In memory of a new killer star

11 Jan

I was just sitting down to get some work done this afternoon after a morning of grocery shopping and sleeping in (darn you, jet lag!), when I got this text from my brother:

A game of Amplitude will be played in David Bowie’s honor.
(Followed, fittingly, by a photo of a sad cat)

I had read about David Bowie’s passing this morning, but in my jetlag haze and anger at my apartment building for turning off the water while I was in the middle of doing laundry, it didn’t really sink in. He’s really gone.

I didn’t discover David Bowie in a traditional manner. I wasn’t even alive during his Ziggy Stardust days. My love for David Bowie began with Amplitude, a 2003 cult classic Playstation 2 game that served as the predecessor to Rock Band and Guitar Hero. If I may steal Wikipedia‘s description, “In Amplitude the player controls a beat blaster ship across a lane of six tracks, each track representing a musical instrument and containing note gems that the player shoots at in time with the music.” My favorite song to play was David Bowie’s Everyone Says Hi, partly because I liked the melody, but mostly because at the end he sings, “And your mum and dad, Everyone says, ‘Hi’, And your big fat dog, Everyone says, Hi,'” and to 2003 Renee and her younger brother, “big fat dog” was hilarious. Eventually I bought David Bowie’s album Heathen because it contained Everyone Says Hi. I listened to it on repeat on my drive to and from high school, so much so that when I hear certain songs from it I can imagine what stretch of road I was on when it played. That next Christmas my brother bought me Best of Bowie and I finally got to hear some of his earlier stuff. During fall exams I played Under Pressure on repeat. I bought his album Reality when it came out in 2003. It was on my iPod on repeat when we had to rush to Cleveland after the sudden and unexpected death of my aunt.

Then 10 years went by and David Bowie released The Next Day. I was in a completely different place in my life, both mentally and physically, but his songs still resonated with me and accompanied me on my walks to the grocery store and runs through the royal parks. And now he’s gifted us Blackstar, his 25th and final album. I’m probably in the minority when I say I prefer his newer stuff, but it’s because I grew up with it and it helped me through difficult times.

It’s hard to believe he’s really gone. For now I choose to believe he just took a trip on a gemini spaceship and is sitting in a tin can far above the world.

“Don’t stay in a bad place / Where they don’t care how you are.”



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