The All-Consuming Area of David Bowie's Thread

Planet-man

Well-Known Member
So on to the inevitible subject of favourite Bowie song...

Overall, I'd say "Ashes To Ashes" is mine, but the thing is, "Space Oddity" would be if not for some fundamental problems that ruin it. Basically, every time it goes into the "here am I sitting in a tin can" part, it completely kills the momentum of the song, both melodically and lyically. At one point the song is at the heighest of heights in any of his songs when he's "stepping through the door and... floating in a most peculiar way", going for a completely Space-Oddysey experience that embodies everything I love about the idea of space/time/dimensional travel, but in every verse after that he's still apparently right inside the spaceship, bored, unable to move, not in control, etc. I'd like it so much better if the lyrics were more like this:

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

Ground Control to Major Tom
Commencing countdown, engines on
Check ignition and may God's love be with you

(spoken)
Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Liftoff

Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles
I'm feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much, she knows

This is Ground Control to Major Tom
You've really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it's time to leave the capsule if you dare

"This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you....​

It would be this building machine of momentum until it reaches climax and after holding there for a while, drifts away.
 

E

Moderator
Excelsior Club
"Space Oddity" is too corny for me. I don't care for it.

I do love "Drive In Saturday", "Suffragette City", "Golden Years" (also corny but in a fun way), "Starman", "Oh! You Pretty Things", and "The Man Who Sold The World".
 

Planet-man

Well-Known Member
My oft-referenced handful of Bowie mp3s is, in the order I got them in:

"Under Pressure" (+ Queen etc.)
"Space Oddity"
"Magic Dance"(Labyrinth)
"As The World Falls Down"(Labyrinth)
"Starman"
"The Heart's Filthy Lesson"
"Ashes To Ashes"
"Heroes"
"Let's Dance"
"Changes"
"Life On Mars"

And I'm open to recommendations.
 

moonmaster

Without him, all of you would be lost souls roamin
So on to the inevitible subject of favourite Bowie song...

Overall, I'd say "Ashes To Ashes" is mine, but the thing is, "Space Oddity" would be if not for some fundamental problems that ruin it. Basically, every time it goes into the "here am I sitting in a tin can" part, it completely kills the momentum of the song, both melodically and lyically. At one point the song is at the heighest of heights in any of his songs when he's "stepping through the door and... floating in a most peculiar way", going for a completely Space-Oddysey experience that embodies everything I love about the idea of space/time/dimensional travel, but in every verse after that he's still apparently right inside the spaceship, bored, unable to move, not in control, etc. I'd like it so much better if the lyrics were more like this:

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

Ground Control to Major Tom
Commencing countdown, engines on
Check ignition and may God's love be with you

(spoken)
Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Liftoff

Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles
I'm feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much, she knows

This is Ground Control to Major Tom
You've really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it's time to leave the capsule if you dare

"This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you....​

It would be this building machine of momentum until it reaches climax and after holding there for a while, drifts away.
Eh, I like it how it is. I think the imagery is fine if you don't over think it.

My favorite Bowie song is "Heroes". There have been a million covers but nearly everyone ruins it by getting everything that's great about the song fundamentally wrong. First, they cut it down to only a few minutes. One of the best things about the song is the way everything builds. Bowie starts off singing in a subdued tone, and throughout the entire song never manages to break into a huge vocal performance. Instead, his voice just becomes more and more urgent, so that by the time he gets to the part about "standing by the wall" with "the guns firing over head", he's literally shouting the lyrics, desperately. When people cover it, they always start so close to the end that it's like remaking a movie but cutting out all the exposition because you think it's boring.

Other reason why "Heroes" is great: On Low, Bowie developed this revolutionary, krautrock-influenced style but lost his talent for creating anthems. As a result, Low is one of his very best albums but none of the tracks stand up very well on their own. They're too short and minimalist and Bowie intentionally refuses to build them up or give too much vocally. "Sound and Vision" is an excellent song that never manages to go anywhere. It's tolerable with a lot of tracks that never had too many other places to go, but on a song like that, you'd rather that he not hold himself back. With "Heroes", he manages to maintain that minimalist style while creating a very full, deeply powerful song.

Final reason why "Heroes" is great: The song tends to be directly interpreted as a love story between two East Germans or (as all the cringe-inducing covers tend to do) as a triumphant song about being "heroic" in some boring, save-the-world kind of way, but it's really a more universal message about the power of love in the face of opression. I think about 1984 and the scene where Winston gets Julia's note and it just says "I love you", the idea that love can even exist in a place where everything is controlled and dehumanized, the idea that love is an act of rebellion. Even if it's not perfect ("...You/You can be mean/And I'll/I'll drink all the time...Though nothing/Will keep us together...") the simple fact that it can exist is what's important.

Simply one of the best songs ever.
My oft-referenced handful of Bowie mp3s is, in the order I got them in:

"Under Pressure" (+ Queen etc.)
"Space Oddity"
"Magic Dance"(Labyrinth)
"As The World Falls Down"(Labyrinth)
"Starman"
"The Heart's Filthy Lesson"
"Ashes To Ashes"
"Heroes"
"Let's Dance"
"Changes"
"Life On Mars"

And I'm open to recommendations.
Let's see.

I know you don't tend to listen to whole albums, but I honestly think every track on Hunky Dory is great. If you want some specific suggestions, I'd say "Oh! You Pretty Things", "Kooks" (the most sickeningly adorable song ever recorded and I love it), "Andy Warhol" (psychedelic and awesome), and "Bewlay Brothers".

From The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust...: "Five Years" (a brilliant, building song about anticipating the end of the world), "Ziggy Stardust" and "Suffragette City" (some of Bowie's best hard rock anthems), and "Moonage Daydream" (takes the whole 'space rock' thing to almost silly levels but is still great and fun).

From Diamond Dogs (a semi-concept album about 1984): "Diamond Dogs", "Rebel Rebel" (one of Bowie's most famous songs and another one of his great rock anthems, sort of a manifesto for the concepts of glam rock), and "We Are the Dead", "1984", "Big Brother", and "Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family" (the last few tracks, they really sum up the 1984 theme and encompass a lot of different sounds.

From Station to Station: "Golden Years" and "Wild is the Wind" (probably Bowie's best vocal performance).

From the Berlin Trilogy: Despite my complaints, "Sound and Vision" is still excellent. I also like "What in the World", "Always Crashing in the Same Car", "Be My Wife", "Sons of the Silent Age" (very creepy), and "Blackout".

...Those are probably more suggestions than you wanted...
 
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ProjectX2

Don't expect me to take you with me when I go to s
I am obsessed with Space Oddity. The Area has infected me. Poor Major Tom. :(

I haven't quite gotten into Ziggy Stardust yet but I'm sure I will when I listen to it a couple more times.

I intend to check out more Bowie otherwise he'll probably check me out and that sounds terrifying.
 

Zombipanda

My Boom-Boom's mostly gay
I am obsessed with Space Oddity. The Area has infected me. Poor Major Tom. :(

I haven't quite gotten into Ziggy Stardust yet but I'm sure I will when I listen to it a couple more times.

I intend to check out more Bowie otherwise he'll probably check me out and that sounds terrifying.

Have you checked out the Berlin Trilogy, yet? It's my favorite Bowie era.
 
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ourchair

Well-Known Member
David Bowie is so awesome, he married a Star Trek alien even after William Shatner killed her.

08-imantrek.jpg
 

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