Brow Beat

David Bowie’s New Album, Blackstar, May Be His Strangest Work Yet

David Bowie during a press conference at the 36th Cannes Film Festival in 1983.

Photo by RALPH GATTI/AFP/Getty Images

Two years ago, David Bowie cut short his supposed retirement and released The Next Day, his first album in 10 years and a wondrous return to the angular, lock-groove rock that characterized his ’70s output. The Starman’s kept a low profile since then, but the Times of London reports that his 25th record, Blackstar, is due in January.  

That’s good news in itself, but even more compelling is just how out-there Blackstar seems, even for Bowie. A seven-song LP recorded with local jazz musicians in New York’s Magic Shop studio, the Times describes it as “an album of long, jazzy jams mixed with the kind of driving beat pioneered by Seventies German bands Can and Kraftwerk.” Later in the story, a “Bowie insider” calls it “completely bonkers.” There is also a mention of “Gregorian chants.”

There’s no confirmation from Bowie’s camp, but it sounds like the artist is cooking up quite the treat, and given Kraftwerk’s influence on Bowie’s famed Berlin trilogy it’s hard to see Blackstar disappointing. The album will be released on Jan. 8, Bowie’s 69th birthday; until then, you can get a taste of its title track by watching the opening credits of The Last Panthers: