Many were excited for David Bowie's newest album "Blackstar" to be released, but little did they know, it would be the "Changes" singer's final album before his death. "Blackstar" dealt with the themes of death and Bowie wrote the record knowing with his health that it would be his last.
Bowie's friend and producer Tony Visconti, told the New York Daily News that he knew "Blackstar" would be the singer's last album.
"He made Blackstar for us — his parting gift,” Visconti. "I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it."
"Blackstar" was released on Friday, Jan. 8, which also happened to be Bowie's 69th birthday. The album was one of the most anticipated releases of 2016, and his first studio album since 2013's, "The Next Day."
The record received mostly positive reviews by many publications. Entertainment Weekly gave the album an "A-" and said the listener should "surrender" themselves to the sound of the record, which is "the sound of an artist who is older and almost definitely wiser but still fantastically, singularly himself."
Billboard also had high praise for the record, giving it four out of five stars and described it as an album about "death and doom" just a few days before Bowie's death. The site said the opening track, "Blackstar," was about an execution, while "Lazarus" was a song told from the point-of-view of a ghost. Rolling Stone also referred to the album as "one of the most aggressively experimental records the singer has ever made."
The albums dark content, however, wasn't unfamiliar territory for the singer. Many of Bowie's songs told stories of violence and impending doom, like his hit songs "Space Oddity" and "Heroes."
Going into "Blackstar," Bowie's goal was to make an album that avoided rock and roll, Visconti told CNN. The "Heroes" singer drew inspiration from an artist that would surprise many, rapper Kendrick Lamar.
"We wound up with nothing like that, but we loved the fact Kendrick was so open-minded and he didn't do a straight-up hip-hop record. He threw everything on there, and that's exactly what we wanted to do," Visconti said.
Bowie hasn't performed live since 2006 and also has not taken part in an interview in over a decade. In a way, he would only speak publicly through his music.
"But what he gives away is what he writes about. I think a lot of writers feel like, 'If you want to know about me, just study my lyrics.' That's why he doesn't give interviews," Visconti said. "He's has revealed plenty in past interviews, but I think his life now is about his art. It's totally about what he's doing now."
In 1996, Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the U.S., Bowie had five Platinum and seven Gold album certifications throughout his career. "Blackstar" could eventually add another number to this list.