Review Summary: "The end."
Coinciding with what would’ve been Bowie’s 70th birthday, No Plan
is a brief, yet satisfying conclusion to the rollercoaster of emotions that listeners experienced throughout 2016 accompanied by the dire Blackstar
. Comprised of four tracks, three of which were previously included exclusively on the Lazarus cast recording (the fourth being ”Lazarus”
, also part of the play), No Plan
is these songs’ official induction into the Bowie canon – the coda to a fifty year-plus career, the curtain call if you must.
Starting things off with last year’s ”Lazarus”
is markedly both a well-placed introduction, but a questionable inclusion as well. The track’s significance to the play of the same name, as well as the album it was on, is still immeasurable although takes quite a bit of shine away from the new songs that follow it up. The first of the new trio of Bowie’s final works No Plan
sets Bowie in a position that yearns for something not quite there
, a song that implements the Thomas Newton character and his never ending isolation in the Lazarus play. There’s an air of resignation in Bowie’s strained vocal, but in consideration to the fact he didn’t know of his fate at the time of recording, it owes a lot to the overall mood that the Donny McCaslin band brought to the music. ”Killing A Little Time”
on the other hand, sounds desperate as Bowie manages to gasp out “I’m falling, man/I’m choking, man/I’m fading, man” amidst the frantic instrumentation that add to Bowie’s increasingly despaired singing. The final song ”When I Met You”
eschews the melancholy of ”No Plan”
and the despair of ”Killing A Little Time”
in favor of plain and simple catharsis in a four minute rock song that would be in favorable company among The Next Day
’s material. Any hint of what was to come is all but distant in the way that Bowie handles his vocal, for he has never sounded more alive than on this song itself. No Plan
is remarkably brief, but in its eighteen minutes manages to celebrate the man that was David Bowie, as well as give fans something more to remember him and his music by.