Saturday, April 04, 2009

Rock of Ages: David Bowie - "Life on Mars?" (1971)

Bowie is easily one of the greatest and most elusive artists of all time. His style has changed over the years frequently, yet almost every endeavor he embarks on leads to some amazing moments. His 1971 album Hunky Dory may be his most conventional record. A mixture of the glam rock to come and in beautiful psych pop, it really showcases more so than other records his range on one coherent disc. As is stated in the song "The Bewlay Brothers," Bowie is "Chameleon, Comedian, Corinthian and Caricature." The highlight of this album, which is used to perfection in the Wes Anderson film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Bowie's "Life on Mars?" is a mythically beautiful acheivment in pop music. I was always a fan of Bowie since a kid, but I must admit that my interest in diving deeper came from seeing The Life Aquatic and hearing such an amazing sweeping song. It came clear to me that there was a whole lot of stuff I had yet to hear. My parents only had a few Bowie records so I was more or less in tune with the compilation they had and the amazing Station to Station. Thanks to Wes Anderson for launching a huge renewed interest in one of my favorite artists from growing up.

What makes this track stand out to me is it's piano driven melody and Bowie's vocal performance. The sweeping orchestrations on the track add an amazing element of bombastic theatrics that bring the song to such great heights. Lyrically its cryptic as per usual Bowie, but something deep within the poetic nature of this song, Bowie describes the wanderlust and the excitement of the unknown in a very passionate and romantic way. "Life on Mars?" invaded my life and has never let go. The immediate enrapturing effect of the song still resonates every time that I hear the track. It stands as a cinematic track as well as a track that just hypnotizes the listener. Pick up Hunky Dory and await the greatness of "Life on Mars?" Life altering.

Up Next: Japanese Psych Rock care of Flower Travellin' Band

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Love Bowie. Love him!