Top Fives, Bowie Edition

First of all, can we just take a second to appreciate 1960s Bowie?
(The original YouTube video got taken down; I was referring to the first two and a half minutes of this film:)

Besides the whole “actual name being David Jones” thing…there’s something very Davy-esque about Bowie’s performance in this video. Or am I just mistaking it for 60s camp? (Note: I reeeeaaaally want to see the rest of this promotional film, but Google’s telling me the only options for buying it are on VHS, video CD, or Laserdisc. I’m still considering it, though.)

Anyway, here are some Top Fives:

Top 5 Bowiesongs (one for each decade):
1960s: Space Oddity. More 60s glory
1970s: Rock ‘n Roll Suicide. Picking one song from the 70s is near impossible, but here’s one of my absolute favorites. So glam!
1980s: Ashes to Ashes. Appropriately, the sequel to Space Oddity
1990s: Strangers When We Meet. From The Buddha of Suburbia. I wish I could find a better quality video, because this one looks very intriguing.
2000s: Girl Loves Me. I kinda cheated and combined the 00s and 10s. This is my favorite song from Blackstar. It’s just so edgy and cool. Here are the lyrics if you’re curious.

Top 5 Out of Context Pictures
This is hard because even out of context, most ridiculous Bowie pictures look totally natural. For example, David playing ping pong in a dingy basement while wearing a shiny kimono…I mean…yeah, seems right to me. This is the best I could do:

1. Too bad this tumblr never really took off
2. Creeper Trent Reznor in background
4. Hi.
5. I do not know the actual context of this. Someone fill me in.

Top 5 Versions of Dancing in the Street:
Has it been long enough that I can post this again?
1. Music-less music video. Check out this guy’s other stuff, it’s hilarious.
2. Slow. Great for in-depth analysis.
3. Metal. Today I learned what Djent is!
4. Cotton Eye Joe. Fits perfectly.
5. Backstage version…even though it ruins my hypothesis of Mick and David recording this with one camera and a boombox

Top 5 Videos That Make Me Miss David Bowie. :'(
1. Ashes to Ashes, requested by 5-year-old George (the kid’s got good taste)
2. Everyone Says Hi. Here’s your 2000s song, btw. This one is so sad/sweet. Also, David looks impossibly gorgeous at this show.
3. Dick Cavett Interview. Favorite hair era, right here. This interview is awkward and wonderful and just so 70s.
4. Imagine. <3
5. Labyrinth Ballroom Scene. Best scene of the whole movie. Fun fact: this scene was choreographed by Cheryl/Gates McFadden of Dr. Crusher fame.

Speaking of Labyrinth, we recently saw it at the Castro, a.k.a. the best place to watch classic and/or cult movies in San Francisco. People came dressed up in full Jareth costume, and one girl wore an elaborate ballgown just like Jennifer Connelly’s in the ballroom scene above. The crowd erupted into cheers as soon as David Bowie’s name appeared in the credits, and proceeded to clap and whistle whenever Jareth and his tight pants graced the screen. It was a great way to rediscover the movie, which I’d seen bits and pieces of but never fully appreciated until now. Up next: The Man Who Fell to Earth, although with plot keywords like these, I can only imagine how the crowd at the Castro will react.

The Man Who Fell To Earth

If this seems late, it’s only because I’ve desperately been avoiding pressing “publish” on a post that requires me to choose both the David Bowie and RIP tags. It still doesn’t quite compute. [And since then, Alan Rickman too?? WTF.]


I’ve been listening to Blackstar on repeat this week. It’s a fitting last album: defiant, haunting, and strangely beautiful. I’d seen the video for the title track about a month ago, and my first impression was that it was extremely unsettling. Although, now that we all know he was aware of his illness while making the album, it starts to make a little more sense. Death, too, is unsettling, and an artist can approach it in so many different ways. George Harrison’s last album was painted with spirituality, Johnny Cash’s was intimate and nostalgic, and David Bowie’s was simply out of this world.

It was really only in the last two years that I really started to appreciate Bowie’s vast, eclectic catalog. His music got me through my first NaNoWriMo (and also helped my main character through some pretty tough times), so I can’t help but carve a special place for him in my heart. To paraphrase that one tweet (paraphrasing a tweet, really?), how lucky we are to have occupied the earth at the same time as such an incredible artist. He was a musical icon, a cultural revolutionary, and probably the only person in history who ever made a mullet look fabulous.

There are so many ways to commemorate David Bowie in a humble digital corner such as this: a playlist, a pictorial tribute, a compilation of his best collabs, and on and on. But I’ll end with a single video. I read that this song became his most played on Spotify following news of his death, and welp, I’m no exception. I love the song, obviously, but I’m posting this because the video is so simple and lovely it makes me cry.

Farewell, David. We love you.

Paul McCartney rocks (and might also be a robot)

Last week’s Farewell to Candlestick show was one I couldn’t pass up because: 1) whenever Paul McCartney is in town, I HAVE TO SEE HIM; 2) it was the last public event at the ‘Stick before the stadium gets demolished; and 3) the Beatles played the last show of their last tour ever there, so it’s got some pretty great Beatles history behind it.

photo (17)This marks the 3rd time I’ve seen Sir Paul, all of which have been San Francisco shows. And let me preface this by saying that he is SUPERHUMAN for being able to consistently put on a career-spanning, nearly-3-hour-long show at 72 years old. Like, I can’t even stay standing for that long, much less put on a show in front of 50,000 people. And as if I even have to make this disclaimer, but I am the biggest Beatles fan I know, so I love Paul, I really do.

But that said, it’s funny how every single Macca show I’ve seen (live or online) since 2010 is exactly the same. Some songs were added from New, but other than that, the set list and (sometimes questionable) stage visuals were identical. Also, it’s like Paul has some magic formula of pre-song banter and gestures that he has programmed into his brain, and he’s able to follow the formula word for word, which is actually pretty impressive. I wonder what would happen if something broke the routine, like a fan jumping on the stage or a monster thunderstorm. Would Paul just keep tousling his hair and telling his Jimi Hendrix/Eric Clapton story with a rabid fan around his neck in the soaking rain? Is Paul McCartney actually a robot?

And while he did add in a few nice lines about the venue, I’m not gonna lie: I was kind of hoping there would be some big gimmicks for the ‘Stick’s last show. Haha, I don’t know what that would entail….even more fireworks, perhaps? Ringo coming out and singing “With A Little Help From My Friends”? John and George holograms? I did appreciate Paul deviating from the standard set list to play “Long Tall Sally,” the last song the Beatles played at their Candlestick show. It’s also worth mentioning that I really like the newer songs, especially “New” and “Everybody Out There.” What can I say, despite maybe being an Android, the man can still rock.

photo (16)
Live and Let Die, naturally

On an unrelated note, I have some blog news! I finally finished going through all my old posts, so the broken videos/links should all be fixed (that is, until those YouTube videos get taken down, which will surely happen someday). I also might have deleted a few posts that were just too embarrassing to revisit, like me attempting to talk about politics. Silly 2009 self, that’s not what this blog is about.

Here’s what this blog IS about:

A Random Roundup: Bowie, OK Go, Midcentury Mod, Queen

  • Speaking of stage banter, here’s some good stuff. Turns out I never realized how much I need to see David Bowie in concert, until I watched this video.
  • OK Go released some new behind the scenes footage and an intense floor map for the “Writing’s On the Wall” video. Always amazed at how much work goes into these videos, from the band and crew alike!
  • VERY RANDOM, but, I shamelessly follow Retronaut on Facebook, and there was a recent post that really rekindled my obsession with midcentury architecture and design: The Miller House. The round fireplace, sunken nook, and bright orange couches?! This is my warped idea of eye candy.
  • And finally, I’m not over my obsession with Queen by a long shot. Here are a couple more reasons to love these guys: a super adorable Making Of video for Radio Ga Ga, and Death Scrabble.

Is this a freaky dream?

I know I’ve already shared this via Twitter, but it’s one of my favorite things of all things, so I have no shame in posting it everywhere:

Ahah, the booty shake at the end is the icing on the cake. Confirmed: Mick Jagger and David Bowie can literally do whatever they want. I like to imagine that one day Bowie was like “Hey Mick, let’s record this song!” and then they set up some cameras and made the video how we used to make ours in high school, with the song playing quietly from a CD player in the corner and absolutely no one else around. I’m just going to pretend that that’s how it happened…don’t try to convince me otherwise.

(Equally important is this version, with “Dancing In The Street” replaced with “Cotton Eye Joe.”)

On a related note, our most recent album was The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which I think wins for best album title and also best album ending (those strings!). I must admit that during the first listen we were in lousy moods (mostly owing to failed tabla re-heading attempts) and then didn’t listen to it again for a while. But then we did, and it instantly became 1000x better. It was also the soundtrack of our drive from SF to SLO last weekend…awesome for driving down 101 at night after a long day of work. Although “Five Years” got stuck in my head for about a week, “Starman” is my current favorite song to belt out at random times:

Anyway, this has been another classic case of “Why have I never listened to this before??” I mean seriously, who goes this far in life without listening to a full David Bowie album? We’re now on the hunt for more of his stuff, specifically Station to Station and Hunky Dory.

…it is quite freaky, isn’t it?