As per normal, I woke up early this morning, wearing my pink and black "Aladdin Sane" t-shirt, and went about my business like any other dreadful Monday. It was time to get ready for another damn work week, which is always enough to bum anyone out; however, a case of the Mondays wasn't to be the reason for my forlorn mood on this day.
On a rational level, I know it's kind of silly to let the death of a celebrity really affect you. After all, why grieve over someone who you had no relationship with, any personal communication and who had no idea you even existed? That said, the loss of David Bowie actually had me on the verge of tears... I'm not afraid to admit that.
As I sat back in the seat of my work car, with the sounds of Life on Mars playing softly over the speakers, I wondered why exactly David's death was affecting me so. Over the course of my 26 years, many a musician, who's work I've enjoyed, has moved on from this realm of existence. Why was this death so different?
David Bowie was a genuine, creative original. He did what he wanted, when he wanted, and he didn't give a damn if anyone agreed with him. His sound and his words evolved with time and as he grew as a musician and wordsmith.
Starting out in traditional pop music, he moved from glam rock to new wave to punk to dance pop to electronic at his own whim, never bowing to labels or what was "expected" of him. That is what makes Bowie such a timeless creative force; he wasn't a rocker, he wasn't a pop star, he was David f'ing Bowie.
I'm sure it would have been very easy of Bowie to get stuck in his Ziggy Stardust persona, or his Thin White Duke persona, or any of the various stages of his career. Countless artists have taken such successes and bled them dry to the day they died. Just look at all those 50 year old men still squeezing into spandex and putting on teased wigs to play in hair metal bands with one or two remaining original members.
AND, as a final act, he recorded an album about death and grieving as he was secretly dying of cancer and died just days after it's release. How's that for a mic-drop moment?
In short, Bowie was the physical embodiment of artistry and the world is a little more bleak today without his presence. That is why I found myself tearing up to the sound of "Under Pressure" as my car warmed up.
I'll close out this out with my absolute favorite Bowie song - the man might be gone, but his music will live on forever: