After reading "10 Things I Love About David Bowie" on Howard Who?, I began to think about what my favorite David Bowie songs are. To make it really difficult, I forced myself to narrow my list down to just five songs. (No connoisseur like a discerning connoisseur.) Yes, if my MP3 player only allotted for five Bowie tracks, these would be them (in chronological order):
"Five Years" from The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972). The opening track is an aching lament about an impending apocalypse. Bowie yelps about "all the fat-skinny people," "all the tall-short people," and "all the nobody people"—but he's not complaining about them, as we would expect. He finally admits: "I never thought I'd need so many people." Watch him perform the song with Arcade Fire (seriously!):
"Young Americans" from Young Americans (1975). It's a song about sex, and it's a freaking masterpiece. And, oh my god, did you know he once did a duet of "Young Americans" as part of a medley with Cher?! Watch:
"Sound and Vision" from Low (1977). Yup, it's got a good beat, and you can dance to it. Watch this funky live performance from the Sound+Vision Tour in 1990:
"Absolute Beginners" from Absolute Beginners: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1986). I never really liked the movie, but its theme song is a luscious pop ballad. Watch the music video:
"Underground" from Labyrinth: From The Original Soundtrack Of The Jim Henson Film (1986). Believe it or not, I didn't really start getting into Bowie and his back catalog until after I saw him (and his magical bulge) in Labyrinth, which still holds up today as one of my favorite movies of all time. Sure, I could've chosen the obvious crowd fav, "Magic Dance" ("You remind me of a babe"), but there's something about the gospel choir in "Underground" that lifts my spirits. Watch the original music video:
All right, folks! What are your David Bowie favorites? You can only have five! Not ten! Five! See? It's hard, isn't it, narrowing down the best of the best? I trust you will do a good job.