David Bowie's Modern Love

November 3, 2017

Music is one of the most important things in my life. I listen to music to escape from reality. To me, music has to be something genuine and meaningful that comes from the artists’ souls and not something that sounds manufactured or formulaic. Only then can I fully appreciated music. Music is extremely powerful. It can make me feel mind numbing emotions, invoke such a strong nostalgic feeling of events or people in my past, and even change the way I think of things. One of my favorite songs that I feel is genuinely meaningful and evokes emotions, memories, and thoughts is “Modern Love” by David Bowie.

In this song, Bowie starts with a funky beat before adding in drums that give the song an upbeat, happy feeling. Whenever I listen to this part, I feel the urge to jump up and dance or do something randomly spontaneous. The intro adds to the songs general positive tone, which lifts my spirits, especially if I’m going through tough times in school, tennis, or life in general. The song also has this saxophone solo in the middle that’s also very happy and upbeat. It gives me a feeling of freedom like I’m running down a street in a city or the hallways in school with no destination in particular. In addition, Bowie’s amazing voice conveys the positive tone, especially towards the end of the song where I can feel the overall feeling of freedom in his voice.

Another reason “Modern Love” is so meaningful to me is because I relate strongly to the lyrics. The song is essentially about Bowie facing a change in the style of music culture in society. I relate this to myself facing changes in everyday life as I’m getting older and becoming an adult. For example, the song goes “I’m standing in the wind”. I’ve always interpreted this line like I’m lost in the sense that I don’t know where to go in life. This is true for me since I really don’t know where I’m going in life, what I want to major in when I go to college, what college I want to go to, what kind of job I want, if I’m willing to spend my life working in an office cubicle, and just general uncertainties about my future as well as personal uncertainties such as who do I want to be?

In addition, there’s a line that goes “but I never wave bye-bye”. I relate to this line in a sense that as time passes and I have to grow up, take on more responsibilities, and focus on being successful in life, I’m in danger of losing certain dreams and values that I have now, as a teenager, and also of conforming to societal values that I don’t necessarily agree with but will conform to nonetheless become they bring me other, most likely material, benefits. At the same time, I don’t want to lose my dreams and values and I don’t want to conform or in other words, I don’t want to wave bye-bye and change into someone I don’t want to be. This line is followed by the line “but I try, I try”. I feel like this line adds to the overall positive tone conveyed by the beat and the instruments, as well as Bowie’s stunning vocals, in that it’s telling me to just keep going in life and trying my best. I take this to heart especially when life gets me down or even when I’m feeling lost; I just tell myself to keep going and keep trying.
Overall, “Modern Love” by David Bowie is one of the many songs that influence me. I feel like it’s a very raw and powerful song and that Bowie truly wrote done and sung what he felt, which means a lot to me as a listener since I value that ingenuity in all art forms. Music is extremely powerful in my life and also a necessity. I would not know what to do without music, especially during difficult times in my life. Music also defines me as a person, and will continue to define me for the rest of my life.

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