By EMMIE Staff
Through his long and legendary career, David Bowie’s music and appearance took on many forms. Each new version of Bowie was original, influential and tremendously entertaining. His discography is too large and too full of great work to be adequately summarized here but, today, on the anniversary of his death, EMMIE remembers the life and work of David Bowie by reflecting on just a few of his songs that touched us most.
“I first heard David Bowie’s song ‘Changes’ on the soundtrack to the wonderful Shrek 2. That version was performed as a duet with Australian artist Butterfly Boucher, but it still served as my first known encounter with Bowie. The song is the embodiment of a time in my life that was filled with change. I was grappling with the recent divorce of my parents around the time I first saw the movie, and ‘Changes’ struck me as a sign things would work themselves out eventually. It was years before I encountered Bowie’s music again via Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, but ‘Changes’ left an impression on me I can’t wholly put into words. Looking back, it was a taste-defining moment; it was a song that had an impact so great in a time so memorable. It went on to shape my relationship with music — and change — for the rest of my life.” – Logan Rude, Concerts Editor
“Modern Love” (1983)
“A radio station where I grew up had an unusual passion for playing David Bowie’s song ‘Modern Love.’ It felt like everyday driving, my last summer before college, I’d hear the song’s pounding rhythm and Bowie’s desperate and soulful voice. ‘Modern Love’ transforms from an uneasy rumination to a rambunctious party in its span as Bowie addresses issues of faith and his position as a performer. On its exterior ‘Modern Love’ is a foot-tapping song full of verve and joy, but the lyrics themselves are challenging and not entirely optimistic. Regardless, when I hear ‘Modern Love’ I can’t help but be brought back to that summer, before all my duties were set in stone, flying down the highway in open summer air, wind whipped and with Bowie’s voice belting out ‘modern lo-o-ove’ again and again in the song’s closing seconds. I hope he’d forgive me for taking it at its surface level, because the surface level of ‘Modern Love’ is as fun as music comes.” – Christian Zimonick, Features Editor
“David Bowie’s death never really set in for me until I heard ‘Lazarus’ for the first time. The song, released just two days before his death, opens with the line ‘Look up here, I’m in heaven.’ In the wake of his death, hearing ‘Lazarus’ was like a supernatural experience, like Bowie was talking directly to me from heaven. Bowie’s death was breaking news to the world, but to him it was clearly a drawn out and thought over experience. ‘I’ve got scars that can’t be seen/ I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen/ Everybody knows me now,’ Bowie’s voice sounded out as his obituary ran on every news site across the world. At the time of its release, ‘Lazarus’ felt like Bowie was looking down, watching the world react to his death and to his final swan song. ‘Oh, I’ll be free/ just like that bluebird/ Oh, I’ll be free/ Ain’t that just like me?” – Mitchell Rose, Staff Writer