Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie

I'm not going to pretend to have been the world's biggest fan, but I don't think you can say you like music if you don't have some kind of love for David Bowie. And given the man invented the idea of reinvention and then reinvented that as well, repeatedly, there is literally something for everyone in his catalog. I tend to prefer The Man Who Sold The World and Ziggy eras, but then I do like some of his late 90s stuff as well and several other things here and there. And obviously "Heroes," because seriously, how could you not? The more I think about it, the more I realize I actually am a bigger fan than I thought. But I have no specific memory I can share or any big moment that his music scored in my life. But indirectly, I know for a fact that a large portion, if not all, of the artists I have felt a stronger connection to were deeply influenced and affected by Bowie. Even those that came before him, oddly enough.

I think it's because he was such a true artist that this feels different than other celebrity deaths. (In a way, Lemmy's was similar.) I've been listening to him all day and there were moments that got me a little emotional for reasons I really don't fully understand. As I said, these aren't songs I feel necessarily connected to in a personal way. But it's fucking Bowie. It's like saying the E minor chord died or some other basic musical ingredient is no more. Because even if you weren't listening to him, he was always there, somehow, in between the grooves of whatever you were listening to. He was an actual genre, really. The loss is just palpable and yet. . .

His last album, Blackstar was timed to come out just as he went. He planned it this way as a final performance and gift and it's thematically relevant. I urge you all to listen to it from start to finish at least once as I did today. I had heard the first single, the title track, a couple weeks back and really hated it. It's long, pretentious and annoying and as much as I feel that way still, I am also glad it exists. I still don't really like it all that much, but in context it leads into an album that somehow manages to take a dying man's reflections and turn them into something that is beautiful and hopeful without losing the melancholy and the dark. In a sense, it's what Bowie always did, I guess.

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