'Blackstar' is from new TV series The Last Panthers, and is beautiful Low-era lament
Andrew Trendell

09:18 6th October 2015

Happy Tuesday - and what a better start to a miserable day than with a brilliant new song from David Bowie, eh?

'Blackstar' was written as the theme for the upcoming new TV series The Black Panthers, and it's ace.

A cinematic and haunting lament, it harkens back to some of the most experimental and esoteric moments on Low, but with a shimmering modern production as the Bowie of today in full, statesman voice The Thin White Duke pines: "Only women kneel and smile, at the centre of it all - your eyes."

Check out 'Black Star' below

Johan Renck, director of The Last Panthers, commented: “I showed Mr. Bowie the two first episodes in the rough state they were at the time, and he liked what he saw very much. We discussed the various aspects of the show; naturally the plot line, but also the underlying currents of guilt and personality flaws.

"We talked about the dark heart of Europe. We talked about the biblical aspects of human nature. He asked if there was anything else to see, so I showed him the first concept board i had just made for the title sequence - images from the show laced with chimaeras and demons from the worlds of Bosch and Grunewald. That’s when he said go - it all fits. Then he played me his new song 'Blackstar'. 

The Last Panthers will premiere on Sky Atlantic at 9pm on 12 November. 

This is Bowie's first taster of new material since the bonus footage on his stunning 2013 comeback album, The Next Day - but Bowie's been a busy man penning music for a Spongebob Squarepants musical and Lazarus - a stage show of his own, based on the iconic film The Man Who Fell To Earth

He released the compilation box set Five Years last month. 

  • 20. 'Where Are We Now': Bowie's exquisite comeback track from 2013. Rather than desperately lean on past glories, he artfully references past sounds to weave a sultry and elegiac tapestry to clothe a man who is well aware of his age and place in the world. Romantic and gripping, you find your heart in the back of your throat by the time you reach the moving crooning crescendo of: "As long as there's fire, as long as there's me, as long as there's you"

  • 19. 'The Heart's Filthy Lesson': Bowie goes metal, and does it bloody well. Hunky Dory it ain't - but a searing and terrifying sneer at the filthy and fury of pre-Millennial fear and anxiety.

  • 18. 'Never Get Old': A criminally under-appreciated gem from 2003's Reality, it sounds like Ziggy Stardust evolving, still not giving a shit and feeling totally immortal.

  • 17. 'Fashion': A spiky genre-bending piece of genius where post-punk meets disco to make for an ultimately timeless classic. BEEP BEEP!

  • 16. 'Golden Years': Bowie in the mid to late 70s was one of the most creative and prolific periods of any artists of the 20th Century, and this glorious bubble of pop was nearing the pinnacle as his plastic soul entered a space-age sense of futurism.

  • 15. 'DJ': The lesser-appreciated of the Berlin Trilogy, Lodger is the ultimate voyage of weirdness - with excellent pop songs hidden within warped, experimental sounds. This is the sound of Bowie's warped mind coming to terms with hedonism in the world' metropolises and turning it into something twisted but danceable.

  • 14. 'I'm Afraid Of Americans': Bowie + Nine Inch Nails = terrifying

  • 13. 'TVC15': A love letter to the future, from 1976.

  • 12. 'The Jean Genie': All of Ziggy's honky-tonk swagger that makes up for a whole chapter of rock history. It's also the best song The Rolling Stones never wrote.

  • 11. 'Drive-In Saturday': This? Oh just a 1950s-influenced imagining of the post-apocalyptic year 2033 where we've all forgotten how to reproduce and need to watch old porn films to see how it's done. That's probably the most David Bowie sentence you'll ever read.

  • 10. 'Rebel Rebel': Arguably the greatest guitar riff of all time, and the sound of Bowie at his most filthy and infectious. All together now: "HOT TRAMP - I LOVE YOU SO"

  • 9. 'The Stars (Are Out Tonight)': Shimmering in its majesty, this is the single that is far more representative of The Next Day as a whole. While ‘Where Are We Now’ was a stately and pensive moment of introvert reflection, 'The Stars (Are Out Tonight) is a fierce but vibrant classic Bowie rocker in the vein of material from the brilliant Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps).

  • 8. 'Let's Dance': The moment Bowie decided to turn from a rock legend into a stadium-filling pop phenomenon, this Nile Rodgers-aided track is a dancefloor staple and one of the most iconic tracks that either artist would ever write. We challenge you not to lose your mind when you hear that opening 'aaaaah-aaaaaah'.

  • 7. 'Ashes To Ashes': That bassline, that frozen vocal, that synth sound that sounds like a chandelier crashing to the ground. Not only a fine No.1, but a portrait of men becoming junkies and beautiful goodbye to Major Tom and the cloud of shame that dogged Bowie as he left the 1970s.

  • 6. 'Sound And Vision': Crystal clear perfection.

  • 5. 'Changes': A song so universal it's practically written in the stars, and the manifesto for Bowie's chameleon flow through life.

  • 4. 'Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Remix by James Murphy for the DFA)': Clocking in at 10 minutes and 25 seconds, the LCD Soundsystem man's reimagining of The Next Day highlight can only be described as 'epic'. Murphy adds his trademark sense of space and danceability and even incorporates the keyboard line from 'Ashes To Ashes'. It ranks so highly not only due to its excellence, but due to the fact that it proves Bowie can find power and relevance in any age, with any sound.

  • 3. 'Fame': Any track written between Bowie, Carlos Alomar and John Lennon was going to be the stuff of legend, but none could have predicted the diamond-cut precision of this - an acidic tirade against the world of celebrity, hidden in a glorious bubble of pop. Also a sad foreboding of the darkness that would dog Lennon and Bowie.

  • 2. 'Five Years': A song that perfectly encapsulates the chaos and fear of the world being told the end is nigh, but delivered with a beauty and vulnerability. If we were told of Armageddon, we'd put this song on straight away.

  • 1. "Heroes": Not only the greatest Bowie single, but a strong contender for best single of all time. Sonically flawless, and a gut-wrenching message of triumph over adversity, love over war, the destruction of division, and how we can all be extraordinary in our own world - if only for one day.

More about:

Photo: Press