Blackstar album coverWritten by: David Bowie
Recorded: 3 February, 17 April, 17 May 2015
Producers: David Bowie, Tony Visconti

Released: 8 January 2016

David Bowie: vocals
Donny McCaslin: flute
Ben Monder: guitar
Tim Lefebvre: bass guitar, guitar
Jason Lindner: Wurlitzer, Prophet ’08, Prophet 12, Mopho X4
Mark Guiliana: drums
James Murphy: percussion

Available on:
Blackstar

Containing lyrics in A Clockwork Orange‘s Nadsat language and the gay slang polari, ‘Girl Loves Me’ was recorded in 2015 for David Bowie’s Blackstar album.

Another thing that to me sounds like classic Bowie is ‘Girl Loves Me’. That’s not too far-fetched. That’s David Bowie doing his Cockney accent, his Anthony Newley or whoever it is.

Mojo: The lyrics on that sound like droog talk from A Clockwork Orange.

Yeah, I think it’s a combination of that and what is it, volare?

Mojo: Polari.

Tony: Polari, sorry. I am American but I know a lot about the UK, but not everything!

Tony Visconti
Mojo, January 2016

In the studio

David Bowie made a full demo of ‘Girl Loves Me’ prior to the Blackstar recording.

I remember the demo he sent me for ‘Girl Loves Me’. It was one he’d done entirely on his own. He had string parts in the version that I scored out for flutes. There’s a really lyrical melody in the middle of the song, an interlude, that was also strings. I played an alto flute and a C flute.
Donny McCaslin, 31 October 2015
Uncut, January 2016

The demo contained two drum loops played simultaneously, which Blackstar drummer Mark Guiliana struggled to replicate in the studio.

David’s demo had two loops on top of each other, creating a very dense groove, which I couldn’t play all at once. I tried to capture the feeling of the halftime backbeat with the undercurrent of the busier 16th-note details. The ghost notes in the groove are heard through the close mic on the snare, but the backbeat is being captured through David’s vocal mic. There was lots of bleed since we were all in the same room, which often led to very interesting sonic results. This, like many of the other songs, is a full drum take.
Mark Guiliana
Modern Drummer, February 2016

The backing track for ‘Girl Loves Me’ was recorded at the Magic Shop studio in New York City, on 3 February 2015.

Bass guitarist Tim Lefebvre also played guitar on the song, for which he used David Bowie’s guitar and multi-effects pedal. “It was a cheap little thing but it sounded great,” he recalled.

I played some guitar as well as the bass on ‘Girl Loves Me’, so I’m really proud of that. It was David’s guitar that I used, and I just went in and doubled the bass line. That’s kind of my favorite tune on the record, though it’s all really great so it’s hard to say which is my favorite.
Tim Lefebvre
Premier Guitar, 15 January 2016

As with many of the Blackstar songs, Bowie sang live with the musicians, yet his vocals were re-recorded at a later date. Those for ‘Girl Loves Me’ were taped at Human Studios on 16 April and 17 May.

The song also featured contributions from LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, who played percussion and added synth treatments.

James took it to his studio and did this whole other thing with it. Mark and Jason both heard snippets of it when they were over there working. Mark was saying it was really different from how he recorded it. I don’t know if that’s the version that ended up on the record or if that’s going to be a remix or something.
Donny McCaslin, 31 October 2015
Uncut, January 2016

Murphy had first worked with Bowie while producing Arcade Fire’s 2013 album Reflektor, on which Bowie guested, and the pair became friends. At one point there was talk of Murphy producing Bowie on an album, but the proposed project was displaced by the Blackstar sessions.

I feel like I’d possibly been brought in to play some kind of Brian Eno role and that is so far from what I am. Eno is, I think, open, manipulative and confident. I’m shy and self-directed and controlling. I have to micromanage.

I thought, well, I just had a moment where there’s this Bowie song and I suggested the chord change. I can go home happy now. It wasn’t selfless of me to back out. I’m incapable of working in that situation. I’m not being inflexible, I’m not being stubborn, it’s just not there. I can’t produce. I think I’m done producing. I can’t do it.

James Murphy
The Guardian, August 2017