Movies, music, cartoons, comics, food, and television. That's just the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.
I didn’t know our birthdays were so close to each other.
In honor of David Bowie’s birthday I thought it would be only right to start a new series of articles dedicated to my favorite albums of all time. These albums are not only some of the best ever created, but they take me back to a time where I would listen to them during crucial times in my life. They’re those albums where you lay down on your bed and think about what is going on in your life and somehow, someway, they help you get through it. As if the singer is speaking directly to you, taking you somewhere else in the world. The guitar rocks you side to side, either gently bringing you harmony in your life or pushing you against the wall, telling you to wake up. They are those albums that will forever be with you.
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was the first David Bowie album that I ever purchased. Everyday my mom would drive me to school and was often in control of whatever music was playing on the radio. One day she put in a Best of Bowie album. (The one where you see different variations of his face on the cover.) His music sounded so different from song to song, he didn’t really have a “sound”. Besides his voice all of his music varied on what he was doing musically at that time. Eventually I would steal/borrow my mom’s CD and listen to it on my own. It came to a point where I couldn’t stand it anymore, I needed to listen to a full Bowie album, it didn’t matter which. (Well, it sort of did, I had only a couple bucks on me at the time.) I went on amazon.com and looked up David Bowie and read about all of his albums. One stood out like a sore thumb. That album was The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
By the way, also one of the best album covers of all time.
As I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for songs that tell a story, so how can I not love this album? An alien comes to earth to save the human race and ends up being a rock star. Jesus Christ, that’s fucking awesome. Without hesitation I went to my local independent record store, Lovell’s, and bought the album. When I got home I got my CD player, relaxed on my bed and pressed play. I don’t remember what went through my mind at the time, but I know I loved the album. I mean, I loved that album a lot. It used to be one of the albums I would listen to before I went to bed. Every night I would lay down, close my eyes and listen to an album, I spent many nights just enjoying this album like it was a gift to all of mankind. And you know what? It kind of is.
Soon enough I began to study the album, reading the lyrics to each song as the the album was playing. (Sometimes singing along, as I often did when I felt comfortable.) I started to begin to relate to different songs for different reasons. One song in particular was Soul Love. At around this time I had just come out of a relationship with a girl named Jessica. Before this I knew what it felt like to love someone, but I had never felt what it was like to be loved by someone. It was a feeling greater than any drug, I can’t even really put it into words. It’s like being able to fly, I felt free. And although High School sucked I had someone, somewhere, who had feelings for me. Jessica was that person to bring me to that new high. When she left however, it was like having your organs ripped from your body. There are words I can put to this feeling, because I felt it as it happened, and I wanted to remember that feeling. It’s when you can feel your heart crash into your stomach and shatter into a trillion pieces. A feeling of chaos, anger, confusion, and of course sadness. I wouldn’t wish this feeling on my worse enemies, however I feel that everyone has gone through it at least once. That’s just a part of life.
Soul Love, to me at least, sang of five different types of love. One, of a mother’s love, a kind of love that is unconditional. A love only a woman can understand. The second, a kind of love for your country. Something learned, something you take pride in, something you are willing to die for so that others could also share in your love. The third, of new love. Discovering how amazing it is to love someone and be loved back. Fourth is soul love, finding peace with your maker. That through it you can find love for yourself and others around you. Finally there is the love of love, and since the idea of love can bring you no real satisfaction in life it is fake and only a facade.
Love is careless in its choosing
Sweeping over cross a baby
Love descends on those defenseless
Idiot love will spark the fusion
Inspirations have I none
Just to touch the flaming dove
All I have is my love of love
And love is not loving
Suddenly things began to make sense and suddenly all of that sorrow began to slowly go away. I was holding on to that love for so long that in the end I was only loving the memory. I finally begun to understand that her leaving me wasn’t out of spite, it had to happen because we had to live our lives. No matter how close we felt to each other we were still miles away in life. She was smart enough to let go before it hurt her and because of Bowie I was able to finally accept the truth and move on with my life.
Thank you, Bowie.
Some of Bowie’s best writing is on the this album. Every time I listen to Starman I could feel the emotion of someone who is very young realizing that an alien was visiting earth. It wasn’t like a movie where everyone was scared, they were excited! They wanted to see what was going on and they wanted to be there when it happened. They even told each other not to tell their dads because then they’d end up stuck in their house while all the action was going on outside. It really puts you right in the story as it’s going on. Each song links up somehow to tell the story perfectly. You know there isn’t a lot of concept albums in the world these days. There was a time where every band had a concept album and that was damn amazing. Someone needs to bring the concept album back to Rock ‘n’ Roll. Just saying. (By the way, this may also be my favorite concept album ever.)
I don’t think I could ever feel whole in my life without this album in my possession. If the human race ever dies out and in a million years aliens come to investigate the earth and who these ‘humans’ were, I hope there is a copy of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars waiting for them. I can only imagine what would go through their mind as they listened. “Were they really waiting for us?” This album really is a masterpiece. There is no question about it. If you’ve never heard this album before then I demand you listen to it right now. There should be no reason why you’re not listening to it and enjoying Bowie’s art.