Saturday, January 12, 2013

David Bowie's Changes

David Bowie, the seminal musician who played such a role in '70s and '80s music, has emerged from years of inactivity with an interesting new song and video. On January 8, 2013, Bowie's 66th birthday, he released "Where Are We Now" an unusual and penetrating contemplation of things past and present.
Its a moody and brooding song, seemingly filled with nostalgia.  The imagery and lyrics evoke Bowie's time in Berlin during the late '70s, a time when he produced, together with producer Brian Eno, a trilogy or searching and innovative albums. "A man lost in time. . . walking the dead," he sings.
Frankly, moodiness included, I cant help but feel that the song captures some of my own feelings of wistfullness and thoughtfullness I sometimes find myself feeling recently.

This served a good time for me to finally complete a post on Bowie I had been long planning... which Im actually going to divide into two posts.

The 1980s could not have been what they were without Bowie, as his influence spread heavily among the New Wave/New Romantic groups which dominated the MTV video scene, and the Second British Invasion of the early '80s.
Bowie has been known as a chameleon of sorts, working his way through various artistic personas. His big breakthrough came with the his character "Ziggy Stardust," an androgynous space traveler turned rock star which who was also the title character of the concept album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972).
 Over the course of the '70s, Bowie went through various stages, from the Ziggy-dominated glam era of the early '70s, to a more cool and icy era of the Thin White Duke, to the late '70s Berlin era of cutting edge music. His characters all had in common a sense of alienation, separateness, and individualism. At one point, he starred as the title character of the Nicholas Roeg film, The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976), about an space alien disaffected and separate from the world around him.
Bowie's visually stunning image, as shown in the above '70s video for "Life On Mars?" influenced many an artsy rock kid, many of whom dominate the MTV era with colorful and creative videos, and quirky music. Boy George, Annie Lennox, Duran Duran, all drew inspiration from Bowie.
Bowie himself became a major part of the Second British Invasion of 1983, with that year's Lets Dance album, and a hopeful, upbeat and vibrant new image. . . one which was perfectly in tune with the hopefulness and energy of the '80s. That positive spirit is shown in the catchy song and video, "Modern Love" from the Lets Dance album.
More on Bowie in the '80s in my next post....