Did you miss me last week? Let’s pretend that you did. While traipsing around the Northwest US on a working-vacation, I bought myself a stack of records — the most exciting of which is David Bowie’s Hunky Dory for a mere $8. I don’t need a pristine sleeve, so as long as the vinyl itself is in good condition. Take that, $20 Record Store Day reissues!
During my Alphabet Soup project almost two years ago, I talked about Bowie’s song “Queen Bitch,” saying that I should really get my hands on Hunky Dory because “David Bowie Record Dance Parties always need more material.” The sentiment stands!
First up, I need to talk about a reference that it took me, oh, 20 years to understand. I’ve now properly listened to the lyrics to “Life on Mars,” and I noticed the following lines:
Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
Now the workers
have struck for fame
‘Cause Lennon’s on sale again
(Side notes: Let us acknowledge that this song is from 1971 and it has a music video. Also, the video serves as proof that he does not have two-different colored eyes, but rather a permanently enlarged pupil in one eye.)
Nineties teen girls, let us rewind back to 1994, and the time of Bush’s “Everything Zen, which contains the words:
Minnie Mouse has grown up a cow
Dave’s on sale again
Look, no one ever said I was on top of everything, all right? One can love David Bowie, and love the album Sixteen Stone, and still take over half of one’s life to notice songwriting references. I’m sure I’m not alone. Tell me I’m not alone.
Hunky Dory is also the album from which “Changes” comes. It is a glaring omission that I did not include the song in Alphabet Soup: The Letter C.
The pounding piano, the sax, the strings, the big chorus — It might be one the best songs ever.
I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware
of what they’re going through
Thing is, Bowie’s never one to only watch culture change. Always so far ahead of everyone else, he can do exactly what inspires him and see who follows. He is not at the mercy of culture — he inspires it.
If you are wondering what older Bowie album you might finally buy, start here.
Oh! You Pretty Things
Eight Line Poem
Life on Mars?
Fill Your Heart
Song For Bob Dylan
The Bewlay Brothers