First things first: this isn’t Super Collider 2, thankfully. Aided by newcomers Chris Adler and Kiko Loureiro, Dystopia sees Megadeth righting the ship: in this case, a return to the radio-thrash of Countdown and Youthanasia as the basis for Mustaine’s songwriting. There are killer guitar parts (“Dystopia”, “Bullet to the Brain”); flashy solos (“Death from Within”, “Conquer or Die”); and overall memorable songwriting (“The Threat is Real”, “The Emperor”), a welcome distraction from Dave’s cringe-worthy lyrics and high school-level rhymes. Despite that, Dystopia isn’t a bad record per se but it’s not particularly interesting or essential, either.
He hired a free-form jazz band. He sings, “Where the fuck did Monday go?”, and sings in the language from “A Clockwork Orange”. He opens the record with a 10-minute mutating pop gem. This is David Bowie making music for himself and all the while giving no fucks. Blackstar may be Bowie’s weirdest album—which is saying something—and it’s easily his best in 35 years. Saying goodbye is certainly a morbid note to leave on, but what a note it is: “I’m not a pop star/ I’m a blackstar”. Indeed your are. Your genius will be missed.