Monday, January 9, 2017

Monday Mix 01092017: Bowie

A year ago David Bowie died. It broke my heart. Though I never met him or saw him perform live, he helped define the context of my life and thinking, especially concerning the musical, the artistic, from an early age. I don't remember a time I didn't know about David Bowie.

The last day I spent in Berlin I took the U-Bahn to visit the former apartment he shared with Iggy during the 1970s. That was in October 2014. I had been listening to Low and The Next Day almost daily for a year. For the past year I haven't been able to listen to either entirely through.

Despite not having ever met David Bowie, his death affected me. Not in a superficial or celebrity-worship kind of way. I'm not that vapid. His artistry touched something in me that only makes sense when it's described as a soul. I was transcendent when I visited the Bowie exhibit in Berlin in June 2014, while I was living there and doing research over the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of communism in Central Europe. Bowie, for me, shaped and defined my experience of Berlin as much as Hitler and Stalin, as much as Benjamin and Grosz.

Here are my top 10 songs by David Bowie according to number of plays on iTunes:
  1. "Subterraneans" - though perhaps this isn't fair because some days I just put this song on repeat for hours at a time
  2. "This Is Not America"
  3. "Always Crashing in the Same Car" - for several months I had this song programmed as my morning alarm: "Every chance, every chance that I take, I take it on the road...."
  4. "Be My Wife"
  5. "Rebel Rebel"
  6. "Love Is Lost"
  7. "Warszawa" - the same goes with this song as with "Subterraneans"
  8. "A New Career in a New Town"
  9. "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)"
  10. "Breaking Glass"
"'Heroes'" doesn't show up until #12, but I have four different versions/covers of it that all make the top 50. (And don't get me started on people who forget to put the internal quotation marks around the title! It's ironic, you idiots!) "Lazarus" made #15. I remember last year after its release listening to this captivating track and naively musing, I wonder what David Bowie's next album will sound like, since I loved The Last Day and Blackstar so much.

Three classics that I still (can) listen to almost daily include "Stay" at #33, "Wild Is the Wind" at #34, and "Word On a Wing" at #44.

Bonus track: "Within You" from the Labyrinth soundtrack would've easily made the top 10, but I don't have it on iTunes.

What are your favorite David Bowie songs?

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