Saturday, 21 June 2008
Welcome back to the artist spotlight. These are intended to educate and provide basic commentary on the chosen band, and listing their biggest hits, as well as the hidden gems they've recorded.
This week the spotlight is on the David Bowie, one of the greatest musical geniuses of the modern era.
There aren't many musicians who can last more than a few years in the limelight, so when someone manages to keep writing fresh new music for a whole decade it is truly special. It is therefore an absolutely absurd musical achievement when someone can do this for almost four decades. David Bowie is a genius. It's not just that he is a supremely talented musician and singer, it's also how many different genres of music he can successfully use, and even create his own genres. A lot can be speculated on his mental state over the years, the effect of his extreme drug usage and his propensity towards glam and showiness rather than just music, but at the end of it all no one else can boast such a long and impressive discography.
Unlike most artists, the visual aspects of Bowie's music actually adds to the experience, rather than cheapening it as so often happens. The fact is that Bowie is not just a musician, he is an artist. He produces poetry and intense visual imagery. He can also act as can be seen in one of his movies or in his stage work. It is this devotion to art of all forms that really gives depth and life to his work and this can be clearly seen in his music.
There is so much that can be said about the man, a conflicted and troubled individual who expressed himself in the multitude of different personae he took the role of for his art. Call him Aladdin Sane, Ziggy Stardust or the Thin White Duke, he is always unforgettable, but to do so would take a lot longer than I intend to spend writing this. This is a fascinating man who has lived a fascinating life and produced a large back catalog of art fuelled by his inner conflicts (and probably a fair bit of drugs). So now on to the music
It is difficult to pick out a key album from such a long and distinguished career. Certainly the experimental Low needs listening to, as does The Man Who Sold the World, but in my eyes the most essential album in terms of music, imagery and general genius has to be the legendary, and brilliantly namedThe Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars . It is probably the work he is best known for. Also watching the music video of 'Ashes to Ashes' is something everyone should experience at least once.
And now on to the fun bit, the recommended songs, it's bloody difficult to call these 'hidden gems' since so many of his songs are massive hits:
Starman - David Bowie
Life on Mars - David Bowie
Heroes - David Bowie
Space Oddity - David Bowie
Changes - David Bowie
Under Pressure - David Bowie & Queen
The Man Who Sold the World - David Bowie
Ashes to Ashes - David Bowie
Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie
Suffragette City - David Bowie
Sound and Vision - David Bowie
Aladdin Sane - David Bowie