Song of the Day #3,122: ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’ – David Bowie

bowie_blackstar2016 was the year we lost David Bowie, and so many other legendary entertainers.

But it was also the year I truly discovered Bowie. His death, just days after the release of his final album, Blackstar, prompted me to dive into his catalog and buy more than a dozen of his most-revered albums. I chronicled the process here on the blog.

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Song of the Day #2,941: ‘Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)’ – David Bowie

david_bowie_scary_monstersMy 4th favorite album of 1980 is one I didn’t hear until 36 years later — just a few months ago, in fact.

As I wrote in June while marching my way through half of Bowie’s catalog, Scary Monsters is widely considered the last great album he ever made. It capped off a remarkable run that spanned more than a dozen ground-breaking records in just over 10 years.

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Song of the Day #2,881: ‘Blackstar’ – David Bowie

bowie_blackstarMy exploration of David Bowie’s catalog comes to an end with a 33-year leap to his final album, Blackstar, released on his 69th birthday, just two days before he died.

It’s hard to view Blackstar without the lens of Bowie’s death, especially when it seems he was very much aware that this would be his final artistic statement. Lyrics such as “Something happened on the day he died,” “look up here, I’m in heaven” and “I’m trying to, I’m dying to” are powerful and bittersweet because he recorded and released them so close to his death.

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Song of the Day #2,880: ‘Without You’ – David Bowie

bowie_lets_danceThe album that many Bowie fans pinpoint as David Bowie’s first big miss, a soulless exercise in commercialism, also happens to be the biggest success of his career.

1983’s Let’s Dance was indeed crafted with a broader audience in mind. Bowie described it as “a refocusing of Young Americans” and the singles do share the catchy exuberance of that album’s title track.

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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.

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Song of the Day #2,878: ‘D.J.’ – David Bowie

david_bowie_lodgerThe third album in David Bowie’s Berlin trilogy doesn’t have the critical reputation of the first two, but for my money it’s the best of the lot.

Lodger gets away from the Brian Eno-influence instrumentals and instead offers up 10 tightly constructed avant-garde pop songs. Instrumentally dense but melodically clean, these tracks sound like they could play at an underground college bar on the moon.

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Song of the Day #2,877: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ – David Bowie

david_bowie_heroesWe pick up the David Bowie retrospective in the middle of his Berlin phase, with the release of 1977’s “Heroes”. On this album, Bowie followed the same pattern he established on Low, placing a selection of electronic rock songs on Side A and ambient instrumentals on Side B.

I like “Heroes” better than its predecessor, in part because the balance is tilted a little more toward the songs than the instrumentals.

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