Monday, January 11, 2016

Oh no love you're not alone

My facebook feed last night and this morning was almost NOTHING but people mourning David Bowie. It's incredible, really; I have never, ever seen a celebrity death that had even remotely close to as much impact on as many people. It kind of caught me off-guard how much it affected me. I already told the story about the first time I heard Ziggy Stardust in this post (holy shit, seven years ago? Tempus fuckit). It's not like I went through any kind of obsessive phase where I wouldn't listen to anyone else, but somehow his music was always there, always in my head. For a period in Morocco I was smoking a fair amount of hashish (when in Rome, you know), and my absolute favorite thing to do while baked was listen to Bowie albums. I know the stereotype is that being stoned makes people like shitty music, but in this particular case, I think the main effect was to strip away whatever cultural mediation got between me and the music itself and really let me hear it for the first time again. And it really is incredible stuff. It's amazing to me that music could be so strange and so massively popular at the same time. I mean, it's because it's awesome, obviously, but what does THAT have to do with anything in this fallen world?

I suppose the only bright side, sort of, is that my knowledge of post-seventies Bowie remains extremely spotty, so there's still a lot to discover. I know it generally doesn't have the critical reputation of his earlier work, but I have no doubt there is nonetheless great stuff there.

An abbreviated list of great Bowie songs. "Space Oddity," "Cygnet Committee," "The Wild-Eyed Boy from Freecloud," "Saviour Machine," "Life on Mars," "The Bewlay Brothers," "Five Years," "Moonage Daydream," "Starman," "Lady Stardust," "Ziggy Stardust," "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide," "Velvet Goldmine," "John I'm Only Dancing," "Aladdin Sane," "Panic in Detroit," "Cracked Actor," "Time," "Lady Grinning Soul," "Rebel Rebel," "Fame," "Station to Station," "Golden Years," "TVC 15," "Stay," "Be My Wife," "Beauty and the Beast," "Joe the Lion," "'Heroes,'" "African Night Flight," "DJ," "Look Back in Anger," "Boys Keep Swinging," "Repetition," "Scary Monsters (and super creeps)," "Ashes to Ashes," "Teenage Wildlife," "Modern Love," "Ricochet," "Cat People"

Really, did anyone else even come close?


Anonymous Anonymous pontificated to the effect that...

Interesting...maybe I should revisit Bowie's classic catalog. These days "strangeness" is a good enough reason to listen to something, for me. I must say that I never really got the Bowie phenomenon before -- while I understand that Ziggy Stardust may have had a therapeutic role for many a misunderstood youth, basically I don't think I react to music in that way. I liked The Cure and Joy Division, but I don't think it was because I felt like they understood me or something. Anyway, the only Bowie album I own is Low, and I like it, but while I like the risk of combining a side of pop songs with a side of ambient instrumentals, the actual music in those instrumentals wasn't hugely impressive to me (although I always thought that the stage 3-2 music in Super Castlevania IV was very reminiscent of "Warszawa"). I also know "The Man Who Sold The World" from the Nirvana cover, but I always thought of that as one of those rare cases where the cover was better than the original. Perhaps I should look at that album again and see.


1:18 PM  

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