Industry News

Release Radar – Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold

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We have some pretty big artists dropping albums this week, mixed in with a few up and comers.  I queued up 6 albums on my Spotify playlists to listen to.  I’ll start with the very talented songwriter/guitarist/vocalist St. Vincent’s 5th album “Masseduction” which I’m eager to listen to.  King Krule, aka Archy Marshall has dropped “The OOZ” and it’s getting a ton of positive buzz.  This London artist has been compared to Joe Strummer and Billy Bragg and can count Beyonce and Kanye West among his admirers. A collaboration album between indie “superstars” Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett titled “Lotta Sea Lice” is sure to feature plenty of understated guitar and interesting lyrics.  William Patrick Corgan (brainchild of The Smashing Pumpkins) has released his first proper solo album, “Ogilala”, produced by Rick Rubin.  I previewed this on NPR and it’s an interesting stripped down effort from him and worth checking out.  The next two albums I will listen to but not too hyped about.  Beck has finally released “Colors” but it’s getting negative buzz so far which is disappointing, but I will still listen for myself.  And Wu-Tang has a new album “The Saga Continues” but it comes with caveats.  Mathematics, the MC-turned-DJ who learned everything about production from RZA, has produced and co-written all 18 tracks on the album.  His production efforts are allegedly admirable but the verses the MCs have brought to the album are more on the mediocre side.  You will find Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Killa Priest, Redman, RZA and Capadonna on the album but they are not inspired.
 
Finally, you may not have heard the latest regarding Marilyn Manson (who I don’t like in any way, shape or form but I find this amusing).  On his latest tour, he fell off the stage in Pittsburgh allegedly breaking his ankle.  Then the next night in NYC, he had a giant stage prop fall on him, breaking his fibula in two places and requiring a plate and 10 screws and also a screw in his ankle.  He has since pushed his tour dates out and hasn’t played a show since.  So that’s all good, but now Manson is hinting that “God, whatever it might be” is trying to put a stop to things on his tour.  So evidently God is to blame for his misfortune.  If that’s actually true – then way to go God!
 
Oh, and a big thanks to Eminem for sharing his current political beliefs on a national stage – let’s continue to protect the all-important 1st amendment since the outdated 2nd amendment is unfortunately not going away soon.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LunHybOKIjU
 Image result for concrete and gold
Dave Grohl is someone I admire in the music industry.  Loves to collaborate, seems to really enjoy being a musician, went from being the drummer in Nirvana to stepping out as the guitarist/vocalist in his band Foo Fighters, made an interesting movie about a recording studio “Sound City” – I’ve even read a book about his life.  I’m a major Nirvana fan, but the Foo Fighters I’ve always been more lukewarm about.  I have their first album, but no others.  I enjoy hearing a lot of their songs on the radio.  But at the end of the day, I never fully latched onto them.  Maybe it’s the uniformity of their sound, maybe Dave’s vocals, while certainly serviceable, are somewhat limited in their depth.  But for some reason, their latest album “Concrete and Gold” is resonating and sticking with me. 
Is it a great album?  No, the second half of the album has some tracks that while not bad, are merely ok.  But it’s a very enjoyable album to listen to all the way through.  The songs are sequenced well, and there’s enough variety in the music to keep you engaged.  Plus, it’s rare to find a solid straight rock album these days.  That type of music simply is not in vogue at the moment.  So what do I love about “Concrete and Gold”?  For starters, the first 5 songs are all very strong.  You can’t help but get pulled into the record when the first half is very stellar.  The opening short track “T-Shirt” starts very slow with Dave softly singing to a few guitar notes and then, bam, it immediately morphs into some seventies sounding huge rock recording – like a mix of Queen and REO Speedwagon – before fading out like the intro started.  Then the song “Run” (featured below) immediately follows.  Another soft opening before it slowly gains in intensity before guitars rain out and launch the song into another atmosphere.  Great track.  Then the next 3 songs are all outstanding (2 of them are featured below).  And they all have a very unique vibe/sound which why this album is fun to listen to.  And it’s not like the next six songs are bad, they just can’t keep up with the first half of the album. 
“Dirty Water” has an interesting very subdued initial 2:30 before it picks up into a pretty cool track for the last half.  “Arrows” is a mid-tempo rocker that has its moments but drags some in the first half.  “Happy Ever After” is a slower song that is serviceable but doesn’t stand out.  “Sunday Rain” goes on too long at over 6:00.  “The Line” sounds like your prototypical Foo Fighters song that could have appeared on any other album.  The album closes with the title track, which has some touches of Pink Floyd on it.  It’s an interesting experiment by the band and a cool way to close the album.  So that’s my summary – first half is incredible, second half is ok but altogether it’s a fun rock album to listen to, given the variation in the different tracks and the experimentation explored by the band.  Grohl has said that in order to begin writing the album, he sequestered himself in a cabin in Ojai, bought a case of wine and sat in his underwear with a microphone for five days just writing – inspired by what was going on in the country – politically, personally, as a father, American and a musician. 20+ years into the Foo Fighters, their 10th album is a solid addition to their discography.  Enough that I actually bought the cd, and wished I had bought tickets for their show in Richmond tomorrow night.  However tickets are now approaching $200 for not great seats so that will be a pass.  I was indifferent about seeing them before I listened to “Concrete and Gold”, which speaks to the impact of the new album.Image result for concrete and gold
 
La Dee Da – Probably my favorite song on the album right now, Grohl is fired up on this track.  I don’t know what he’s addressing, but I like to think it’s a message to Trump.  From the very beginning with that distorted bass, when the guitars kick in and Dave’s vocals – it’s a powerful combination.  Dave’s screaming vocals on the chorus add a lot to the song and make my throat hurt.  Background vocals added by Alison Mosshart (The Dead Weather & The Kills).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHbeZiky9rA – live version because why not?
 
Run – The first single from the album, which is a nice choice.  This song reminds me of what I’d like to do when I hear the latest about what’s going on in the White House.  But this song has it all, soft intro which deftly leads into a high tempo rocker.  There’s a nice contrast between the alternating harsh shouted vocals and Dave’s normal vocals.  The song jumps back and forth between high tempo and very high tempo which provides a bigger impact for both parts.
 
The Sky Is A Neighborhood – I picked this track over “Make It Right” since it showcases a slightly different tempo for the band.  This is a big epic song with a huge shout-a-long chorus. Grohl again tests the durability of his vocal chords during the verses.  Mosshart also provide backing vocals on this track.  The chorus may get stuck in your head for days.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9QH5mR0TwM  can’t not post the coincidence of live versions of “Run” and “The Sky Is A Neighborhood” performed back-to-back in Berlin

Release Radar – Arcade Fire: Everything Now

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What an outstanding and eclectic collection of new releases this week!  What should be considered a legendary band, the under-appreciated Living Colour release their 6th studio album “Shade” today (this is the music I went to first to hear)San Francisco indie-rockers Deerhoof are presenting their 15th album in 20 years“Mountain Moves”, laughing at Deerhoof’s longevity, L.A. experimental synth band Sparks celebrate the 46thanniversary of their first album release with the new LP “Hippopotamus”, speaking of longevity, Neil Younghas a collection of solo acoustic recordings from ’76 out today with “Hitchhiker” (sounds great btw), laid back singer/songwriter Jack Johnson’s 7th album is out today “All the Light Above It Too”, one of my favorite two person bands Death From Above (now minus the “1979”) unleash their 3rd album “Outrage! Is Now”,Canadian indie noise-pop band Alvvays have upped their game on their sophomore album “Antisocialites” and last but not least The National attempt to inject a few welcomed raucous sounds into their 7th album “Sleep Well Beast” to hopefully ensure they don’t become solely featured as background music at hipster dinner parties. 
Ok, I’m featuring the latest album from Arcade Fire this week, “Everything Now”.  I hesitated, thinking this band is popular enough that everyone is probably familiar with them.  But in actuality, I’m guessing many of you may not have listened to much of this band.  And if you have, their sound has been changing quite a lot over their last few albums.  First formed back in 2003 in Montreal, Arcade Fire has evolved from indie rock royalty into mainstream popularity over the course of their 5 studio albums.  And that journey is one that is bound to leave some fans behind, since indie darlings finding commercial success is a sure way to cause some divisiveness.  The band has an interesting beginning – Win Butler (bandleader/singer) spotted Regine Chassagne singing jazz at an art exhibit.  He was charmed, they started a songwriting partnership and then a personal partnership (and eventually marriage).

They then recruited other members for their new band, including Win’s younger brother William.  Since the band members had many eclectic tastes, these different influences were incorporated into their music.  So you had bossa nova, punk, French chanson and pop influencing their sound.  You can hear elements of U2, David Bowie, Talking Heads and other influences.  After cutting an EP, they signed with Merge Records. 
The band unfortunately had a run of deaths unfold prior to recording their first LP – four members had relatives pass.  These deaths sparked their first album aptly titled “Funeral”.  “Funeral” blew-up from a critical perspective which also led to some commercial success.  Arcade Fire played Lollapalooza, Coachella and everywhere in between.
They made the Canadian cover of Time magazine and received a Grammy nomination for best alternative album.  They toured with U2 and counted David Bowie as one of their fans.  For their follow-up, they camped in a church outside of Montreal and recorded “Neon Bible”, which featured a pipe organ, military choir and a full orchestra. 
This album peaked at #2 on the charts and they continued to tour relentlessly.  They put on a great live show, so all of their touring definitely continued to grow their fan base.  Record #3, “The Suburbs”, with its themes of suburban sprawl, childhood memories and middle-class dreams led to #1 charting positions in the U.S. and U.K.  The band also earned many rewards, including a Grammy for album of the year.  They were now selling out shows all around the globe.  For album #4 (a double album), “Reflektor”, they brought on James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) to produce.  This was more dance-oriented and brought in a lot of world music sounds.  After another ambitious world tour, that brings us to today and their most recent album “Everything Now”.
 
This album has been the least critically-received of any of their albums to date.  But I think that’s to be expected, given where the band is today.  Once you reach the level of popularity Arcade Fire is at, there are many people waiting to take you down.  Also, if you change your sound up, you always run the risk of people being disappointed because they liked your old sound better. 
Now the album isn’t getting completely panned, there are plenty of stellar reviews mixed in with the naysayers – there are just more naysayers than in the past.  Personally, I really enjoy this album. I understand what the band was trying to accomplish and I like the overlying themes of the album which are statements about today’s society. 
There are songs that reflect the demands for wanting everything right here, right now, wanting to be famous (or at least have a big social media presence) or life’s not worth living, not knowing what you want but wanting everything anyway, access to infinite content, and finding meaning in today’s world. 
The band brought in multiple producers including Thomas Bangalter (Daft Punk), Geoff Barrow (Portishead), Steve Mackey (Pulp) and longtime collaborator Markus Dravs.  The album definitely has a solid groove and danceability that is continued from “Reflektor”.  There is less of a world music influence and more of a disco vibe going on.  Maybe this is an element that turned some off?  Maybe it’s the themes the band is tackling – too big in scope?  Any critique on modern-day society is going to have its naysayers. 
At the end of the day, I think many critics just wanted something to complain about regarding Arcade Fire, because the band is too big now to meet everyone’s objectives.  If they were a new band and they released “Everything Now”, it would have created an unbelievable positive buzz in the music world.  But we all know that is not the case, and the resulting critiques are what they are.
At any rate, Arcade Fire have their 3rd #1 album and a solid addition to their catalog.  I say just enjoy the album for what it is – a solid piece of pop music making a statement about some of the themes going on in today’s society that can also be fun to dance to.  Here are 3 of my favorite songs from “Everything Now” that all appear at the beginning of the album. 
 
Everything Now – The lead track and single from the album, this song has a joyful sound.  I think this is a good example of some past elements of the band’s music evolving into their current sound.  Produced by Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter, this song sounds great.  Listen to all of the different instruments that are incorporated throughout this track.
 
Signs of Life – You definitely hear the disco influence on this track.  Also produced by Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter.  I like the chorus on this song – “looking for signs of life every night, there’s no signs of life, so we’ll do it again”.  This song has a little bit darker feel, with the prominent bass and slightly ominous synths.  They may have been influenced by previous producer James Murphy on this song.  Nice handclaps at the beginning. 
 
Creature Comfort – The track rounds out the first 3 on the album (not counting the intro at the very beginning).  Interesting note, the album was recorded so the ending rolls right into the beginning intro.  So if you listen on repeat, there will be no break in the flow.  My favorite lyric “God just make me famous and if you can’t, just make it painless”.  I’m hearing a big Talking Heads influence on this track.  Chassagne’s background vocals are a great contrast.  Geoff Barrow from Portishead produced this track.  Interestingly I don’t hear Portishead at all, but I do like the production on the song. 

Release Radar

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August has been redeemed this week by more noteworthy releases than you can shake a stick at!  Iron & Wine (Sam Beam) gives us his first new material in 4 years as Iron & Wine with “Beast Epic”, the debut album “Invitation” from supergroup Filthy Friends (Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney), plus friends), Bay Area garage/psych rockers Thee Oh Sees (now just Oh Sees)give us maybe their 16th? Album with “Orc” and finally Australian rockers King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard drop their 3rd album of 2017 (goal is a total of 5!) with “Sketches of Brunswick East”. 

Notable and esteemed rockers Queens of the Stone Age unleash their 7th album with “Villains”, Philly rock traditionalists The War on Drugs drop album number 4 “A Deeper Understanding”, Long Island band Brand New who have evolved from punk/emo to more indie rock release their long-awaited 5th album “Science Fiction”, underrated EMA gives us her 3rd proper album which is a commentary on the current social plight in the Midwest “Exile in the Outer Ring”

Something new for just about anyone who enjoys music this week.

Release Radar

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This week has an overflowing handful of interesting new releases including the debut solo album from Amber Coffman (formerly of Dirty Projectors but when you break-up with your boyfriend and he’s the leader of the band a solo career suddenly seems like a really good idea) “City of No Reply”, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys is releasing his second? solo album “Waiting on a Song”, Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) is releasing his first solo album in quite some time “Is This The Life We Really Want?”, Alt-J are dropping “RELAXER” and on the harder side Mutoid Man featuring Stephen Brodsky (Cave In) and Ben Koller (Converge) share their second album “War Moans” and Philly-rockers Elder give us their 5th album “Reflections of a Floating World”

Chris Cornell’s toxicology report showed multiple prescription drugs in his system, including 4 Ativan, Narcan (from EMTs), Butalbital and Pseudoephedrine (decongestant). Clearly he wasn’t in his right mind and it resulted in a catastrophic impact.

For you Tool fans (or the curious) here’s a link to the show I was aa a couple weeks ago in Virginia. If you’re not familiar with them, go right to 1:38:36 and watch their final song. Another good part to check out is the 18:00 mark with “Schism”.

Remembering Prince

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R.I.P. Prince – truly one of the most original, talented and influential musicians during our lifetime. 2016 is turning into a crushingly hard year for the music world. Below are a couple of links that show just a glimpse of the talent Prince so easily harnessed throughout his career.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SFNW5F8K9Y – Prince decides to take over this all-star performance tribute of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” for George Harrison at about the 3:30 mark of this video and proceeds to solo all the way through until the song ends – and he ends it with a flourish by tossing his guitar straight up in the air (which mysteriously never comes back down…)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NN3gsSf-Ys – Prince’s legendary Super Bowl halftime performance. A little bit of rain was never going to bring him down…

Indie labels win government grants

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You have probably heard about entrepreneurs, students and start-up businesses receiving grants from the government or some other institution. But did you know that the government is now giving out money to help promote the work of independent artists? In the United Kingdom, more than twelve songwriters and music labels have been given £200,000 by the British government to fund the promotion of their work in other countries.
About two years ago, a department of the British government called the UK Trade and Investment created a music export scheme worth £2.5 million. Their purpose was to help independent music companies and artists within the United Kingdom help make a name for themselves in other countries throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. There were a total of thirteen music companies chosen for this funding, including the management company responsible for “Catfish and the Bottlemen.” Other songwriters who have received grants include Georgie Dennis, Christopher Wortley, and Greig Watts. Out of all the past recipients who have received grant money, they have 10 international music awards and 13 record deals all together as a result of this funding.
Critics speculate the real reason behind this funding program for new artists. Some believe it is because the United States has taken the lead as the entertainment capital of the world and the United Kingdom wants to compete by bringing more of their artists into the music scene. However, the minister of UK Trade and Investment says the United Kingdom had £17 billion in exports from the creative sector during 2013. This Music Export Growth Scheme not only helps aspiring British musical talent make a name for themselves, but it also boosts the number of sales for music in the United Kingdom as well. In turn, this creates more jobs and boosts the British economy in the long run.
In the 21st century, there aren’t too many musical artists making names for themselves in various countries throughout the world. It seems that the only artists you hear about these days come from the United States. However, this might not be a good thing for countries in the rest of the world that have an economy worse than the U.S. Perhaps the United Kingdom has the right idea by investing money into their creative sector. After all, consumers love to spend money on creative products like music and movies. It is a billion pound industry that is continuing to grow every day. If other countries would invest in their own creative industries then perhaps their economies countries would invest in their own creative industries then perhaps their economies would grow too.  

Trent Reznor Talks About Moog Synths in Video Soundtracked by the Haxan Cloak

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The popular American electronic musical instrument manufacturer, Moog Music, is discontinuing any further production on the Minimoog Voyager. This synthesizer was previously released in 2002 and was meant to be an enhancement to their original Minimoog synthesizer. In a recent announcement, Moog Music stated they will manufacture about 600 more units of the Minimoog Voyager before it officially comes to an end. To the layman person, this news probably won’t matter too much because most people don’t create their own music. They just listen to music and enjoy the tunes created by their favorite artists. However, their favorite artists are the ones who are using this kind of equipment. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, for example, has a close connection with the Minimoog Voyager synthesizer. Now that it is being discontinued he will have to either keep using the older one that he still has or eventually find a newer one. This could affect the way he produces his own music, which then could translate into a tune that his fans might not like as much as his previous tunes.
Reznor’s very first synthesizer was the Moog Prodigy. During one of his earlier Nine Inch Nails performances, he got to meet the inventor of the Moog synthesizer Bob Moog. Reznor cites that meeting as the greatest day of his life. On a more recent note, the performer “Haxan Cloak” even used a Minimoog Voyager along with Moog’s newest analog synthesizer to make his latest score. As you can see, there are musicians from a variety of generations that used Moog synthesizers and will likely be affected by the recent discontinuation of the Minimoog Voyager.
Bob Moog is known as the American pioneer of synthesizers and electronic music. He was very well educated in the field of electrical engineering. He had received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Queens College, a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics from Cornell University. His innovative electronic style design has been used in many synthesizers over the years, including the Moog Taurus Bass Pedals, the Minimoog Model D, Little Phatty, Moog Minitaur, the Moogerfooger effects pedals and Sub 37.
In 1970, Moog was given the Grammy Trustees Award for his lifetime contributions and achievement within the music industry. Even after his death in 2005, Moog Music continues to be a pioneering company for manufacturing synthesizers used by artists all around the world.

YouTube just launched its new subscription service – here’s how to try it for free

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YouTube Red is the latest service offered by YouTube which allows users to have an ad-free experience watching videos on the website. All they have to do is pay $9.99 per month and then their account will upgrade to YouTube Red. But getting rid of advertisements is only one thing that the service does. It also lets subscribers save their favorite videos onto their computer, so they can view them while they are offline. If you save and download these videos to your mobile phone then you can even play the videos in your phone’s background. This is the basically YouTube’s attempt to compete with other streaming services, like Apple Music and Spotify.

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Right now, most YouTube users are probably not going to want to pay money to view videos that are already free. After all, there are currently a number of free ways you can block ads and save videos. If you use Google Chrome then you can download an Ad Block plugin for the browser that automatically blocks advertisements everywhere, including video advertisements on YouTube. As for saving videos, you can search for websites on Google that let you save YouTube videos simply by entering the URL of the YouTube page. The only way this service would benefit you is if you don’t currently use Google Chrome or you don’t like Google Chrome. You may also hate having to search for websites to save YouTube videos. It may be more convenient to just use any browser you want to get free ads and then save videos right on the YouTube video page you are on. Basically, convenience is the keyword here.
There is also another surprise coming to YouTube Red subscribers. Starting next year, subscribers will get additional features to their service that won’t be available to free users. YouTube plans to host a series of original content that only subscribers will have access to. For example, a popular YouTube gamer by the name of PewDiePie will be featuring a new show exclusively for YouTube Red subscribers. For those who are still unsure, Google is offering a free 30-day trial to test out the service. If you decide that you like the content that is provided then you can continue on after 30 days at just $9.99 per month. But if you don’t like the service then you can cancel at any time. This is probably the best option to take because you never know if you’ll like the original content or not.

The Crystal Method Denounce the Kremlin’s Use of Their Music

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The Kremlin recently created a propaganda video that shows airstrikes being conducted in Syria.

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Apparently, they used a song produced by The Crystal Method called “High Roller” in the video’s soundtrack. The only thing is The Crystal Method claims they never gave Kremlin the permission to use their song in the soundtrack of the propaganda video, which was a video produced by the state broadcaster known as VGTRK.

In the controversial video, it shows combat and battles taking place in Jobar, which is a suburb in the Syrian capital of Damascus. High Roller is a song from 1997, so anyone familiar with the song will easily recognize it in the video. The Crystal Method said Kremlin’s use of the video was completely unauthorized and that they feel terrible about all the war and bloodshed taking place in Syria right now. To those who watch the video, it might make the viewers think that The Crystal Method is endorsing the video because their music is in there. However, it seems as if they want to make it clear to people that they don’t endorse the video or the wars going on in Syria. That is why they are upset that their song is used in the video because it goes against their political beliefs. Like many Americans and Europeans alike, they believe the wars going on in Syria are awful. The images of families’ homes being destroyed is not something anyone wants their music playing through in the background. So it is understandable how The Crystal Method is feeling about this unauthorized use of their music.

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The Crystal Method is a band formed in 1993 that features two band members; Scott Kirkland and Ken Jordan. They specialize in playing the keyboard and electronic type music. The duo has already been in numerous films, TV shows, advertisements and video games. The single “High Roller” comes from their best selling album entitled “Vegas.” The two band members used to live in Las Vegas, so you will find many of their songs related to this theme. As for the Kremlin, this name doesn’t refer to a band. Kremlin is a Russian military regiment and associated with the Russian Federal Protective Service. As you probably know, Russia is involved in the battles against ISIS in Syria. So it is not surprising that they are releasing video footage about those attacks. It is also not surprising that they would take a song produced by a foreign band and put it in their video without the band’s permission.

Quintessential Bowie

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Hey Noisy Planet! As promised here is our quintessential David Bowie top ten list. We have scoured in music mayhem all morning–while mourning the demise of Bowie. How do pay tribute to such an icon? His name alone invokes a sense of mystery, awe and admiration. But alas, let’s get loud and noisy and make this Pop King proud!

1. “Space Oddity” (1969)

Inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the song follows the unfortunate fate of Major Tom, an astronaut lost and drifting in space. Bowie’s breakout track became a hit in 1969, the year of the first Moon landing. It’s compelling and heartbreaking, putting a horrifying Ray Bradbury story line to a haunting melody.

2. “The Man Who Sold The World” (1970)

While younger fans may know the song thanks to Kurt Cobain’s haunting cover on Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged special, Bowie’s rendition was equally memorable, full of beautiful heartache, longing, and regret.

3. “Life on Mars?” (1971)

This song highlights Bowie’s multi-faceted talent, as he sings over a simple piano tune before the track builds with the help of a soaring string section. The song helped redefine rock in the 1970s and put Bowie firmly on the path to super-stardom.

4. “Changes” (1971)

Bowie was already famous in the U.K., but it wasn’t until “Changes” that he made an appearance on the U.S. charts in April 1972. He would eventually earn 25 entries on Billboard, including two No. 1 hits, “Fame” and “Let’s Dance.”

5. “Ziggy Stardust” (1972)

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is a complex and perfectly executed concept album that not only introduced one of Bowie’s best and most indelible characters, Ziggy Stardust, but also brought songs like “Suffragette City” and “Rock and Roll Suicide” to the world.

6. “The Jean Genie” (1973)
After a worldwide tour as Ziggy Stardust, Bowie was re-born asAladdin Sane with “The Jean Genie” (originally released in 1972) as the lead single, introducing fans to the Iggy Pop-inspired character. The song has gone on to be one of Bowie’s most beloved hits.

7. “Fame” (1975)
Bowie was never beholden to one genre or style of music, instead easily slipping through electronic, pop, and rock before eventually landing on “plastic soul” with his 1975 album, Young Americans. As with the other styles, Bowie made it his own mixing funk and American soul music with a Brit pop aesthetic. The song “Fame” was co-written with Carlos Alomar and John Lennon, who knew something about fame.

8. “Heroes” (1977)
Bowie reportedly wrote this song after seeing a couple rendezvousing under the Berlin Wall and imagining their story. In the hands of Bowie and producer Brian Eno, the song is an impassioned plea, resulting in an aching and human love story.

9. “Modern Love” (1983)
Co-produced by Chic’s Nile Rodgers and featuring Stevie Ray Vaughn on guitar, “Modern Love” off of 1983’s Let’s Dance showed Bowie once again changing with the times, a move–and a song—that subsequently introduced him to a whole new generation of fans.

10. “The Next Day” (2013)
By 2013, it was widely assumed that Bowie was retired from the music industry. Always one to defy expectations, he surprised fans by releasing his 24th studio album, The Next Day, on his 66th birthday. It revealed that Bowie was as creative and contemplative as ever, and the album became his first number one in the U.K. in 20 years.