Friday, February 25, 2011
David Bowie Hunky Dory (1972: RCA)
1. "Changes" - 3:37
2. "Oh! You Pretty Things" - 3:12
3. "Eight Line Poem" - 2:55
4. "Life on Mars?" - 3:53
5. "Kooks" - 2:53
6. "Quicksand" - 5:08
7. "Fill Your Heart" - 3:07
8. "Song for Bob Dylan" - 4:12
9. "Andy Warhol" - 3:56
10. "Queen Bitch" - 3:18
11. "The Bewlay Brothers" - 5:22
I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.
Hunk Dory is possibly the most inaccurate album title I've ever encountered. It suggests that the 1972 David Bowie album was just OK. A better title for this album, which I consider one of the greatest artistic endeavors of the 20th century, would be Perfection, certainly not Hunky Dory, or Just OK.
The place that Hunky Dory occupies in my heart and mind is similar to the place the mysterious black monolith occupies in the hearts and minds of the once-vegetarian man-apes from the beginning of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Using the language of science fiction and horror films ("the golden ones," "the nightmares came today," etc.) Bowie describes brilliant and artistic individuals, Bob Dylans and Andy Warhols, as aliens in thei world, powerful and passionate foreigners in our midst who face either crucifixion or coronation but nothing else. Cinema is the mechanism of the mind and memory plays out on the silver screen. I am forever captivated by this rumination on inspiration and the inspired.
Bowie preaches of a love that is both cosmic and erotic, a love that makes heroes out of herds, that celebrates all that is great about humanity, a love that is inseparable from peace, that looks down on the violent masses and sighs, "Oh man, look at those cavemen go." Is there life on Mars? Is that the real question we're forced to deal with? I don't think so. I think we need to ask whether there's life, intelligent life, that is, full and free life, on Earth. Even more: I think we need to prove that there's life on Earth. This is the legacy and the responsibility that Hunky Dory leaves us with, to prove that humans, the stewards of the planet Earth, are more than just OK.