David Bowie, I Love You

5 Dec

I’m in love with David Bowie.

No, wait. Listen, I’m not a crazy stalker fan who kisses a poster of his face every night before I go to bed, it’s just that I… well, actually, no. It’s just a kind of diluted version of the aforementioned crazy fandom.

I love this kind of thing: the impression he gave that he was so ahead of time– and he was, in a way. In his head, he lived in 2156 and boogied with the Spiders from Mars (not Ziggy’s band, ACTUAL spiders), man. (I’m talking 70’s/80’s Bowie, not, like, the still-grooveh but less-cool-coiffed,  Arcade Fire duetting, Original Dude™) 

I think he was, in his heyday, a god. He’s been ever-so-slightly demoted ever since he stopped dyeing his hair neon-orange and wearing eyeliner and blue eyeshadow (and, also, General Rule No. 645: no-one should wear blue eyeshadow. Ever. Ever, ever, ever. Ever. It is the worst make-up sin anyone could commit; so big, in fact, that it should be punishable by death. Never do it, never, ever, ever. Exceptions: Margaret Thatcher (she had it coming) and David Bowie) from full-on deity* to a kind of male queen-mother (king-father? That just sounds wrong.) i.e. still awesome but retired.

However, I love Bowie in all of his various rangèd (which is a tier higher than ranged, and I think he deserves it)** incarnations. Why, I hear you ask.

I’ll tell you, shall I?

Reasons  Everyone Should Love David Bowie

1. Style

David Bowie’s style was, and still is like no other. He was, to a relative foetus like me,*** Gaga before Gaga was Gaga. Hell, he was Gaga before  the Lady was a twinkle in Duke and Dutchess Gaga’s eyes. Bowie was the pioneer of the jumpsuit, of the radically rad haircut, of the silver lycra. Although I speak pretty much only in terms of the early 70’s, the fantastic affront of his clothing alone was enough to make him an icon. And even if, in a flawed alternate universe, he couldn’t sing, if he hadn’t had such a Rebel-Rebel**** attitude to clothes and a luscious media appeal, he could still have become the greatest male supermodel of all time. Truly was he the Man Who Fell From Space: in his 1972 emergence as Ziggy Stardust, his beauty was flat, androgynous, alien. Sculpted marble-wax skin, long-lashed shark eyes, copper wire for hair and pale shell coloured lips, he was the poster on every teenage girl’s room, the envy of every teenage boy, and, I’m sure, the sometimes reluctant crush of everyone else. I mean, who wouldn’t? Neither a man nor a woman: ageless, flawless, utterly wrong and alien in every way, yet undeniably, unreasonably attractive.  His utter immersion of himself in his performing personas from his early-days Beatles-esque cute haircut, no makeup appearance to some of the world’s most innovative, culturally-shocking costumes.

2. Musicianship*****

Bowie’s music is phenomenal: the creativity of the arrangement and obvious musicality in every song make them a weeping joy to listen to. My current favourites (Changes, Ziggy Stardust, Space Oddity, Life On Mars?) are pretty obvious, but hey, doesn’t that mean that they’re just the most universally enjoyed?

Bowie’s singing style is incredibly variable: heard reedily resonant in Space Oddity harmonies and yet takes on a rich crooner-like depth in the lower registers (this may sound horrible and pretentious, but I sing, I know this stuff. Promise!) It still holds a strange fascination in me when I hear his voices, it’s so oddly changeable.

 I hate to ruminate on the meanings of lyrics, especially Bowie’s, whose are especially acid-trippy, but nonetheless, I love songs that can make me cry for seemingly no reason, or have tiny quotables that catch me like a fish hook and gleefully reel me in. This song reminds me of something that I can’t quite remember that happened a very long time ago, or maybe a just of music that my parents played me when I was younger. However, this remains one of my favourite songs of all time, and the lyrics seem strangely personal, for some reason.


3. Influence

Bowie was one of the original pebbles in the Pop Culture Revolution Funky Bathtub. Bits and pieces of him, his musical style, his iconic fashion, his stage-persona attitude have been copied, mutated, alluded to, picked up, adapted, paid homage to, et al.  The Bowie legacy of boundary-breaking stagecraft through perpetual reinvention. He has managed to extend his influence into even the darkest corners of popular music, so much so that it is almost impossible to find a mainstream musical artist who has not been influenced by David Bowie.  He was the original musical chameleon; trumping even Madonna, and frankly, much better looking.


Although wandering, ill explained and lackadaisical and meandering in on a range of subjects, this sprawling splurge of Bowie crazy-fangirl-love does not even scrape the surface of my awe of him as a musician, performer, actor, singer and all of his numerous other accomplishments. I love David Bowie for the length, breadth and deep-seated-ness****** of his influence in the popular music of the 20th century. He challenged the whole medium of rock music, he changed what it is to be a star. His status is unique and (I take back the demotion from God to lesser being) legendary.

*If you followed that horrendously distracted sentence and also managed to read that horrendously distracting but still blog-worthy bracketed interjection, you are also elevated to deity status.

**Oh dear.

***Even though it feels like a felony to mention Lady Crazy in the same breath as him.

****Although that’s an obvious anachronism, Rebel-Rebel was one of his own songs.

*****Wow, I sound like an essay now.

******It’s not a word! Too many appendices! I’m tired of writing! It’s 4am!

4 Responses to “David Bowie, I Love You”

  1. EricDoesNotExist December 5, 2010 at 5:06 am #

    Bowie Love Suffused. Ah, that feels better.

  2. foodest December 12, 2010 at 2:14 am #

    I mostly like Bowie for his appearances on Extras as himself, and as Nikola Tesla in The Prestige.

    • EricDoesNotExist December 18, 2010 at 9:32 pm #

      And yeah, there’s that too…
      I’m possibly seeing him through music-geek-and-rose coloured specs, through which I totally ignore his substance abuse, sometimes questionable art, and TV/film appearances. Maybe I’m just too young to be properly objective.

      I hope he did Nikola Tesla well, though. He’s one of my favorite inventors in the early 20th century. And he had an extremely cool name.

      • EricDoesNotExist December 20, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

        “Maybe I’m just too young to be properly objective.”
        That’s my standard cop-out, if you must know.

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