Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hour By Hour

I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance copy of David Bowie’s Hours in 1999, which just about made my year. I was utterly thrilled to get my hands on a new Bowie record early, and coming off of two utterly thrilling releases, 1995’s Outside and 1997’s Earthling, I had high expectations.

Those expectations were dashed. Hours was slow, plodding, and (*gasp*) kind of boring. The first half of the record was filled with strained ballads and the second half was taken up by songs written for the game Omikron: The Nomad Soul (Which I played through on the Dreamcast, just because I’m a Bowie fan).

I was almost horrified by the record. The Bowie that had re-emerged in the mid-90’s as a creative force again had made a record for the middle-aged. I just didn’t get it (Completely ignoring the fact that Bowie was, in fact, middle-aged). I can’t say that I hated Hours. I mean, I still listened to thing constantly. But I couldn’t help but feel that it was a letdown.

Fast forward to 2008. I’m 9 years older and (hopefully) wiser. Admittedly, my life has gone in the crapper this year. And wouldn’t you know it? Suddenly the record makes sense to me. I gave Hours a spin in June and cried the entire way through.

“Thursday’s Child” used to drive me nuts, especially considering that it was the first single. How could Bowie choose such a meandering and downbeat song as the first single from the album? Why not “The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell?“ Why not “What’s Really Happening?“ But now? I finally understand “Thursday’s Child.” It connects with my heart in a way I’d never thought possible. I remember my childhood. I remember the good days. And I remember how it all ended.

“Survive” was another single I couldn’t really wrap my head around. It’s not that I didn’t understand it, it’s just that I didn’t feel it. I wasn’t living that life at the time, and the emotions certainly didn’t feel authentic to me. I was wrong.

So, I guess I owe Mr. David Bowie another debt of gratitude. He always shows me the way. And I like to think that he wrote Hours for me, just a decade early. He saw this coming, right?

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