Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Favorite Album - HaZmora's Contribution

David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

I've loved this album since I first heard it when I was 16.  I think I was maybe first drawn in by the idea of a "rock opera" about an alien David Bowie that has 5 years to explore earth (or whatever the "plot" is about - yes you can read the plot as Bowie thought about it in 1972 on Wikipedia).  I am that kind of nerd.  But as I've revisited this album year after year (and I have), I find new things to love: the wonderful theatrical build of the songs, the echo effects peppered throughout, the delightful cabaret piano work on Lady Stardust, Mick Ronson's spacey guitar solos, Bowie backing himself up vocally and on sax, and even the totally superfluous string parts on Starman. Apart from its later influence on entire genres and later musical theatre works about exploration/alienation (most specifically, the entirety of Hedwig and the Angry Inch), I still can hear this album again and again with fresh ears.  It helps that the lyrics are abstract (I think Bowie was using his style of lyric construction borrowed from Burroughs) and alternating triumphant songs with really depressing songs about loneliness, sometimes within the very same song (Rock 'n Roll Suicide, anyone?). It's no wonder that angsty teenagers keep coming back for more even 40 years later.   Bowie did a similar impressive feat on Lou Reed's Transformer, but that work is a hybrid of the style from this album with the unique voice of Lou Reed retelling his tales of his time with the Factory. Ziggy Stardust is far less familiar in its lyrical content but yet musically very emotionally resonant. It's a weird but effective mix. I can tearily sing along to the whole thing after a stiff drink or two but can't tell you what the hell Moonage Daydream is about and I'm totally fine with that.

HaZmora is an avid cultural consumer in Chicago whom in previous lives was a classical pianist and clarinetist, and also a rapper.

Click here for The McBee's Contribution
Click here for Le Drgon's Contribution
Click here for The Brannock's Contribution

Click here for The Danny's Contribution

Click here for The Drioux's contribution

Click here for El Reyes's contribution
Click here for My contribtuion

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