Fascination in free association

My ranking of Bowie's albums is always mutating, but some clusters are largely stable. Though the man never made a bad album, a rank and thoughts in free association are still possible and beautifully subjective, if not arbitrary. Fascination is not so much for the man, as for the art. But can they be separated? Anyone who can produce such moving art is fascinating, and there are not many at all who did.

  1. Discovery/Rediscovery/Rebirth/Resurrection of Fascination
    • Scary Monsters. The first time. Punk with subtlety. My brother. Japan. Silhouettes and shadows,watch the revolution.
    • Young Americans. Pivot. Disco before disco. Vandross. Not a myth left from the ghetto.
    • Outside. Genius can be packaged. The future. The clutch of life and the fist of love
    • Blackstar. Requiem. Jazz. You know I'll be free.
  2. The beat, myth and fuel for alien Fascination
    • Station to Station. Funk the autobahn. Better than Jazz. My love is like the wind.
    • Diamond Dogs. Sublime misery. Orwell. It's a sweet thing.
    • Ziggy Stardust. Theater. Glam. Kabuki. Death. You're not alone.
    • Let's Dance. 80's. Life. Race. Dance. Iggy Pop. A plague I call a heartbeat.
  3. Changes, and the best selling show. One of these would make another's artist's whole career .
    • Alladin Sane. Outrageous. Duality. Knocking me dead.
    • Heroes. Intimate. Europe. Rebirth. We can beat them, forever and ever.
    • Hunky Dory. Strange Fascination. Change. Sailors fighting in the dance hall.
  4. The underdogs and the surprise and comfort of maturity.
    • Tonight. Reggae. Pop. Health. God Only Knows.
    • Black tie white noise. Love. Marriage. Black Music. They say jump.
    • Earthling. Exploration. Industrial Aggression. Piano. Now I'm older than movies.
    • Hours. Looking back. Summary.  The pretty things are going to hell.
    • Reality. Maturity. Bring me the disco king.
  5. Retreat and Experimentalism to love.
    • Low. Europe. Eno. Electro Darkness. Blue, blue, electric blue.
    • Lodger. There is a World outside.  Klaus Nomi. It's time we should be going.
  6. Confused, it's only Bowie and there's nothing we can do.
    • The Next Day. Rock. Reminiscing.  The darkest hour and your voice is new.
    • Heathen. 9/11. Melancholy.  And nothing has changed, And everything has changed.
    • Never Let me Down. Glass Spiders. Hair Bands.  And he never came down, He just flew till he burst.
    • The Man who sold the World. Glam. Rock.  Who knows? not me, We never lost control.
    • Space Oddity. Folk. Prog Rock.  Planet Earth is blue, And there's nothing I can do.
    • Pin UpsYou're out there playing your high class games of sorrow.
    • David Bowie. Theater.  Don't be afraid of the man in the moon, because it's only me.





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Young Americans

It is curious to see how each country highlights different Bowie albums in their tributes. In Portugal, for instance, you can hardly find any top list with Young Americans, which has become my favorite Bowie album---though that changes with mood all the time, as the man himself. The reason for the obscurity of this album in Portugal is most likely due to the revolution going on there when it was released, as the radio ONLY played folk revolutionary crap (why do you think Punk and Disco clicked so much with me?) Interesting to note that after killing Ziggy, Bowie never again released a straight Rock album under his own name (only under Tin Machine). Young Americans sees him move to Philly Soul and Funk, and indeed a preview of Disco---listen to John, I'm Only Dancing (again) recorded in 1974 for the Young American sessions but only released in 1979 when Disco was already in full force. This was his "Rock is Dead" album; from here he went on to more Funk (Station to Station), European electronic music (The Berlin trilogy), Punk and New Romantic New Wave (Scary Monsters; see all the Blitz kids on the Ashes to Ashes video), Disco again (Let's Dance, with Nile Rodgers), Pop/Reggae/Jazz (Tonight, Never Let me Down, Black Tie White Noise), Electronica (Outside, Earthling), and settling to an all of the above melange (Hours, Heathen, Reality, The Next Day) before his final Jazz Blackstar album (his first musical interest). So Young Americans remains a pivotal album of great musicianship: Carlos Alomar on guitar, Luther Vandross on vocals and amazing vocal arrangements (see him in the video below), and John Lennon's presence everywhere (Fame, Across the Universe). So, Portugal, um album para dançar uma revolução alternativa que devem redescobrir.

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The Rock God who outlived and outperformed Rock is dead. It breaks my heart that there will be no more music from him, even if he left us a stupendous farewell with blackstar---innovative, haunting, beautiful. Listening to all the music, all the emotion, all the tributes, however, there is a tremendous sense of warmth and indeed freedom in all the bluebird left behind. May you truly be free. Your love song flies over mountains, sails over heartaches, just like the films now. It's absolutely true, as the Pet Shop Boys said, we are all your children.

You know, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now ain’t that just like me
Oh I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Oh I’ll be free
Ain’t that just like me


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