What Happens To Rock Stars

This album cover is brilliant.
But this is what happens to rock stars, right? They age, they wither, and they eventually play 30-year-old songs to 50-year-old people who are doing their best to avoid nostalgia's bittersweet aftertaste while nursing an $11 Bud in the back of a basketball arena.

Yes. If you are very, very lucky.

If not, you end up dead in some shitty hotel room, your last meal cheap booze you snuck in, your last sight some fake impressionistic hotel art.

Or you end up unemployable, wandering around the last town you thought might be fun. People stare at you every now and then, but instead of the glint of "aren't you famous?" it's the pity/laughter of "weren't you famous?". What are you going to do, be an accountant? Get a law school degree? Invent some kind of stupid internet thing?

Regardless, Bowie's a master. Absolute master. I guarantee this new album is more compelling than anything the Rolling Stones have released since about 1983, and more adventurous than Johnny One-Note acts like AC/DC (who create nominally "new" albums to ever-decreasing effect).

Bowie has also resisted the lure of the cash-in tour. He could have reformed The Spiders From Mars and made a mint wheeling out Ziggy in a wheelchair. Or played nearly any of his albums in entirety. I sure would have paid bank to see that, and not for reasons of snark or throwing tomatoes or subpoenas.

Like all of us, Bowie is vaguely ridiculous at times. Like all of us, you'll really miss him when he's gone.

But unlike all of us, he is a true artist, and knows how to write songs.