I truly believe you can get a good sense of a person by asking them what their favorite David Bowie album is.
The reasons for this belief are as follows:
A. It reveals mutual interests: The fact that they have a favorite David Bowie album already tells me that they are someone I am willing to invest time into. Mutual music appreciation is a key factor for me in all interpersonal relationships.
B. It’s readily available information: It’s been my experience that this factoid is something people are willing and eager to share. So much so that I rarely have to pose the question to get an answer, most people will just tell me. (As I was writing this post and listening to Starman a coworker overheard and told me that was his sister’s favorite song.)
C. It’s Specific: Bowie’s work has so many different nuances from album to album that when it’s narrowed down to one, all being, all powerful favorite you can see into their soul somehow. For example, in one of my college journalism classes we were asked to interview a fellow student and write a short feature piece about them. The boy I interviewed was a musician. When I asked him about his influences he immediately offered up Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the World as one of his biggest inspirations and influences. He spoke so enthusiastically about this album that I had to go back to my dorm and listen to the whole thing BECAUSE I CAN’T IGNORE ANY ALBUM THAT SOMEONE CLAIMS HAS “CHANGED THEIR LIFE” and I won’t ignore it. I just can’t. So when I listened to the album everything else that I knew about the boy came into place. That Bowie album is full of dark unanswered questions. It’s a way heavier sound than he usually sends out so it made perfect sense that a young man who was uncertain of his career path and desperately digging for fulfillment would relate to this album. I feel like knowing this bit of information gave me a small insight into this kid’s life (while also expanding my music knowledge) and so I have held tight to this theory ever since.
Call me a hypocrite but as much as I believe in this theory, I still can’t say I have one singular Bowie work that I would offer as my pinnacle of Bowiedom, simply because I like it all. Even though the world lost this master of his craft today his work will continue to inspire and ignite a love of music into everyone that hears it for a bazillion years (and I don’t even consider that hyperbole).
So, as is WJ tradition, here is a playlist to honor an incredible man and all he has done.
. . . and the best use of Bowie in a movie.
P.S. Pulling a close second is Knight’s Tale’s use of Golden Years
“I don’t know where I’m going but I promise it won’t be boring.”
-David Bowie (1947-2016)