I saw a similar graffiti to this one in a building of Avenida Maipú in Buenos Aires, in 2014, and I thought then the message encapsulated perfectly the feelings I had always had for pop-rock genius and cultural icon David Bowie.
I woke up this morning and a WhatsApp message from my friends in Spain alerted me of David Bowie’s passing away. A deep and silent sadness took over me during the whole day today. Ridiculous: Someone that I didn’t know at all (personally) died almost four thousand miles away, and I still feel hours later gloomy and melancholic: such is the personal connection I have, like many others around the globe, to David Bowie’s artistic work.
It is, for one, and to be honest, the feeling of getting old. I started admiring and appreciating Bowie’s music at the age of ten or so-since the late seventies, basically. For a while, my older sister used to blast the whole Ziggy Stardust record from beginning to end, again and again and without interruption. (I owe her that and other basic valuable lessons of my musical education.) “Five Years,” a song I still believe to be an absolute masterpiece, among the best Bowie ever wrote, despite the little overall recognition it has received, was the first song I ever obsessed about. (You know, those songs that you love so much that you can hear again and again for hours, and every time you listen to you find them more charming and perfect.)
So Bowie passing away means time passing by-so fast: Late seventies, to 2016, basically half a life-time. But it’s also the realization of having one of your absolute heroes disappearing for good. For me, David Bowie embodies what absolute creativity, and raw talent, really mean. Few artists with such a personal imprint on pop-rock culture; with such audacity and self-confidence to cross lines and break apart to fulfill whatever his or her the artistic vision is; with such a chameleonic ability to adapt, change, grow, re-invent, and re-create.
And of course, his music. The catalog of Bowie’s amazing, outstanding songs, is practically endless. Most of us would include “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide,” and “Life in Mars,” and “Heroes,” and “Ziggy Stardust,” and “The Man Who Sold the World,” and “Changes,” and “Space Oddity,” and “Modern Love,” and “Ashes to Ashes,” and “Starman,” and “Fame,” and “Golden Years,” and “Young Americans,” and… so many others.
I personally would include other less or more popular titles like “5:15,” “Aladdin Sane,” “Sorrow,” “Sound and Vision,” “Wild is the Wind,” “Sunday,” “A Better Future,” “This Is not America” (in collaboration with jazz guitar player and composer Pat Metheny), and, of course, “Five Years.”
To end: I have pledged and I will pledge to fully admire Bowie’s creative mind and limitless musical and writing talent. And so I will say, with sadness, today:
“My Pope is Dead.”