David Bowie’s surprise death caught us all searching for someone to share with. Old friends or Facebook acquaintances, we wanted connections with people who felt our grief. My local album-rock station played Bowie all that morning, but seemed stymied when having to dig much deeper than the ChangesBowie best-of collection, perhaps worried that corporate overlords would chastise them for straying off-format. That just made me sadder. So much fantastic music from the top 10 to the deep album cuts. In the following days, it seemed like “Life on Mars” emerged as the song that defined the moment. Not my choice, though, if I had to pick one song, it would be “Sound and Vision”, the gift of…
The most telling line of Rob Sheffield’s On Bowie comes in the appendix, when he reveals that an editor, “called the morning after and asked, “Can you write a book in a month?”” Crass cash in? Sheffield is definitely qualified, but was the intent correct? Yes and no.
I loved the book, and it’s a quick trans-continental flight complete read. This is Sheffield’s book about his relationship with Bowie’s music and art. It’s personal, so if you’re looking for solace, it’s difficult to share with him as the conversation is (of course) one sided.
I came away appreciative, as Sheffield found love for albums I missed, and I will definitely check them out, though late to the party. But, I’m disappointed that he didn’t find the beauty in some of my fave Bowie LPs. That’s his loss, though I could definitely see him re-examining them in the future. His mind seems open, and I like to think that bad Bowie is still better than no Bowie.
If Sheffield WERE sitting next to me, I’d say “Dude, what about Black Tie White Noise. He laments that Bowie never worked again with Nile Rodgers after Let’s Dance and that Bowie’s post-Iman records are all worthy because he found true love. Yes on both of those points! How could you miss this absolute gem of an album, that doesn’t even rate a mention in your book? Check it out and get back to me.
Anyway, no-one asked me to write my book about Bowie. If I had, it wouldn’t have been nearly as well researched or well written, or as heartfelt. This book will help you sort out your own passions for Bowie. And I think Sheffield has a second all-Bowie book in him, and next time, I hope he take a few years to write it.