Song of the Day #2,879: ‘Ashes to Ashes’ – David Bowie

david_bowie_scary_monstersDavid Bowie entered the 80s with the release of Scary Monsters, an album that brought the experimental rock of his Berlin phase into more commercial territory. It’s a far more accessible album but still an adventurous one.

It’s also, according to popular consensus, the last great album Bowie ever recorded. Just about every one of his future releases was compared unfavorably to this one, or more charitably called his best work since Scary Monsters.

It’s odd to think that the 14 albums released in the first 14 years of Bowie’s career are widely considered his best work. The man still had 36 years (though only 13 albums) in him after this.

Of course, that seems to be the pattern with most musical legends. They make their name with an early burst of genius before settling into a more comfortable and unremarkable groove.

But back to Scary Monsters. Lots of good stuff here, including a song that was new to me and quickly became my second favorite Bowie track. That’s ‘Ashes to Ashes,’ today’s SOTD, which brings back Major Tom in a more world-weary form.

[Verse 1]
Do you remember a guy that’s been in such an early song
I’ve heard a rumour from Ground Control
Oh no, don’t say it’s true
They got a message from the Action Man
“I’m happy, hope you’re happy too
I’ve loved all I’ve needed to love
Sordid details following”
The shrieking of nothing is killing
Just pictures of Jap girls
In synthesis and I ain’t got no money and ain’t got no hair
But I’m hoping to kick but the planet it’s glowing

Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
We know Major Tom’s a junkie
Strung out in heaven’s high
Hitting an all-time low

[Verse 2]
Time and again I tell myself
I’ll stay clean tonight
But the little green wheels are following me
Oh no, not again
I’m stuck with a valuable friend
“I’m happy, hope you’re happy too”
One flash of light, but no smoking pistol
I never done good things
I never done bad things
I never did anything out of the blue
Want an axe to break the ice
Wanna come down right now

Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
We know Major Tom’s a junkie
Strung out in heaven’s high
Hitting an all-time low

My mother said
To get things done
You’d better not mess
With Major Tom

One thought on “Song of the Day #2,879: ‘Ashes to Ashes’ – David Bowie

  1. Dana says:

    I’m surprised this was new to you, as this was one of the first videos on heavy rotation in the early days of MTV.

    Here again, though, my familiarity only runs as deep as the hit/video. Sounds like I need to check out the rest of the album.

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