This album has to be judged on a few different levels: (1) as the cast recording for a show intended for the stage; (2) as a tribute album to David Bowie; (3) as a release that includes David Bowie's final recordings.
As a cast recording, it shows the performers to be confident and, I think, sincere in their work. The singing is not overly theatrical and thankfully doesn't play like a bunch of old-school showtunes. As a tribute to David Bowie, it's a mediocre affair (which accounts for the bulk of my 3-star rating). The performances and arrangements don't add much, if anything, to the originals. Obviously, it would be impossible to improve upon the originals, though some of these stand up very well to comparison. Always Crashing in the Same Car, one of my favorite songs, is done very well here, and I like it quite a bit. In general, I like the songs performed with a female vocalist, as they present a more striking difference from the original songs. That said, Heroes is done well here. None of the other songs is bad or poorly performed, but I can't imagine I'll listen to them very often at all.
So that brings me to the real reason I bought this, and I suspect the main draw for most people who will buy this: Bowie's final recordings. They are beautiful and heartbreaking, especially No Plan, my favorite of the three, and I probably would have arranged it to come last, rather than the lighter When I Met You. They have the same tone as the latterday masterpiece, Blackstar, and are by far the best part of this album, so much so that I feel like they are the true album, and the cast recordings from the show are the bonus tracks.
Bowie fans like me are going to feel this is a necessary purchase, the final coda to the incredible career of one of the greatest artists of our time. No Plan, Killing a Little Time, and When I Met You are fantastic, and they'll be the songs you remember and come back to. For me, I'll probably organize them in my personal digital backups to be a part of Blackstar, and I'll only listen to the Lazarus cast recordings on the odd occasion when the mood strikes.
- Audio CD (23 October 2016)
- Original Release Date: 23 October 2016
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: CD
- Label: RCA
- ASIN: B01L0EIW4U
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 173 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)