Bowie’s the Best: Are We Allowed to Think Otherwise?

January 15, 2013 12:00 pm

With all the major newspapers salivating with excitement, it has rarely been easier to overhear the naysayers and the voices of reason that have arisen in the public. I don’t remember ever seeing the press so blissfully united as they seem to be on the topic of Bowie’s first release in a decade. The news of the single was received with worldwide excitement and frenzy. Stop what you’re doing: The Thin White Duke is back.

But why is it so important that the 66-year-old should release a new song? Surely, we’re over the comebacks of the “gods” and “fathers” of rock’n’roll. Most of the time we just wish they’d had the common sense to stop at their prime. But there’s something about Bowie. And there’s something endearingly sweet about the way in which the queen of over-the-top and the king of spectacle used subtlety to wiggle his way back into the limelight.

David Bowie I come from a family of (punk) rockers and for all of us, Bowie’s unexpected little present was a big deal. My parents grew up in the 80s Yugoslavia where rock music was a way of flipping your middle finger at everything that was wrong. Bowie, or better still, Bowie’s persona played a major role in their lives. I remember my mother telling me 16 years ago that if she could’ve married any man, it would’ve been Bowie. My father, who is normally quick to dismiss at the first sign of mediocrity, still hasn’t reached his ruling. Bowie’s actions still carry weight.

So is his single any good? I don’t know. And I don’t know if there’s anyone out there who could judge impartially. Strangely enough, that’s not even the point. BBC Radio 2 had a short discussion on whether there was a nationwide ban on saying anything bad about Bowie and that’s when it hit me. Bowie’s influence and charisma has spanned for over 40 years and a generation or two. He is in a way a part of social consciousness. Now that he’s back after 10 years, no one really cares about what’s wrapped up inside the present. There’s no one forcing our hand. We’re just happy to have him back.


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