Never been much of a Bowie fan – yes, I acknowledged his charisma, vision, all that, but for the most part I felt some sort of hollow core that left me fairly uninterested when push came to shove.
Yet I must say something seems to be bubbling in his (or is it my?) old age. His previous single, “Where are we now”, was already quite promising, video included, so much so that it’s been an entry point for some of my recent lectures.
But this new “Sue” raises the stakes. To produce this epic of vertigo and controlled chaos in the age of autotune banality, where classic pop icons are either dead, releasing revisionist deluxe box-sets or chasing trends to the point of humiliation, is quite a gulf of oxygen – especially fulfilling given that in the past Bowie himself has often become an embarrassment to his own heritage (“Dancin’ in the Street”, anyone? The desperate “Outside”? “Little Wonder”? Tin Machine? “Absolute Beginners”?… the list of faux-pas is, sadly, much longer than it should have been).
Of course it is doubtful this piece will become a hit in any of the current circles of mass pop consumption, as younger generations will not even register the idioms being used (and this is no judgment, rather an acknowledgment; there are things to be said regarding the ideological roots and implications of the reduction of the pop scape… just not now). Well, part of the radical essence of this single is it feels beyond metrics, it reduces the hightoons and youtoos of the now to the promotional void they effectively are.
Mr. Thin White Duke, I salute you, you have become the visceral, aristocratic counterpoint to the mutant, pubescent avatars that wreck the dark corners of pop pap in 2014. YOU wreck the Wrecking Ball, Mr. Bowie. Ever so thankful.