Can You Hear Me, Major Tom?

I don’t usually use this space for musings unrelated to Korea and my life here. However, tonight I feel compelled to write about the passing of David Bowie.

It isn’t often that I am personally affected by celebrity deaths. Just in the past few weeks, the music world has lost Lemmy Kilmeister and Scott Weiland. While undoubtedly sad, I did not feel connected to these musicians in the same way I did to Bowie.

I remember listening to songs like “Space Oddity,” “Life on Mars,” and “Ziggy Stardust” in the car with my mom as a little kid and thinking some of his lyrics were remarkably silly, but excitedly singing along nonetheless:

So where were the spiders while the fly tried to break our balls?

As I got older, I fell more in love with Bowie for his aesthetic. (The cover art for Aladdin Sane has always been a personal favorite.) With the incorporation of elaborate costumes and makeup in addition to his unquestionable musical talent, I believe Bowie was able to make a permanent imprint on the music world. I don’t think there has ever been an artist able to recreate himself so dramatically (and so beautifully) over several decades quite like Bowie.

Then, of course, there is Labyrinth. The film is fabulous in its own right, but only made better by Bowie’s portrayal of Jareth the Goblin King. The hair, the mystery, the power of voodoo! And the soundtrack. Obviously.

In college, I even incorporated Bowie into a paper I wrote for my 20th Century Art class. I can’t find the paper (I tried), but I know that he was referenced.

So, it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to an absolute legend. David Bowie’s music has transcended generations and genres, which is apparent from his collaborations with artists like Queen, Mick Jagger, Trent Reznor, and even Arcade Fire.

Thank you for contributing to my love of rock ‘n’ roll and men in makeup. Tonight, I will be listening to some of my favorite songs.