Today, we should all take a wee moment to think about the fact that David Bowie is sixty-nine years young and has just released a brand new album. You can give it a spin right here:
Here at the Nudes we have long celebrated the exuberant weirdness of Bowie. “All the Young Dudes” became “All the Young Nudes” and virtually every week there is room for one of his tracks in the playlist. So, any excuse to prattle on aimlessly about the boy.
It is safe to say we are right into him. But which him? There are many Bowies, and we would all cuddle up to a different one. I’m a sucker for coked-up Berlin Bowie pouting his way through Heroes. Joanna prefers the theatrical cult of Aladdin Sane. Everyone loves a bit of Labyrinth, even if it does turn a bit creepy (and not in the sense that it was meant to).
At an age when most of his peers have either given up the game or resorted to ever-diminishing, tiresome retreads of their receding pasts, Bowie is still ruled by the bizarro. Sometimes there’s been a resounding miss, but even when Bowie has a ‘mare, it is at least an interesting ‘mare.
The obvious exception to the Bowie approach for Rock and Roll longevity is what I like to call the Lemmy Method: being fucking YOU and doing it hard to the point of caricature and/or death. Whilst it’s possible to find a smidgin of merit in this approach (I’d happily listen to Ace of Spades ten times in a row), it is a rather limited approach to the art.
Much like a life-model, throughout his career Bowie has chosen to constantly contort his form to provide a fresh, blank canvas upon which to produce his art. Regardless of whether a particular pose has proven to be successful or not, he is constantly driven to the next position, most likely contrasting massively with the previous.
It is fair to say that Bowie hasn’t always been at the cutting edge of musical innovation. He’s certainly jumped a few bandwagons in his time, but when he has done so, he usually ended up producing the defining sounds of any particular scene.
Part of his ability lies in surrounding himself with the right people. In a world full of chancers, Bowie’s roll call of collaborations (with the exception of that Mick Jagger shit-show) has been consistently on point. A good artist, when presented with a poor life-model, can still produce a good piece of art. A good artist working with good models will make something special.
And now, despite illness and with absolutely no need for a return (your legacy is safe pal), Bowie is back with a second album in three years. A second GOOD album in three years. It makes me go all tingly inside.
So, keep those tunes coming big guy, before we run out of fresh ones for our list.