Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bowie, the next day

I'm sure there will be a lot of "Bowie on social security" jokes this year (except that he's a Brit and a millionaire). 2013 marks the first new David Bowie album since 2003. (although, he did become a dad again that year, so I'm sure he's been keeping busy). Put in perspective, he's still a baby compared to Willie Nelson, Leonard Cohen, Ringo & McCartney, Jagger & Richards.

It's a interesting phenomenon to have an artist consistently create work throughout most of my lifetime. Although I'm too young to remember psychedelic hippie Bowie or even glam Bowie, I was exposed to – and influenced by –  Berlin Bowie, New Wave Bowie and Techno Bowie. I imagine Bing Crosby (still spinning in his grave after conceding to duet with young Bowie back in an '70s xmas special that actually aired 2 weeks after his death) would be nonplussed to behold Bowie the 21st century crooner.

Appreciate Bowie the actor in any decade - whether The Man Who Fell to Earth, Absolute Beginners, The Hunger or Basquiat, The Prestige (as Nikola Tesla!) and his cameo in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.  Even try to appreciate the vague sense of film bio that Velvet Goldmine tried so hard to be. (It grates worse on the Iggy Pop character, another legend who hits retirement age this year.) Let's hope Bowie writes his memoirs soon, because biographers can't seem to articulate his complete kaleidoscopic saga.

The new single, "Where Are We Now?", popped up today – and Bowie sounds a bit sad and gravelly – but he still lends a certain gravitas to a lush, somewhat bleak, sonic landscape. It seems right that 2013 will have a Bowie soundtrack filtering through its days, a Virgil leading me through every hellish circle.


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