Flashback Friday - The Long Bloody Road to Let's Dance

It's a fantastic song that is musically interesting and has a socially-conscious message. It's video is even interesting as well. You can never go wrong with Bowie. There's so much appreciate, from the bright guitar shuffle to the horns to the catchy bassline. This isn't even the long version with the zany trumpet solo (I seriously love the fuck out of that zany trumpet solo, btw). I remember hearing this song occasionally when I was very young because my mom did listen to the hipper radio stations when I was growing up in the 80s. Back when radio stations played more than five songs over and over again and would even (gasp) play a song that was a few years old. It faded from my memory for quite some time. At the time I didn't appreciate David Bowie at all. Mostly because I was a child and, well, David Bowie is some advanced shit. Today, I am a huge David Bowie fan. How did that happen? My secret shame is that this is how it happened. 

If you were alive during this era of music, you're probably at least cringing and possibly having an episode. There were many years there where Puff Daddy/P. Diddy dominated the airwaves with other people's reheated music in such a blatant and uncreative way that it all but killed sampling off. Which is a shame, because people like the Beasties and Beck used it quite ingeniously back in the day, but that's a topic for another time.

Among the PD siege that occurred during my latter high school years, something about this song triggered latent memories in me. Then I saw something on TV where people were pointing out the basis of a lot of these sampled songs and there it was: Let's Dance. A few second snippet of Bowie playing that guitar next to that upright bass. Months later I found myself in the used section of a CD store (haha, I know, right?) and I bought the Bowie singles collection. I listened to these songs and realized that the Let's Dance guy was the same guy as the Suffragette City guy who was the same guy as the Space Oddity guy who was the same guy as the Changes guy. My adolescent musical mind was blown to bits by this revelation. Weirdly enough, I have Puff Daddy/P. Diddy to thank for that. Not that it wipes out all the deep red in his ledger, but I can't deny that impact on my life.

I'm not going to let you off easy, though. Given the success of a new Godzilla flick, I'm going to make you remember this:

This story doesn't have a sad ending. Another Bowie song that would come along shortly after that and it would force me to notice him again, cementing me as a fan of his forevermore. It's still a bit of a guilty pleasure and enjoys regular plays alongside Let's Dance, Fame, and much better works.

Smell that Trent Reznor flavor. Also a subject for another day. 


Flashback Friday - De La Soul

On Valentine's Day this year, something crazy happened. De La Soul gave away most of their albums for free, just for 24 hours. When I downloaded them, and listened through the entire catalog again, it jogged a lot of memories. I was a late-comer to this music, I'll freely admit it. The first time I really became acutely aware of De La Soul was with this song. Why? Because my college roommate played it on loop early and often.

Granted, that was also how I became acutely aware of Usher, but that's a trauma to relive another day. Something about this song, with its low-key guitar riff and guttural chorus, really grabbed me. It made me (back in the days of early 2000s days of P2P misadventures) "obtain" as much of their music as I could. In High School, I'd known little more than Wu as solid hip hop, my ignorance compounded by the godawful radio selections from where I grew up and crowded out by my monomaniacal obsession with obscure jam bands at the time. 

"Oooh" was a key moment to change all that. From there I rewound to the joy of 3 Foot High and Rising and the stylistic marvels of Prince Paul's production. As I relived all of that a few months ago listening to all those songs again, I regained an appreciation for how much De La really did convert me into a hip hop fan, even if I came to them at a later point in their careers. 

Another thing I'll always remember about De La? Seeing them perform at the 9:30 club at a late show on a Friday night. As Pos demanded we sing back chorus to him at 2:00 AM with taunts of "I can't hear you!" I remember thinking, "that's because I'm too tired. I'm getting old." I haven't really been to a late show at 9:30 since.