Top Five Bowie Songs (At the Moment)
Bowie's albums will be re-released in three groups; no word on any bonuses other than deluxe liner notes. Their UK release dates are January 16, February 20, and March 12. The first group includes Aladdin Sane, Hunky Dory, The Man Who Sold The World, Pin-Ups, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, and Space Oddity.
My Top Five David Bowie Songs (At The Moment):
1. "Oh! You Pretty Things" (from Hunky Dory, 1971)
2. "Rebel Rebel" (from Diamond Dogs, 1974)
3. "Ashes to Ashes" (from Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), 1980)
4. "Loving the Alien" (from Tonight, 1984)
5. "This Is Not America" (from the soundtrack to The Falcon and the Snowman, 1985)
"Rebel Rebel" was the easiest call. Throw in "Oh! You Pretty Things!" and apparently Bowie's "screw you Mom and Dad!" oeuvre really resonates with me. But I prefer to think of both songs as embodying the brash, reckless spirit of rock.
I remember singing along to "Rebel Rebel" as a kid; I think the melody held as much appeal as its naughtiness (exceedingly mild by today's standards). I also remember watching the "Ashes to Ashes" video, very interested in the costumes and the symbolism.
Bowie's strong fascination with space and aliens (and the concept of "the other", another kind of alien) figures heavily in the list, so make of that what you will.
And alienation, whether caused by addiction ("Ashes to Ashes") or by the divisiveness of organized religion and religious warfare ("Loving the Alien") is another common theme among the songs, but alienation and rebelliousness are a common theme in rock.
While I struggled a bit in choosing the last song, I don't much care for some of Bowie's most popular songs, like "Heroes", and so never considered them. I don't find "Heroes" nearly as interesting as some of his other songs, especially after the first 500 times I heard it (i.e. it's been overplayed).
I left collaborations off the list, but for fun, I'll single out one I hate and one I love.
The hated one: "Dancing in the Streets", a cover demolished by Bowie and Mick Jagger. As if the song wasn't horrible enough, they made an intensely cheesy video to accompany it. In it both come off like very bad lounge singers convinced this is their big break. Yes, Mick. I'm ready for a brand new beat. So please make this song stop and bring on new singers.
The one I love: Bowie remade his own song, "Hallo Spaceboy" with The Pet Shop Boys, to much better effect: