David Bowie – Modern Love
My brother was a huge David Bowie fan and my mother hated David Bowie. But my mother also worked full-time so my brother took advantage of her not being home in the afternoons and my other two sisters and I received a daily education in all of David Bowie’s great achievements. We were schooled on Ziggy Stardust, we looked at the cover of Diamond Dogs unsure of what to make of it, we sang along to “Queen Bitch”, I did a report for 9th grade English class on “Kooks.”
My brother went off to college in 1982. In 1983 David Bowie released Let’s Dance. This was not my brother’s David Bowie. This was more like my older sister’s David Bowie. In fact, the cassette I listened to in the car today is the original 1983 copy that my sister bought, complete with a little sticker with her initials on it to identify it as hers in her college dorm room. This was dance-y Bowie, and not in a “John, I’m Only Dancing” way. It was produced with Nile Rodgers, after all. For my brother, worshipper of punk, hater of disco, this was a step too far.
Listening to it now, some of the songs are not really that far of a departure from some of his previous work, but the hits were really big hits. If you’ve been a fan of a band or musician when they’ve been less adored by the general public and then they suddenly become everyone’s favorite, especially if the album they’re now getting all the attention for is one you don’t like, it puts a real strain on your relationship with that band. I know a little something about that. So in hindsight, I’m sympathetic to my brother’s plight. At the time, though, we little sisters thought it was pretty cool that David Bowie had made an album you could dance to with your friends.
Last week was David Bowie’s birthday and I presume my brother has long since forgiven the now 68-year-old for Let’s Dance, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to know that he doesn’t own it. Judging by the fact that this tape was abandoned by everyone and found by me in my mother’s basement when we were there recently, I’d say it’s no one’s favorite. That and no one has a tape deck anymore. Long live my car’s tape deck and Tape Deck Tuesday for these trips down memory lane!