Monday, August 3, 2009

Song of the Week #5 Bowie's "Subterraneans" and "Absolute Beginners"

I could easily pick 15 great songs by David Bowie, maybe more. Here are two very different songs that weren't hits, but stand out for me. They remind me of being a teenager in the late eighties, living in the far reaches of Scarborough, but trying desperately to be downtown as much as possible with my friends. My first boyfriend (sigh) made me a mixed tape that had "Subterraneans" on it. The song was from Bowie's brilliant album, Low. I kept that mixed tape for years and I remember going for night walks with my Sony Walkman as an adult and feeling a little nervous when "Subterraneans" would come on. I discovered this video on YouTube. It was artistically arranged by someone using pictures from what looks to be an abandoned mental institution. I love photos of this nature. Perfectly haunting images to complement the music.
The other song is "Absolute Beginners." It was a single from the film of the same name. I'm not sure why this song wasn't a bigger hit than it was. To me, it's an epic love song. The chorus is sublime. Sorry about the sound and picture quality, but the embedding was disabled on the better quality version on YouTube. I love the mysterious girl in the zebra suit who leads Bowie through the streets. What a great gig that must have been. "And you're paying me to do this?"

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I'm a slightly off-beat Toronto-area teacher who enjoys writing and photography. I come from a family of collectors and now I'm dragging my own family around to yard sales. It's just a bit of fun. Enjoy the scenes.