Friday, September 9, 2016

40 Year Itch : Bowie in Berlin

David Bowie : Always Crashing in the Same Car

In September 1976, David Bowie moved to Berlin where he worked with Iggy Pop on the mixing of Pop's comeback album, The Idiot,  and finished recording the album Low with Brian Eno and Tony Visconti.
Why Berlin?
 "I went to Berlin to find an environment unlike California, that dreadful, parasitic mire," said Bowie. "It seemed foreign and alien to anything I'd been through. Rough and tough, not the sweet life".

 The sweet life had taken its toll on Bowie.
One of the songs he would record for Low is called "Always Crashing in the Same Car". Bowie had come up with a public story behind the song, something about racing around in an underground parking garage, going faster and faster.
"As I was getting up to 40 and 50, going around the corners, I remember looking at the dash thinking 'Jesus! Aren't I going to crash soon?'".
 There is another story in which he claimed to have been recklessly chasing a drug dealer through the streets of Hollywood.

Jasmine, I saw you peeping
As I pushed my foot down to the floor
I was going 'round and 'round
The hotel garage
Must have been touching close to 94
Oh, but I'm Always crashing in the same car

This is most likely a metaphor for a cocaine addict who realized he was repeating the same self-destructive patterns over and over again in his life.
That would not be the case artistically.
Bowie appreciated the ambient sounds of Brian Eno's Discreet Music and Another Green World. Together they forged Eno's minimalist approaches with Krautrock sensibilities. Low would be one of the most intriguing albums of 1977, a year we will explore in 2017.
God willing.

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