Musicians, perhaps more than any other type of artist, lose it. Music is a visceral business, and there’s often (though far from always) that point when the spark goes out. For David Bowie it was right after 1983’s “Let’s Dance,” the brassy climax of a staggering run dating back to 1969’s “David Bowie” (later retitled “Space Oddity”). Not that he totally lost it; he just wasn't as breathtakingly, consistently brilliant as he had been for a strong 14 year stretch. What followed was for the Bowie diehards, who bravely sifter through a spotty career, looking for diamonds in the rough. But there are diamonds. In fact, there’s lots of them.
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So what kind of animal is “Blackstar,” the legend’s 25th studio record? (Twenty-sixth if you count the never-released but bootlegged “Toy.” We’re nerds.) Bowie is releasing the new record on Jan. 8, his 69th birthday. Find out where it ranks as we break down the albums from the previous 23 years of the former Thin White Duke. (Spoiler: “Blackstar” is really good.)