1. Are we noticing a trend here?
Bowie is often touted as a master of self-invention and re-invention, but the truth is both more subtle and more complex. Beneath all the masks he has donned over the years, he has remained a true voice -- always moving forward with a consistent artistic integrity, a sincerity that is palpable in his music, no matter the subject.
Other acts from the 1960s and 1970s are still kicking but have long since devolved into pleasant self-parodies. I love the Rolling Stones, but I would put them in this category. Ditto Bruce Springsteen: his recordings have become all-too comfortable, like a warm pair of slippers, ceasing to have the explosive, hard-edged creativity they once did.
By contrast, every Bowie album sounds like his life depends on it, like he's starting all over. Even now, an album like
The Next Day
that is supposed to be a satisfying look back at the arc of his career, is actually a look forward at what younger artists will likely be doing five years from now. He sets the trend.
Were we all to approach life and our life's work with this level of commitment, this level of passion, ingenuity and enthusiasm, we could work miracles.
-- Written by Carlton Wilkinson in Asbury Park