I have a confession to make. Although I’ve been a loyal David Bowie fan for almost half my life now, back when I was a teenager, I committed the epitome of musical disses: I sold back a Bowie CD.
The album was Scary Monsters. I was probably 18 or 19, still deeply entranced by Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the World and Ziggy phases, and I just could not get down with this record. I found it really hard to listen to — much too metallic for my glam-rock-loving ears — and when I played the CD, I usually only listened to the first half of the album, or just skipped to “Fashion” and then hit the disc change button before “Teenage Wildlife” started. So I went down to my neighborhood used record store, traded it in for Hunky Dory and never looked back.
Fast forward about 10 years to this winter, and what song suddenly popped into my head out of nowhere? “Ashes to Ashes.”
I know it’s not like I unearthed some lost gem by randomly getting this song stuck in my head — it was a hit back in 1980 when it was released as the first single from Scary Monsters. But it did encourage me to reconsider the album as a whole. And in doing so, I rediscovered some favorite tracks I’d shamefully forgotten about.
So here they are, in no particular order (and “Fashion” isn’t on this list since I never forgot about it, because how could you?):
“Up the Hill Backwards”
I always thought this song would make a great musical intro for a deserty, Mad Max-ish type of action movie.
“Scream Like a Baby”
Interesting tidbit: Bowie’s ’70s backup singer and ex-girlfriend Ava Cherry recorded a different version of this same tune back in 1973 called “I Am A Laser.” There’s a nice blog post all about it here.
“It’s No Game (No. 1)” and “It’s No Game (No. 2)”
Love the urgent Japanese vocals of the first and the smooth croon of the second.