Three days ago we celebrated David Bowie’s birthday by listening to his new album ★ Blackstar.
Today is a horrible Monday. David Bowie was much more than just a musician.
He has left us with a feeling of emptiness which we’ll be filling in with his songs.
The Man Who Sold the World
If you were teenagers in the 90s, you’ll definitely know the song from its cover by Nirvana.
Kurt Cobain playing it in New York at MTV Unplugged is one of the most moving and touching images of all times. The original song is by David Bowie and it’s beautiful and delicate (despite hearing the bass guitar that tries to warm the cockles of your heart).
Life on Mars?
A girl is flicking through the channels on TV (the silver screen) to escape from her parents arguments. This marvellous song is what came out of it, with its arrangements that make you sigh, its irresistible chorus and that question “Is there life on Mars?”.
It’s a heart breaking dialogue between an astronaut and ground control. No problems at the take-off. But then Major Tom describes the feeling he had as soon as he steps through the door of his space ship. He tells us what it feels like to be floating in space so we see the stars and the earth through his eyes. But then something goes wrong.
Can you hear us, Major Tom?
Some years ago Chris Hadfield played it in the only place this song should be played, SPACE.
Ch-ch-changes and even the inexorable passing of time can be confronted by a smile on your face.
See entry: glam rock.
Bowie’s seductive voice and chorus nearly as simple as a lullaby. That’s the formula of pop. The song is so pop that it was the theme song of Matricole e Meteore, a TV programme from some years ago.
At 1m 35s, the White Duke looks straight into the camera and speaks right to us watching the video. It’s a blow to the heart.
One of the best incipits in the history of music. The scraping riff, the drum sticks beating time and then dropping.
It’s a rebellion against homologation translated into music and words.
So epic that, when you’re listening to it, you feel you could do anything!
Ashes to Ashes
The return of Major Tom eleven years after Space Oddity.
Things are not going better, neither for old Tom, still lost in space, nor for David dealing with his ghosts.
It makes you want to run happily in the streets, just as in Frances Ha.
Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
You don’t need petrol to light a fire if you have David Bowie’s voice. Your chest will just feel like it’s burning. Ask Shoshanna.
New Killer Star
The creaking of this world of ours spinning into self-destruction. But even when he writes about politics and current affairs (the world situation after September 11), Bowie still tells us about the stars.
The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
Bowie being a celebrity, the best story, worth the highest mark. And these days we would like stars to never die!
We don’t want to call it a will or testament.
The thing is, he knew.
He’d been fighting cancer for eighteen months.
He fought until yesterday and he fought it through music too.
Bonus track #1
Without You I’m Nothing – Placebo feat. David Bowie
Because we’re feeling very lonely now.
Bonus track #2
Wake Up – Arcade Fire feat. David Bowie
Because at the end of the day, great art works always speak about three things: love, life and death.
This song makes no exception. It speaks about distress after loss and how important it is to get up, grow up and become adults.
And then, we would like to end this playlist on a happy note.
Because after all, David Bowie has gone back to the stars, where he came from 69 years ago.