David Bowie – I Can’t Give Everything Away (2016)
from the album “Blackstar”.
So, here’s a special little review, since one of my favourite artists of all time has now released a new album, and not just any album. A jazz album.
I was a little ambivalent about this, to say the least. I was afraid that this might go completely over my head, and be way too avant garde for me, because.. well, for one, Bowie can be extremely experimental when he chooses to and just basically does whatever he wants by now, and two, jazz isn’t really my cup of tea. I mean, I’ve tried Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane.. all the gigants. Nothing really stuck and nothing really made sense to me.
On the other hand though, this was the logical thing for Bowie to do.
I mean, he’s done everything except jazz by now. So he should do a jazz album. I can see why he would want to, anyway.
Or rather, it should maybe be labeled “jazz/electronic/rock/avant garde” to be more precise. If there’s even a way to label this Bowie record. It pushes boundaries in a way that’s unusual even by Bowie-standards.
Now, what I like is when a song, a lyric or an ambience in a song, strikes a chord with me. Like it will remind me or make me relate to a certain thing, a certain person, a certain moment in time, or a certain feeling. Something forgotten, that happened long ago, or something recent, or something I had inside of me, that I hadn’t really thought about.
The end of song of “Blackstar” does just this, but is incidentally also lyrically the most straight forward song on the album.
A friend of mine is going through an ordeal with himself at the moment.
He’s given his all, both professionally and personally, for a long, long time and he finally just reached rock bottom, the lowest point of lowest points, where you just simply cannot give any more, to anyone. You’re drained, and you’re empty. There’s nothing left.
I warned him for months that this would happen. That there comes a time when you’ve given it everything and you just can’t give anymore, and you have to shift, re-focus and find yourself again.
This song reminded me of my friend, his situation and a situation I have been in myself, more than once.
“Seeing more and feeling less
Saying no but meaning yes
This is all I ever meant
That’s the message that I sent
I can’t give everything
I can’t give everything
I guess you can also view this from the artists’ personal perspective. It’s Bowies explanation for his long absence from the music world, and why he to this day still refuses to give any interview or perform – he’s already given it his all. He can’t give everything away, not anymore.