William Bain deliver’s The Mancunion’s verdict on the deceased icon’s final recordings: a fond farewell to an exceptional career
Released 8th January via Columbia/Sony
Released on what would have been David Bowie’s 70th Birthday, the No Plan EP consists of what are believed to be the last songs recorded by the music icon before his death in January last year. Inducting his last works to the extensive Bowie collection, the EP is a fitting addition to the emotional nature and circumstances of Bowie’s last studio album Blackstar.
The No Plan EP consists of four tracks, a trio of new releases taken from the Broadway musical Lazarus alongside the musical’s namesake and Blackstar single. ‘Lazarus’ itself commences the EP, which proves suitable opener given the context, yet still a somewhat unseemly inclusion also.
‘Lazarus’ steals some of the limelight from the following three tracks, the commentary on Bowie’s impending death seeming more poignant exactly one year on from his death. Nevertheless, Lazarus still rings loud as a striking reminder of Bowie’s ability to successfully stray from pop into jazz-rock.
‘No Plan’, the first of the new triad taken from the Lazarus musical, sees an adoption of a sense of never-ending loneliness. “Here is my place without a plan” sings Bowie as he illustrates the character of Thomas Newton from the off-Broadway Lazarus. It is a haunting yet reflective piece — a fine memento of Bowie’s sometimes bewildering but marvellous career.
A feeling of desperation encapsulates ‘Killing A Little Time’, with anguished vocals largely complimented by the frenzied pace of drums and edgy guitar riff — you can imagine it is the perfect instigator of a change in mood when played within the musical. The fourth and final song ‘When I Met You’ sees a return to a more standardised, simple rock song, similar to material on 2013’s The Next Day, which smoothly drives the EP home to a satisfying conclusion.
This collection of Bowie’s last recordings is brief but stirring. No Plan sees Bowie claim three of his most inspiring compositions of recent times as his own. Alongside Blackstar‘s ‘Lazarus’, they form an EP that gives fans some extra material to remember David Bowie as truly exceptional.