David Bowie has shared a snippet of his ghostly, atmospheric new track “Blackstar,” the theme for the upcoming heist series The Last Panthers. The track marks the first time in over two decades that Bowie had penned a song specifically for a television/film project. The 45-second snippet released today by Sky Atlantic only shows how “Blackstar” fits into the series’ smoky opening credits. It’s unclear if and when the entire song will be released.
On “Blackstar,” Bowie’s haunting, skewed vocals sing of “On the day of execution” and “At the center of it all, your eyes.” The music itself is reminiscent of the bleak, haunting instrumentals on the back half of Bowie’s 1977 album Heroes before a sinister beat kicks in for the dying seconds of the Last Panthers theme. The Last Panthers will premiere throughout Europe on November 12th.
The series’ directer Johan Renck, who recruited Bowie to record the theme music, detailed the conversations that resulted in “Blackstar.” “I showed Mr. Bowie the two first episodes in the rough state they were at the time, and he liked what he saw very much,” Renck said in a statement. “We discussed the various aspects of the show; naturally the plot line, but also the underlying currents of guilt and personality flaws. We talked about the dark heart of Europe. We talked about the biblical aspects of human nature. He asked if there was anything else to see, so I showed him the first concept board I had just made for the title sequence – images from the show laced with chimaeras and demons from the worlds of Bosch and Grunewald. That’s when he said go – it all fits. Then he played me his new song ‘Blackstar.'”
Like Bowie’s other recent new song “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime),” “Blackstar” is similarly indebted to the work of Scott Walker, another artist who found inspiration in Bosch. “He’s been my idol since I was a kid,” Bowie once said of Walker. “Blackstar” also continues an ongoing “star” motif in the Bowie canon, joining tracks like “Star,” “Starman,” “Ziggy Stardust,” “Lady Stardust,” “The Prettiest Star,” “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” “New Killer Star” and “Shining Star (Makin’ My Love).”