Mid-20s Malaise

Struggling against the inevitable since 1986!

Wham! Bam! Thank you, ma’am!

The A.V. Club has a comprehensive and readable primer on the music of David Bowie this week. It’s an introduction to his daunting oeuvre for the absolute beginner. I encourage all of you to have a look, whether you’re already a Bowie fan, have been interested in hearing him or have never heard of him. Bowie is inarguably my favourite artist: he’s an absolute genius and, aside from a dodgy decade spanning the late 80s and early 90s, everything he’s created has been damn near perfect. His music is both fun and intelligent, accessible and experimental. He does incredible things with pop songs and the artifice of celebrity. I got into Bowie in my teens, back in the days before the internet. Most pay days (from the job where I was earning $5.something an hour), I’d go to the record store and pick out a new Bowie album. Each one was so different, I was surprised each time I slipped a new one into my CD player. Whatever kind of music you listen to, I guarantee David Bowie had an influence on it. I also guarantee you can sing a few of his songs, even if you don’t know it: so many of his songs have become those songs that everybody knows, even if they can’t name the artist. I remember being surprised when I learned that he was responsible for “that ‘ch-ch-changes’ song“.

So read the article, and have a look at this live performance of Life On Mars?, one of my favourite Bowie songs. This clip was filmed during 2004’s Reality tour, which I saw in Sydney. It was, of course, spectacular. The original 1973 video clip is worth a look too, an early example of Bowie’s mastery of the visual side of pop music.

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