Tuesday, April 25, 2006

If you say run …

letsdancedangerfield.jpgFor many die hard Bowie fans, this album was the beginning of the end. Suddenly, daring, experimental, brilliant David Bowie was making pop music. Really poppy pop music. “Let’s Dance” had a good beat. It was produced by Disco Legend Nile Rodgers. Even the lyrics were about dancing. But perhaps most shocking was Bowie himself. He looked fit. He looked happy. He looked straight. Really straight. Homophobic, even. Of course, even at ten years old I knew better, having seen the back of my big brother’s Ziggy Stardust album only months earlier. Luckily, none of the other fourth graders knew about Bowie’s glam rock past, and they haphazardly lumped him in with Billy Idol. In 1983, loving Bowie’s infectious pop was very safe. Indeed, it would take seven more years before I would be called a fag for liking David Bowie music.

But what about the music? Unlike Bowie’s largely craptastic ’85 and ’87 pop albums, “Let’s Dance” holds up. At this point, he hadn’t yet become the full blown whore, dancing with Tina Turner in Pepsi commercials. He was a just a coffee achiever who loved pastel suits. “Let’s Dance” had a great mix of heavy bass, sax, and searing guitar. And four years before Midnight Oil, he had a video bringing attention to the plight of the Australian Aborigines. Who cared if it had nothing to do with the lyrics? The video also contains Bowie’s greatest sin: not only does he pretend to be playing Stevie Ray Vaughn’s guitar solo, he does so while wearing white gloves. White gloves? (O.K., maybe he didn’t look that straight.)

After this commercial success it would take twelve more years before Bowie would find his artistic bearings again, but even now, “Let’s Dance” is sensational shake your ass, ear candy.

Best part: “Tremble like a flower …


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