Song of the day – 548: David Bowie (the new single reviewed)
There’s a way Bowie phrases a line, 50 seconds in, that reminds me of that fabulously underwhelming scene in Extras, where Bowie’s making fun of Ricky Gervais’ feeble attempts at social climbing (based on a true story, no doubt). Funny little fat man. That aside, Bowie’s New Song is elegiac, beautiful and sorrowing, and quite, quite lovely. I still have no idea what Suede really sound like – I’d hazard a stab at mewling – but of course Bowie’s New Song reminds me of some of the high spots of Britpop, in particular Jarvis Cocker and Blur… amplified and softened a hundred-fold.
I first had a listen to Bowie’s New Song late last night, stung into cynicism by the fawning comments of so many ‘friends’ on Facebook, but also thinking there was something quite touching about everyone being so respectful and happy that some dude who hasn’t released a good song in around three decades had finally managed one on his 66th birthday. (Friends immediately started citing his 1997 Earthling album like it was some sort of Album of Power that could keep the Dark Forces at bay if only you recited its name often enough, and believed in what you were saying, but I think we can forgive them their delusions. Bangs knows I have enough myself.) Some friends (older and grouchier then me) remarked I should “get with the programme, grouch”. So I did. And I had another listen – and another – and another…
I ended up listening to Bowie’s New Song eight or nine times, before I drifted off to sleep at 1am. (Same effect this song had on me when I first heard it, interestingly – and I still love that one, loads.) Someone remarked it was a good song to listen to on repeat while you were doing the ironing. I replied that I’d been unconsciously ironing my beard for the last 25 minutes or hour or so.
I woke up this morning, scrabbled around playing chess online for a bit and working heftily on my PhD thesis, and then tuned back into Bowie. Listening to Bowie’s New Song really is a lovely way to start the new day. I wasn’t intending to feature this in my Song of the Day series but then I thought, why should I care what the rest of the world thinks, good or bad?
Y’know, Bowie – like Morrissey, like Iggy Pop – is someone I can take or leave (although I can’t deny to loving a good couple of brace of his 70s albums). This, however… this is something magical.
Captured by the game. Entranced.
Or, as The Daily Mirror puts it: Grande Dame of British pop’s powers are still Hunky Dory
I was going to embed the video, like
everyone else the entire world, but then I read this comment from Sean Adams (Drowned In Sound):
Hey there eager blogs and national newspapers (who boast about your integrity and investigative resource), that Bowie YouTube you’re all embedding for hits, is a dodgy rip… unless you think this guy is actually David in disguise? http://www.youtube.com/user/SparkyHughes33/videos?view=0
Just link people to http://www.davidbowie.com/ where people can find buy links and more. Or do you really desperately need those extra 400 clickthroughs from Facebook today?
Maybe it’s time for some sort of NCJ license for everyone who shares anything online?”
This one looks more legit, but who knows? If you feel strongly enough about it, check out the song on David’s own website (link above).