Bowie and the Inevitability of Death

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

David Bowie as Aladdin Sane.

Contentious as this next line may be, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and state that we have reached a point where we are literally witnessing the death of music.

Already I'm sounding like a sad, ancient, washed up cynical music critic from the 90s with a beer belly, an extensive collection of faded Frank Zappa t-shirts, and a failed second-hand record shop but try to bear with me for a second.

In the past decade, Etta James, Lou Reed, Michael Jackson, Gerry Rafferty, BB King and so many others have all kicked the bucket. Musicians that I grew up listening to, that lived through the political turmoil of the 60s and 70s, partied through the 80s and 90s, and somehow survived the commercialised pop crap that perforated the 2000s; the ones who didn't perish as many others have, of drug and alcohol overdoses, have started to die of old age. It's sad to think that as the true greats of music pass on, today's industry continues to produce... well, I don't even know how to even explain the so-called "music" that blares from "94.2: complete and utter mass-produced musical clickbait" 24 hours a day. Even the odd exception (ya know, musicians who can actually sing or play instruments) are played and played and played until even hearing the first lines of Adele's Hello, a song that admittedly gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it, now makes me want to jam rusty nails into my ears.

It's blatantly obvious to anyone with a brain that music is dying, if not already dead. The lizard king ate and drank himself to oblivion, Joplin perished in an avalanche of depression and cheap liquor, most of the kings and queens of punk went out on a blaze of heroin and cheap thrills relatively early on, and Cobain, depending on who you ask, either shot himself or was shot, for the paper in his wallet. What we were left with... well, despite their obvious impact on the modern masses, you can hardly compare One Direction to The Beatles. It won't be long until Morrissey or even Patti Smith joins the hordes of the great unwashed up in the clouds and then I'll really be upset.

On top of everything, nobody buys albums anymore, they download singles off Pirate Bay. Listening to music is no longer an experience, it's a form of quick validation. Gone are the days where our parents got high in their garages in handmade Pink Floyd t-shirts and talked about the universe. A friend of mine used to say that we don't really listen to music anymore, like really listen. We watch. Arguably anyone can be on the radio these days as long as there is the possibility that they can be a). relatively good looking and/or b). can dance well. We've grown up and we've sold out.

And as of last night, we lost another.
The latest to ascend? David Bowie: the ultimate chameleon of rock and roll.

To be honest I think we were all thick enough to believe Bowie would never die. After all, he's already died and come back a thousand times. Over the years we've known him as the man who sold the world, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, the White Duke, the man who fell to earth, the lost Pierrot, Jareth the Goblin King: a songwriter, an outsider, a goddamn legend. The genius of Bowie is that none of us really know who he was which is precisely how he stayed relevant. Instead of fading into obscurity like so many have, he reinvented himself every decade or so to keep up with the times. And in that way he's become immortal, which I guess in a way is why we are all in shock that he's been battling cancer for the past eighteen months.

We're all human it seems, Bowie was just a man.
A courageous man ahead of his time none the less. He remains immortal of course, through his life and his music. A true hero and legend.

RIP Bowie, never forgotten. Not dead, but ascended. The Starman in the sky, at long last.





Until next time babes xx

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