David Bowie: Hunky Dory

“Hunky Dory gave me a fabulous groundswell. I guess it provided me, for the first time in my life, with an actual audience – I mean, people actually coming up to me and saying, ‘Good album, good songs.’ That hadn’t happened to me before. It was like, ‘Ah, I’m getting it, I’m finding my feet. I’m starting to communicate what I want to do. Now: what is it I want to do?’ There was always a double whammy there.” – David Bowie (1999)

David Bowie. I’ve been wanting to do a post on him for a few weeks.

What makes David Bowie such a legend? What makes him so revered by otherhunky dory musicians? What is it about him, his musical style, and his dramatic sense of performance that has made him loved by so many for so many decades? What makes him distinct from the other dramatic musicians from the 60s, 70s, and 80s?

Hunky Dory is Bowie’s fourth album, released in 1971.

I really don’t know what to say about this album. It was not what I was expecting and I am not exactly sure what I was expecting. David Bowie, to me, has always been this enigmatic figure. He’s been more than a musician, more than an inspiration to many of my inspirations. He’s a cinematic hero. He comes in with his music and tells a story, not just a story but a cinematic version of events. Then, there’s his persona – elaborately costumed. How does that fit into this wide generalization I have of this man, this legend? I am not exactly sure.

I suppose what I am saying is that I am not sure completely of my opinion regarding David Bowie. I liked Hunky Dory. In fact, I liked it enough to purchase. I’m glad that this was my first foray into listening to David Bowie. It’s a solid album that evokes so many images. This album’s use of piano is so completely beautiful and spell-binding. “Life on Mars.” Yes. “Changes.” Yes.

Electronic manipulation of instruments? Check. Full orchestration of instruments? Check. A few songs that make me think and want to think? Check. Will I listen again? Check. Double check. Triple check.

I think that I will listen to this album and take a dive into his other albums until I am sure of what I am listening to, until I can make sense of the enigma. I will listen, listen, listen and one day it will make sense to me, right?

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