Saturday, May 5, 2007

David Bowie - Five Years




It is another month and another review.

Recent developments in my life have been predominately overshadowed by a small and humble addiction to facebook. There are a lot of old friends who I have not seen or heard from in ‘five years’ and I have now made some form of Internet contact with. I spend a stupid amount of time on my computer every day. I would say at least twelve hours a day on average. Why is that? Well my computer has everything I need. Music which if you haven’t guessed by now I listen to a lot. Microsoft word which I use a lot to fulfil my hobby of writing my incredible long story (800+ pages now yeah!). Then there is school through correspondence, which I probably should be doing right now, but financing is surprisingly as difficult as it boring.

Since I have added something close ten new emails to my monthly review list, I will tell all you new comers what I told everyone else back in January; you will have to let me know if you actually enjoy my long-winded ramblings about music. I only do this once a month so it can’t possibly be that annoying, but at the same time I couldn’t find the time to ask ever person if they personally cared or not about my little music email experiment.

Anyway I regress from my point. That point is the lot of my old High River friends I am finally talking to again after “Five Years”.

David Bowie back in 1972 would make his mark on the world with his best album still to this date “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” The opening track on this album is “Five Years”. Now the connection here to real life ends abruptly at the name, I remissness about old friends after five years of distances, while the song itself is about the end of the world. Frankly I am just looking for any reason to talk about this song anyway, but those who know me, know well I have a flair for the dramatic.

“Ziggy Stardust” is an interesting album through and through, but one aspect I would like to mention is this album is about super stardom all the while it was written by Dave Bowie before he had achieved such an accolade. This album is a dreamer singing about what was to come, and his wild imagination defiantly drew the album in an interesting direction to say the least. The basic premise is Ziggy Stardust is an alien who wants to come down to earth and rock and roll, but he is afraid that he is too outlandish (which is fair) and he will “blow our minds.” After some time he comes to earth rocks the house displays all sorts of strange and taboo subjects especially at the time of 1972, like multiculturalism and bisexuality, after all what would you expect from a gender-neutral alien? Anyway I don’t think ‘weird’ even begins to describe what this album is all about. Nonetheless the music is nothing of shy of phenomenal, even if the subject matter at times is a little confusing and possibly alienating, pun intended.

Anyway the first track “five years” arguably the best song on the album and as far I can think of this is the best song about the end of the earth I have ever heard.

The lyrics are powerful in this song, the message over the television forewarning the populace of the earth, “that earth is really dying.” How would you react? What would you do? My brain hurt like a warehouse; there was no room to spare….

I think my favorite part is the list of reaction David Bowie sings about, closely followed by his frantic freak out at the end yelling “My brain hurts a lot! Five years! That’s all we got!”

Bloody hell, I’ll just post the damn lyrics:

"Pushing through the market square, so many mothers sighing,
News had just come over, we had five years left to cry in.
News guy wept and told us, earth was really dying.
Cried so much his face was wet, then I knew he was not lying.

I heard telephones, opera house, favorite melodies,
I saw boys, toys electric irons and T.V.'s,
My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare.
I had to cram so many things to store everything in there,
And all the fat-skinny people, and all the tall-short people,
And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people,
I never thought I'd need so many people.

A girl my age went off her head, hit some tiny children,
If the black hadn't a-pulled her off, I think she would have killed them.
A soldier with a broken arm, fixed his stare to the wheels of a Cadillac,
A cop knelt and kissed the feet of a priest, and a queer threw up at the sight of that.

I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlor, drinking milk shakes cold and long,
Smiling and waving and looking so fine,

I don't think you knew you were in this song.
And it was cold and it rained so I felt like an actor,
And I thought of Ma and I wanted to get back there.
Your face, your race, the way that you talk,
I kiss you, you're beautiful, I want you to walk.

We've got five years, stuck on my eyes,
Five years, what a surprise.
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot,
Five years, that's all we've got.
We've got five years, what a surprise,
Five years, stuck on my eyes.
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot,
Five years, that's all we've got.
We've got five years, stuck on my eyes,
Five years, what a surprise.
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot,
Five years, that's all we've got.
We've got five years, what a surprise,
We've got five years, stuck on my eyes.
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot!
Five years, that's all we've got!
Five years!
Five years!
Five years!
Five years!"

I had the privilege of seeing David Bowie a few years back when he came to Calgary on his “Reality” tour, and I had even the greater pleasure of hearing him play ‘five years’, in his closing set for that concert. For a man pushing sixty at that time (Bowie turned sixty in March of this year I believe), he kicked ass, as far as performance goes he did not show his age at all. One of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

I think I’ve rambled on longer this month then usual, so I will bid a due for now.

Until next month everyone, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly