Here it is, another late night. While I started to crank out a bunch of marketing posts, I found myself in another late night of downloading and listening to music. On my listening list for tonight is David Bowie.
One of the things that I've always liked about David Bowie (at least, through some of his hit songs), is the way that he structures the song. Bowie really understands the classic structure of a rock and roll song, building tension to a dramatic primal scream moment, then... "ah... wham, bam, thank you ma'am", you get the classic rock and roll scream moment... and release. The classic feel is supported with rich full sound and a nice blend of guitar, keyboards, and horns -- depending on the tune. Each little clip is a story, an event, a trip from one place to another.
Sadly, when I've tried to watch things like the Ziggy Stardust concert movie, it doesn't really work for me -- it just seems to wander into spaces that I don't go. And it's not like watching it I can figure out why. It just doesn't work for me. In an odd sort of way, that's one of the cool things about Bowie -- I think that there's a bunch of things that he does that don't work. But whether it works or not, Bowie goes forward, planting fields of sod, looking for that special fruit -- or reinterpreting the things that he does or has done, seeing if it will yield fruit in a different light. There is a core art to everything, even the things that don't work.
Seriously though, take a song like "Suffragette City". While it's sound certainly draws upon the roots of rock and roll, it's new, different and unique. It captures one of those essential elements that makes Bowie so cool -- a classic feel that takes you some place entirely new and also noteworthy in it's own way.
An Interesting Bowie Juxtaposition
Recently, I happened to catch Bowie performing for an Isle of Wight festival on one of the HD channels. I caught an interesting song performance that my "old Bowie" sensibilities had missed. "I'm Afraid of Americans" is an interesting song. Contrast it with "Young Americans". The whole comparison/contrast is full of surprises, but possibly the biggest one is that, while "I'm Afraid of American's" seems like a Bush-era protest song, it actually goes back to a 1997 album. That being said, the performance that I watched in the Isle of Wight Festival rang deeply as a Bush-era protest song.
Here's hoping that your music library keeps you up later than you expected...