Listen to Two of David Bowie's Final Studio Recordings

Listen to Two of David Bowie's Final Studio Recordings

They will appear alongside a third track on the "Lazarus Cast Album" this Friday.

They will appear alongside a third track on the "Lazarus Cast Album" this Friday.

Text: Mariana Fernandez

Rumors that Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, is not the artist’s final body of work can finally be confirmed with the airing of two (of three) tracks earlier today. Recorded with Donny McCaslin and his quartet, the musicians behind Blackstar, the three final tracks, “No Plan,” “Killing a Little Time,” and “When I Met You” will be released this Friday, October 21, as part of the album of songs from his off-broadway musical, Lazarus.

Bowie conceived and wrote Lazarus with Irish playwright Enda Walsh based on his 1976 film, The Man Who Fell to Earth. It narrates the story of Thomas Jerome Newton, the stranded spaceman trying to return home. The play, hauntingly autobiographical, was written while Bowie fought his secret, and ultimately deadly, battle with cancer.

The collection of three songs were written to fill narrative gaps in the musical and can also be said to reflect the artist’s state of mind as he neared the last days of his life. They consist of the last work David Bowie wrote, recorded, and produced before his tragic death on January 10.

“When I Met You,” which comes at the end of the play, was aired this morning on BBC Radio 6 Music, listen here at the 51:00 mark. Through strained vocals, an off-beat acoustic guitar, and a rising and falling bass, Bowie gives us a tribute to love in the face of insanity and misery. “I was the walking dead/ I was kicked in the head/ I was too insane/ Could not trust the game/ Before I met you,” he sings with rising impetus. Whether dedicated to Iman, Newton’s love interest in the musical, or, more likely, both, it offers solace in companionship through fractured, broken vocals that seamlessly mirror the song’s lyrics.

“No Plan,” the more haunting track of the two, was aired a few hours later on BBC’s Radio 2 show (listen here at the 46:00 mark). Widely different from “When I Met You,” with its cathartic '60s jingle, “No Plan” is a jazz ballad, both profoundly melancholic and uplifting. “All the things that are my life, My moods, My beliefs, My designs” seems impossibly autobiographical, an artist’s last effort to make sense of his timeless creations. The lyrics “Here I am nowhere now? No plan?” are the questions not of an alien on a strange planet, but of a man facing an untimely death.

The third song, “Killing a Little Time,” will be released alongside the other two as an extra disc on the Lazarus Cast Album on October 21. Lazarus is shortly set to transfer to London’s Kings Cross Theatre, where it will run from October 25 to January 2017 of next year.

Credits: David Bowie by Mario Testino

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