David Bowie's 'No Plan'Was No Plan a plan?

On David Bowie’s birthday and the year anniversary of his death, comes No Plan. A download-only 4 song EP featuring the Blackstar single “Lazarus” as well as 3 other songs recorded and originally released on the soundtrack album to the Broadway musical of the same name.

With the trio of the new songs coming from the Blackstar sessions, they’re thematically consistent with subject matter of mortality and the afterlife. I didn’t see Lazarus so I can’t speak on how they fit in within context of the musical, but each song wouldn’t be out of place on Blackstar.

While the music of No Plan embodies everything I loved about Blackstar, it lacks the emotional punch found in most posthumous releases.  Even before Bowie’s passing Blackstar utilized it’s mystery as hype.  We’ve heard these songs already, so doesn’t it come off a bit self-indulgent to release them yet again? 

Is the release to capitalize on Bowie’s death, or convenience to those who don’t care to see Lazarus?

I admit I had no interest in the Lazarus musical, much less it’s soundtrack released last year. However, I jumped on it as soon as I found out it included 3 new songs. I wasn’t blown away by the contributions of the cast, but I’m sure it’s much different in person. Just like any rock show, being there live is half the magic. I understand and appreciate the hard work that goes into theater but it’s just not my thing. 

The songs of No Plan are fantastic, but I can’t say they stand on their own as a separate release. The die-hard fans (like myself) who would enjoy these songs the most, already own Lazarus anyway. A vinyl 7″ would’ve been a perfect collector’s item to commemorate Bowie’s passing. A download-only release sort of undermines the whole purpose of a celebratory release. Even the hastily thrown together artwork lacks the finesse attention to detail that Bowie was famous for. It just screams rushed and cheap.

Details were an important part of Bowie’s life (and death) as an artist. We should honor that.

No Plan is short a collection of wonderful songs from an artist we still can’t believe is  no longer with us. Sadly, it just feels more like a marketing ploy capitalizing on Bowie’s death rather than bookend his glorious career. Re-releasing songs less than a year old for the sake of convenience, lacks the integrity Bowie effortlessly displayed his entire professional life.

I guess there’s always next year…

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