Wednesday, February 20, 2013

David Bowie, "Moonage Daydream" (1972)


Here's a nice David Bowie song from the Ziggy Stardust album. I have never entirely made up my mind whether I believe it's an album that should be listened to entire, front to back the way intended, in respect of its thematic aspirations (not to say pretensions). But shuffle has obviated all such questions anyway. "Moonage Daydream" plays big with the central concept about the alien who becomes a rock star or something. "Point your ray gun to my head," it goes at one point, "press your space face close to mine," etc. A wheetling baroque bridge comes in at the break. Some real nice guitar play. It's got the starchy Bowie sumptuousness, that crinkly dandy in tails with the operatic sense of doominess he has always managed so convincingly. He sometimes maybe means to be something rather more (and "other") than a dandy, but back of it all, always, is ... a dandy. He knew it, we knew it, he knew we knew it, and most of us were pretty sure he knew we knew it. "Don't fake it baby, lay the real thing on me / The church of man, love / Is such a holy place to be." That's what he's singing, man. That's part of what made it work so well for so long, and still can. But as for this, my quandary about the album is revived when I look at the list of songs: "Five Years," "Starman," "Star," "Ziggy Stardust" (one begins to detect a theme), and of course "Suffragette City" and "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide." Just tremendous, iconic stuff, and still sounds so good with Mick Ronson and the stuffy noise they concocted and the whole story and fashion passion drama too. Just wonderful kooky stuff. And, at that, "Moonage Daydream" belongs. It's also kooky and wonderful.

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