Two Audio Addict writers take a moment to reflect on their most loved David Bowie album, and why the man and his music mean so much to them.
I first found David Bowie through the crime show, Life on Mars, the theme song to the programme being Bowie’s notorious ‘Life on Mars?’ From the moment I heard the intro pianos all the way to the crashing chorus, I was hooked. Previously being a guy who’d be limited to listening to what’s described by “alternative” music, I had formed an irrational hatred of pop music. In less than 4 minutes, David Bowie changed my life and the way I view and listen to music today. After becoming obsessed with hearing the track, I journeyed deeper and deeper through his discography, with each song blowing my mind more than the one before. No matter what new treasures I discovered by him I always went back to the song ‘Life on Mars’ and its album: Hunky Dory.
Hunky Dory was always a stand out album for me, from the beginning with the classic song ‘Changes’ all the way to the end of the album. To quote Sum 41, it was all killer, no filler, impossible to hear just one song on shuffle. The immediate response was to automatically go through the entirety of the album, which few albums have done for me. The simplistic light acoustic guitar combined with pianos fill the space, giving more light to Bowie’s unique voice blocking out all other interruptions that the outside world blared on. Regardless of the simple instrumentals throughout the song, don’t think for one second it was basic. Behind the instruments, was passion, switching from one genre to another within the same song. One moment melancholic, the next it would be exuberant and joyful, the following would be dramatic. It was this constant change throughout the album that made each listen refreshing and unique. No-one has come close to creating such a complex mixture of emotions that Bowie created.
When in doubt what to listen to, Hunky Dory has been one of my first picks of the piles of records I’ve collected. That unique quality that it has reaches beyond what most albums could only hope to hit. It has history, it has spirit, it has style, it has heart, it has passion: all things that can be described as a classic without all the cliché sentiment that goes alongside it. It may have been released at the beginning of the 70’s, but it is without a doubt one of the stand out albums from that decade. That’s what David Bowie did, no matter which decade of his career it was, he always stood out from the rest of the crowd with his own brand of whatever music he was playing. This album has become more than just a collection of songs jumbled in an order, Hunky Dory was the foundation on which I discovered that pop was just as valuable as any other genre and reaffirmed my faith and love for music.
CHARLIE HILL @
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Released in 1972, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust is critically regarded as Bowie’s masterpiece. Selling over 7.5 million records worldwide this concept album was of decent commercial success. But it’s not its sales figures that has embedded this record in music history, it is its legacy.
Inspiring tens of millions of people Ziggy Stardust’s influence has and will forever live on. I first heard this record in its entirety in 2014 when I was 19. Kind of late by many standards but hearing an album at a certain time alters how you hear it. I arguably wouldn’t have appreciated it for what it was having heard it at a different point in my life earlier or later.
Perhaps I missed out on formative years moulded around a David Bowie record, maybe I’d have spent my college years wearing a shimmering jumpsuit having heard it a few years earlier. But we’ll never know. All I know is that for me, like it is for millions, this record will forever be mounted firmly within an elite club of rock and roll music.
The daring concept of the record sees the adventures of Ziggy Stardust, an alien rock and roll star who came to spread the word of peace and hope to earth in the last five years of its existence before extinction. It was one of the first mainstream records to follow a particular concept along with a few Beatles albums. Since then artists such as Gorillaz, Queens of the Stone Age, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Flaming Lips and Kendrick Lamar have popularized the idea in modern music.
TRAFOZS opens with a personal favorite ‘Five Years’. A stunning balled that showcases Bowie’s unique and raw singing style. As the album goes on some of Bowie’s most beloved songs are heard, with ‘Starman’, ‘Moonage Daydream’ and ‘Suffragette City’ all blessing us with their presence.
For me, David Bowie has written some of the greatest songs of all time. Throughout his astonishing 50 year career David Jones changed and revolutionized music. He changed the world’s attitude towards sexuality and politics while simultaneously inspiring millions of people from an equally mundane background into believing they could to achieve greatness and to be free express themselves for who and what they are. Whether gay, straight or somewhere in-between, whether a theist, an atheist or somewhere in-between, Bowie paved the way for a world free of discrimination allowing artists of all walks of life creative freedom. Now we just need the rest of the world to catch up with him.
Without Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars the world would be a much duller place. Rest in peace to a true genius of this world. I will be eternally grateful to have walked on this earth with him.