And so we start the new year (and I really hope this is the last time I need to start a blog post this way). But the man Who Fell To Earth and became an elementary part of our musical and cultural lives is not going to join us into 2016 and beyond. That's one reason to be upset (again) because if the ones that are immortal, in life and in image, die anyway, it makes the future for us, the ones who are left behind, just a little bit more unforeseen (again). And so we have, together with Lemmy and Pierre Boulez, within a two-week timeline a trilogy of RIPs.
“Staying stuck in the past is stealing from the future”, I have read somewhere. It can be an adage from a man for whom transformation - in image and in music - is not merely a gimmick but a way of living that enables him to keep delving into his own resources. A tool for (creative) survival.
From his immense discography I especially cherish Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, Heroes and the first album of his band Tin Machine. Tin Machine didn’t belong to his biggest commercial successes but their first record still hold its ground. In the second half of the 80s the musical expeditions of The Thin White Duke didn’t always set sail to shores of gold. With its self-titled debut album in 1989 Tin Machine was a, highly welcomed, departure from some of the less than memorable things Bowie had done in the time prior (I don’t want to hear “Tonight”, a duet with Tina Turner, ever again).
It was the era of grunge, the time of back-to-basic raw guitar sounds, but with the teenage angst from Cobain en co. Tin Machine had nothing to do. For that David Bowie was, as ever, too self conscious and too well dressed (also as a singer of a rockband). I will give this record another spin at high volume these days. After the Motörhead-sessions on 29 December (No Sleep Till Hammersmith on repeat) and last week’s two days of Pierre Boulez (his own orchestral works one day and Bayreuther Ring-recordings from 1976 the other day) I’m sure my neighbours will thank me for that.
The chameleon of pop has transformed for the last time. Creativity has its final word over irony when a record on which he sounds rejuvenated (Blackstar) now seems to be his requiem.