Thursday, March 8, 2012
The 30 Best David Bowie songs!
(edit: This was originally a top 25 but I realized I forgot some important songs, so I expanded it to a top 30)
I was supposed to see David Bowie live on his Reality tour. Unfortunetly, after sitting through the opening band, Stereophonic, a worker died after falling off the rafters and the show was cancelled. I have not had the oppurtunity to see David Bowie live but his music has been a huge part of my childhood, adolescence, and currently. His music is timeless and combined aspects of so many different genres:folk, glam rock, pop, electronic music, etc... He released his first album in 1966 and his recording career has continued until 2005. It looks like he's retired though every year I hope he releases a new album. Even if he never records another note, he is a living legend. This list was so hard to compose and I know a week from now I will regret some of the listings, but here is stands: the top 30 David Bowie songs.
#30. Fascination from the album Young Americans (1975)
A song written by Luthor Vandross, a singer who would go on to have a pretty successful career on his own.
#29 Loving The Alien from the album Tonight (1984)
Bowie's take on religion and dieties. Best song from the album Tonight.
#28 Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing(reprise) from the album Diamond Dogs (1974)
Such a great vocal performance. I love how dark it sounds at the beginning.
#27 Letter to Hermione from the album Space Oddity (1969)
A very touching love song from the early days.
#26 Slow Burn from the album Heathen (2002)
Pete Townsend of the Who plays guitar on this. One of the best latter-day Bowie singles.
#25 Teenage Wildlife from the album Scary Monsters (1980)
David Bowie's square jab at those he felt were imitating him, specifically Gary Numan. This is one of Bowie's longest songs.
#24 Look Back In Anger from Lodger (1979)
One of the best Bowie videos directed by David Mallet. From the infamous Berlin trilogy. Brian Eno does some instruments on this one. The music video is based off The Portrait of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde.
#23 Cracked Actor from Aladdin Sane (1973)
Same title as the documentary of the same name. Based off the time Bowie lived in Los Angeles.
#22 Queen Bitch from Hunky Dory (1971)
A tribute to the Velvet Underground and Lou Reed, whom Bowie was a huge fan of. Arcade Fire has performed this with Bowie in New York.
#21 Time from Aladdin Sane (1973)
Very jazzy-cabaret type song. I love how different the entire Aladdin Sane album is.
#20 Wild Is The Wind from Station to Station (1976)
Yes, it's a cover, but what a cover.! Such an underrated album too. Everyone should listen to Station to Station right now.
#19 Time Will Crawl from Never Let Me Down (1987)
A forgettable album, this is the only song I listen to from it. Get the iSelect album, it has a kickass remix to this song.
#18 Space Oddity from Space Oddity (1969)
Bowie's first hit single, released to coincide with the moon landing. Talks about an astronaut in space. It doesn't get more classic than this.
#17 Rebel Rebel from Diamond Dogs (1975)
The best guitar intro. Love the videoclip to this with Bowie with his infamous eyepatch. Bowie saying goodbye to the glam scene.
#16 Lady Stardust from Ziggy Stardust (1972)
Tribute to Marc Bolan of T. Rex. A sad song, yet hopeful.
#15 I'm Afraid of Americans from Earthling (1997)
America taking over the world. Great video featuring Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails,who was touring with Bowie at the time. Check out the remixes also, there's even one featuring Ice Cube!
#14 Changes from Hunky Dory (1971)
ch-ch-ch-changes! Unbelievable song. Could be about adolescence, puberty, the changes going on all around us. Classic.
#13 The Supermen from The Man Who Sold The World (1970)
Bowie was reading a lot of Lovecraft and Nietzsche at the time and it shows. Look for the great live versions of this.
#12 Five Years from Ziggy Stardust (1972)
Apocalyptic visions, this song brings up strange visuals in my head. What a pretty, yet bleak, yet hopeful song all rolled into one. Great opening track.
#11 Be My Wife from Low (1977)
The most normal track on Low, this could be David's plea to Angela to stay with him. Very romantic song.
#10 After All from The Man Who Sold The World (1970)
Crowley and Nietzsche influence. This entire album feels influenced by them. As adults, we are all tiny children. This song sounds like a nightmare to me, it has a nice gothic atmosphere to it. I could see the influence on future goth bands on this track.
#09 Ziggy Stardust from Ziggy Stardust.(1972)
One of the most recognizable riffs ever. Bauhaus does this song justice. One of Bowie's best known tracks and for good reason.
#08 Modern Love from Let's Dance (1983)
The most "pop" song on this list but it's much deeper than that. This song is about relationships and the cycles of it. Best song from this album.
#07 Under Pressure from Hot Space (1991) & Let's Dance reissue (1995)
Duet with Queen. Why can't we give love one more chance? Sadly, I can't hear this without hearing Ice Ice baby.
#06 Rock N' Roll Suicide from Ziggy Stardust (1972)
Last song on Ziggy Stardust. Bowie reaching out and perhaps killing off the Ziggy character.
#05 The Man Who Sold The World from The Man Who Sold The World (1971)
Such a bizarre song. More Lovecraftian influence I imagine. A very schizophrenic song, perhaps dealing with multiple personalities. Nevertheless, I adore this song, Nirvana did a moving performance for their Unplugged performance.
#04 Ashes To Ashes from Scary Monsters (1980)
Bowie revealing that Major Tom was a junky. David Mallet directed this video, with influence from The Wizard of Oz. A goodbye to childhood and innocence. It's actually a rather sad song.
#03 Moonage Daydream from Ziggy Stardust (1972)
A whole mess of euphemisms. More about Ziggy's journey, awesome guitar solo by Mick Ronson. Listen to the live version, it beats the album version.
#02 Station to Station from Station to Station (1976)
Bowie has no recollection of recording this album. Shame, it is one of his best. The title track is over 10 minutes long and I wish it was longer. Lovecraft, Kabbalah, and gnostic influences abound. Drugs,love, Tantric magick, Buddhist philosophy. It's all here.. The definition of epic.
and at #1!!!
#01 Life On Mars? from Hunky Dory (1971)
I think this might be my favorite Bowie album, judging by my choices. A simple piano plays throughout. Mick Rock directed a simple video focusing on Bowie wearing tons of makeup. Bowie had this to say about it. "A sensitive young girl's reaction to the media". In 1997 he added "I think she finds herself disappointed with reality ... that although she's living in the doldrums of reality, she's being told that there's a far greater life somewhere, and she's bitterly disappointed that she doesn't have access to it" Escapism, and the best Bowie song out there.
(edit: There are too many great songs from David Bowie, here are some honorable mentions)
#5 Soul Love from Ziggy Stardust (1972)
Brilliant song about different kinds of love, mother and son, boy and girl, priest and God. It really is quite witty. It also talks about feeling unloved while seeing all those around you in love.
#4 China Girl from Let's Dance (1983)
A song written by Iggy Pop and David Bowie. This didn't make my original top 30 because I really prefer the Iggy Pop version. It so much more raw and naked. Still a great pop song.
#3 Strangers When We Meet from Outside (1995)
Very beautiful video directed by the great Samuel Bayer. It reminds me of earlier Bowie songs. It talks about two people meeting and one has seen the world and he's talking to someone who hasn't yet experienced it all. Touching.
#2 Velvet Goldmine from Ziggy Stardust reissue (1990)
Why this song was not released on the Ziggy Stardust album is beyond my understanding. I read somewhere Bowie said it was "too provocative", which makes me wonder when he cared about appearing too provocative!? Check out the movie Velvet Goldmine also.
#1 Golden Years from Station to Station (1976)
Great song. Covered by Marilyn Manson also. Watch Bowie's performance on this song on Soul Train. High as hell! A very fun, disco-type song. Another plea to Angela Bowie to stay with him.