Tuesday, November 16, 2010

As the World Falls Down

Song: As the World Falls Down
Artist: Lights (NYC)
Album: We Were So Turned On: A Tribute to David Bowie

I've posted about David Bowie a handful of times, he's a musical legend, and an artist that I've liked since I was (literally) a child.  I have no qualms letting on that it was his work in the Jim Henson live-action/puppet (muppet?) fantasy musical "Labyrinth" from 1987.  I was fascinated by him as a child in that film, loved the music (which is very underrated) and got me into then recent albums "Modern Love" and "Never Let Me Down," which then led me to his more celebrated 70's work, and his also underrated 90's work. ("Outside," "Earthling.")

Bowie and his management have never signed off on a tribute album of his music until War Child's recent double-disc collection of covers called "We Were So Turned On: A Tribute to David Bowie."  The album was released back in September, and supports War Child's efforts to help children in areas of conflict or post-conflict.  It was released on Manimal Vinyl, and started by the companies founder, Paul Beahan.

Instead of big-budget mix of industry heavyweights and big names, "We Were So Turned On" is mostly comprised of indie bands, the majority of those I haven't heard of.  It's a heady mix of a variety of styles and far-from-the-original takes on many a classic song from the Thin White Duke.  The biggest names on the album include Duran Duran's "Boys Keep Swinging," Devendra Banharts's Megapuss' take on "Sound + Vision" (which is in Spanish) and the Vivian Girls' "John, I'm Only Dancing."

As an album, it's a bit disorienting because there isn't the recognition of voice and style given the artists here, and many of the songs are so different from their original versions, without looking at the track list... it's a bit of a guessing game as to which classic you're listening to.  All of the big ones are here; "Space Oddity," "Be My Wife," "Fame," "Suffragette City," "China Girl," "Heroes," "Absolute Beginners," "Changes," "Ashes to Ashes," "Starman..." the list goes on.  I was quite surprised to see not one but TWO songs taken from the aforementioned "Labyrinth" soundtrack.  Laco$te take on the dark, brooding "Within You" which I found a bit... un-listenable.  Lights (NYC) do a much better job with one of my favorite Bowie songs of all time... "As the World Falls Down," which I reviewed and highlighted over four years ago (!!!) on this here little blog.  Somehow Lights (NYC,) (whom I know absolutely nothing about and can't tell if it's this this chick or not) give the song a slowed-down 60's girl group vibe to the song.  I really dig it.

Much of your enjoyment to this sprawling tribute will depend on your love of Bowie, and the style each band brings to their track.  But I must mention... I couldn't help but think about Mr. Bowie's own off-kilter cover of The Doors "The Alabama Song."  It was a b-side to "Space Oddity," and anytime I have ever played it for a Doors fan, they HATE it.  Take a listen here.  Mind-blowing.


As the World Falls Down - Lights

Xu Xu Fang - Chine Girl

Modern Love - Pizza!

Bonus: Never seen this, the "official" video for the song, without footage from the film.

1 comment:

mymusicmission said...

You have no idea how excited I was to see this post this morning! David Bowie is one of my heroes, can't wait to check out these indie rock covers. Thanks for posting!
-My Music Mission