“Lazarus”: David Bowie’s musical epitaph

Why Evolution Is True

David Bowie died two days ago, and that was but two days after the release of his last album, Blackstar. He clearly knew he was dying when he recorded it and the song and video shown below, “Lazarus.” (Rumors have it that Bowie died of lung cancer that metastasized to his liver.) Lazarus, of course, was a figure from the Gospel of John, a man whom Jesus raised from the dead—and that’s a clue that Bowie intends this song as a way to live on.

It’s a macabre song, clearly reflecting his impending death and how he wanted to be remembered. But it makes me very discomfited, perhaps because it reminds me of my own mortality. (While watching the house finches eat seeds on my windowsill this morning, I thought to myself, “How lucky they are: they don’t know they’re going to die.”) The grimness is enhanced by the dark and squalid hospital room…

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