It was just over two years ago that David Bowie released his final effort, Blackstar, on his 69th birthday, knowing all too well that it would be last. On January 10, two days later, Bowie passed away as a result of liver cancer. The music world took a huge hit that day, losing not only a brilliant musician, but a true inspiration. Two years later, it still feels like there's a missing gap in music - even if he wasn't the most relevant in the years leading to his death, his presence was always known and his influence great. It's easy to recall the legend and the inspiration he was, and today we'll be remembering David Bowie with his experimental, anthemic "Heroes".
"Heroes" was released at a very particular time for Bowie. It was part of his Berlin era, where he began weaning off of drug use and began reflecting on life. Such sentiments can be heard in the Orwellian, dystopian tinged 'Sons Of The Silent Age,' where he builds upon characters that could have come straight from George Orwell's 1984. He had turned a new page, and with his new view of life he took a new view of his music, as well. The latter half of "Heroes" is largely instrumental, trippy in its textures and magical in their setting. 'V-2 Schneider' is funky and very new-age, paying tribute to Kraftwerk's Florian Schneider and the influence he brought into Bowie's music. 'Sense Of Doubt' is darker, minimalist in its noir atmosphere before 'Neuköln' serves as a figurative counterpart for 'Songs Of The Silent Age' as Bowie delves into a dystopian world with only sonic soundscapes to back him. 'Moss Garden' serves as a short reprieve between the two, being pure and oriental, with the feeling of floating into space adding to its character.
"Heroes" was Bowie's second album of 1977, but it shows no sign of wear. Introduced by the punchy, fun, and risqué lyricism of 'Beauty and The Beast,' the album jumps straight in with energy. 'Joe The Lion' brings Bowie's signature flamboyancy in every aspect of the track, from the rambunctious guitars to the chaotic vocals. There's a lot going on in the song to make it sound very frantic, but there is a sense of togetherness that ties it all together. 'Blackout' has a similarly frantic-yet-plotted sound to it. Bowie did not rely on crazy layers to make the music memorable; closing track 'The Secret Life Of Arabia' is much more reserved (though still with the signature Bowie wildness) and much more reflective, the song being a reflection on his behavior prior to this era of his life. "Heroes" has an overarching sense of inevitability, found either in the chaos and fun, of-the-moment sounds or the explorations of different worlds in the instrumentals, and this is best summed up in iconic title track '"Heroes",' where Bowie ponders over impermanence. There's comfort in his optimistic view of things, saying it's okay that things to not last, for that gives us reason to cherish the moment. Somethings and some people don't have to be remembered forever; instead, "We can be heroes, just for one day."
David Bowie's legacy is one that is impossible to contest. He's the man that made art come to life and gave so many inspiration and courage to be themselves. While remembering David Bowie with his experimental, anthemic "Heroes", it's almost humbling to see an artist be so true and honest even in a period of uncertainty of himself. Bowie left a gap in this world once he left, but he will not soon be forgotten. He lives on in every day and every moment.
Favorite Tracks: "Heroes", The Secret Life Of Arabia
Least Favorite Track: V-2 Schneider
Rating: 78 / 100
Stream or buy "Heroes" on Apple Music: