David Bowie Was Saying Goodbye All Along

Bowie released Blackstar two days before he died.

David Bowie, a superhuman cultural icon and musical innovator, died on Sunday (Jan. 10). Two days before that, on his 69th birthday, he released his final studio album (and 27th overall), Blackstar, which features a song called “Lazarus,” an allusion to the New Testament figure whom Jesus raises from the dead after four days.

The “Lazarus” music video, which premiered on Jan. 8, opens with a bedridden, blindfolded Bowie singing, “Look up here, I’m in heaven/ I’ve got scars that can’t be seen.” Before we go any further, it’s important to recognize the temptation to read these words literally, written from the hand of a dying Bowie as he marched slowly to his quiet demise from cancer. But as an artist, we owe him the possibility that he was using metaphor. “Lazarus” was also included in an off-Broadway show of the same name.

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