In honor of Halloween, please enjoy this absolutely perfect video for the BÖC’s “Godzilla” made by one “TohoMojo”:
And what the hell, while we’re at it, why not this one for “Joan Crawford” (has risen from the grave)? It’s in dubious taste but why should we, the illuminated, let that bother us?
Today’s Bowie song is “Heat,” which I quite like. It’s atmospheric, unsettling, and filled with gnomic utterances like “I am a seer/I am a liar.” Apparently it is highly influenced by the works of Japanese author Yukio Mishima, a fascinating human whose portrait David painted while he was living in Berlin. “Mishima is considered one of the most important writers of the 20th century,” says the Wikipedia. Then also:
On 25 November 1970, Mishima and four members of his militia entered a military base in central Tokyo, took its commandant hostage, and unsuccessfully tried to inspire the Japan Self-Defense Forces to rise up and overthrow Japan’s 1947 Constitution (which he called “a constitution of defeat”). After his speech and screaming of “Long live the Emperor!,” he committed seppuku.
Like I said: an unusual cat. I’ve never read his books; I may someday if I live long enough.
But the real ur-text of “Heat” is Scott Walker’s song “The Electrician,” which appeared on the Walker Brothers’ 1978 album Nite Flights. Both Bowie and Brian Eno were huge admirers of Nite Flights — though really just of the four songs written by Scott; the ones written by the other Walkersare forgettable — and particularly of “The Electrician.” (more…)
Today circumstances conspired to try to break my posting streak, but fortunately the next song up is another lesser one — even more of a footnote than “Like a Rocket Man,” “Born in a UFO” shares with it a space theme and a general atmosphere of goofiness.
O’Leary cites four references here:
And that’s already probably more analysis than this inoffensive but very slight number deserves. This video is pretty half-assed too. Well, punch my ticket and let’s move on.
“Cocaine is a hell of a drug.”
“I’d found a soul-mate in that drug.”
Chris O’ Leary sums up “Like a Rocket Man” — a decidedly minor yet rather fascinating song from the Next Day sessions — thusly:
The title’s a dig at an Elton John single Bowie had groused about being a “Space Oddity” ripoff from the day it charted; the verse melody is a near-actionable steal of the Beatles’ “Help“; the lyric references (again) the Kinks’ “Days,” while much of it’s a brutal recollection of what it was like to be a cocaine addict in the mid-Seventies.
As in “Fascination,” Bowie personifies cocaine(quite literally: “Little Wendy Cocaine”) as the consuming passion of his life in the Young Americans/Station to Station years.
He does so with “a deceptively bouncy beat,” as Tony Visconti pointed out, adding, “but lyrically it goes to more dark places, and this time David sings it with a cheeky smile.” And indeed, lyrics like these would hit differently in a different musical context; imagine what The Wall–era Pink Floyd might have done with them: (more…)
“To the last, I grapple with thee; from Hell’s heart, I stab at thee; for hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”
—Khan Noonian Singh
There’s a lot of speculation online about who the delectable poison kiss “You Feel So Lonely You Could Die” is directed at. Some people say Morrissey, but I find that hard to believe; would Bowie really expend so much time and effort on a “feud” that was now ancient history — on Morrissey, of all people? I always thought it might be Osama bin Laden, but I have no proof of that. It’s a futile exercise, innit, to try to figure out what David Bowie was thinking.
He certainly doesn’t pull any punches here. “I can see you as a corpse/hanging from a beam,” he says, then later:
Oblivion shall own you
Death alone shall love you
I hope you feel so lonely
You could die
At times “YFSLYCD” is so over-the-top vitriolic that it becomes a bit campy, spilling over into “Pug Nosed Face” territory. In fact the two are almost like two versions of the same song, one played for laughs, one delivered with a straight face. (more…)