David Bowie has released 25 albums over the course of his long career. His musical style shifts with the times, spanning funk to minimalism to glam rock and drum n bass. There’s a reason he’s called the chameleon. Anybody can do what he does, but to make it sound natural, to leave his mark on the music and create a legitimate contribution at the same time is the real trick.
Every 2-3 albums, David Bowie makes a conscious decision to abandon whatever he’s been doing, the persona he’s built up and changes direction. Shedding his past like a skin, he forces himself to start over, to make a new start, to forge a new Bowie from the ashes. Take his Ziggy Stardust era, for example. It started with his first hit, ‘Space Oddity’ and built up over the span of a couple albums to an apex with Ziggy and all the fame and arena shows that came along with it. Instead of continuing on, making more Ziggy concept albums and sticking to that persona, he shed it like a skin and moved on without the Spiders.
He shifted into a different mode going into soul (performing on ‘Soul Train’ for “Young Americans”) before starting in on his ‘Berlin’ phase with Brian Eno, co-creating a moody, darker sound to match the mood and surroundings of Berlin. These are some of my favorite albums of Bowie’s because they stand out so much from the rest, a trio that stands as a standalone project. They’re also the best records for Sundays, a strained, emotional Bowie overlaid with characteristically Eno atmospherics, and music that without Bowie could easily be considered cold and emotionally detached.
This Sunday, remake yourself. Make the changes you feel necessary and don’t feel obligated to apologize for it.