Don't Wanna Stay Alive When You're 25

David Bowie. Review.

Review of David Bowie, by Stefan Stenudd

I was a huge fan of David Bowie in the 1970s, but gradually lost that fascination as the 80s approached. He seemed to lose his edge and that desperation contained within, just barely kept from erupting. I wonder if rock'n'roll is something reserved for all the young dudes.

Ever Young. Supernatural fiction by Stefan Stenudd. Ever Young
Supernatural fiction by Stefan Stenudd
Caroline meets those who do not age, and this ability can be transmitted. But there are grisly downsides. Click the image to see the book at Amazon (paid link).

       I still feel that David Bowie was at his best when his young voice was on the verge of cracking and he experimented wildly with appearances. Nowadays, he's a laid-back former champion, behaving and performing with the most attention to being reserved and polished in the manner of British nobibily. Just like Madonna, actually.

       He must have felt it, himself. At the last gig of his Ziggy Stardust tour of 1973, he announced that he would never perform again. Then he sang Rock'n'roll Suicide, as seen on the video below. He was 26 years old at the time.

       But he didn't retire, fortunately. He produced several formidable albums and continued to revolutionize stage performance over and over. But after the release of the Heroes album in 1977, he lost that edge, those shivering nerves, and became complacent. He was 30.

       It seems to happen to almost every rock artist. The fire they had within is extinguished. What remain are living legends, repeating their old hits and enjoying the fortunes they assembled mainly during their young triumphs. That money might have something to do with it. They went from hungry to saturated. That's not rock'n'roll.

       Some of the greatest rock icons died when they were about 30. The others are retired, even if they don't know it. Nothing wrong with that. Several professions have early retirement. Athletes usually quit in their early thirties. Ballet dancers when they push 40.

       Rock is the expression of young underdogs taking on the world. When they become privileged and middle-aged, they should change to music more appropriate for that state of being. Like old showtunes or swing. Well, some of them do.

       It's not necessary to suffer in order to produce great art, although it kind of helps. But if you don't even have a gnawing in the soul or noisy thumping in the heart, then you aren't very likely to come up with anything that helps the audience reach catharsis.


When moving these old reviews from my blog to my personal website (October 2015), I noticed that I had written two reviews on the same subject and with the same title. Here is the other one, from 2013:
Don't Wanna Stay Alive When You're 25

Stefan Stenudd
June 12, 2011

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Stefan Stenudd

Stefan Stenudd

About me
I'm a Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction books in both English and Swedish. I'm also an artist, a historian of ideas, and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor. Click the header to read my full bio.