David Bowie Posthumous EP Gets Surprise Release

David Bowie rushed to finalize his last album, but his sound and vision continue to make space for stolen time.

David Bowie died almost a year ago after spending his final year in a flurry of creation that led to his final album, Blackstar, but the iconic multi-media artist’s music continues to fall to Earth. A four-track EP called No Plan was released along with a music video for the title track, to commemorate what would have been Bowie’s 70th birthday.

The EP features the songs “No Plan,” “Killing a Little Time,” and “When I Met You,” along with “Lazarus,”  which was included on Blackstar. The final three songs that Bowie recorded were previously released as part of the cast album for Lazarus, his 2016 musical that starred Michael C. Hall. The musical features songs Bowie wrote that were based on the same novel as his 1976 film The Man Who Fell To Earth.

Bowie reprises his character from The Man Who Fell to Earth and Lazarus for the music video for “No Plan.” The music video was directed by Tom Hingston. 

Blackstar was reportedly planned to be Bowie’s farewell album, but the director recently revealed that that wasn’t exactly the case. Bowie didn’t know his cancer treatments would be unsuccessful until after the album was recorded.

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“I found out … the week we were shooting, it was when he was told it was over,” Johan Renck, who directed the video for “Lazarus,” recently told The Guardian. “They were ending treatments and that his illness had won.”

Bowie discovered his cancer was terminal three months before he died, according to the documentary David Bowie: The Last Five Years, directed by Francis Whately. 

“David said, ‘I just want to make it a simple performance video,” Whately told The Guardian. “I immediately said, ‘The song is called ‘Lazarus,’ you should be in the bed.’ To me it had to do with the biblical aspect of it. … it had nothing to do with him being ill. … I still don’t know if he started making Blackstar before he knew he was ill, or after.

“People are so desperate for Blackstar to be this parting gift that Bowie made for the world when he knew he was dying but I think it’s simplistic to think that. There is more ambiguity there than people want to acknowledge. I don’t think he knew he was going to die. However, he must have known there was a chance he wasn’t going to recover, so, to do an album with a certain amount of ambiguity in it, is Bowie playing the cat and mouse game that he always played.”

Bowie released Blackstar on his 69th birthday, two days before his death. Blackstar was the first time Bowie scored the number one album on the Billboard 200. The album was nominated for four Grammy Awards this year, including Best Rock Song, Best Rock Performance, and Best Alternative Music Album.

There will be a series of worldwide Bowie tribute concerts over the next few weeks, including a show at the Wiltern in Los Angeles that will be headlined by Sting on Jan. 24.