior to his death, is clearly calculated and poignant in its wake.
Producer Tony Visconti, who had collaborated with Bowie from his 1969 album Space Oddity to this year's Blackstar, wrote the following statement on his Facebook on Monday:
Blackstar may have been his last gift to the world, but his entire body of work will make Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke, and all forms and personas of David Bowie truly immortal.