“After All” by David Bowie

In the wake of the world’s tragic loss of music God David Bowie, I thought I’d share my impressions of a particular favorite of mine among his songs. The Man Who Sold the World is generally regarded as the first truly great album Bowie would release, but while most of the album is as close to Heavy Metal as Bowie would ever come, this song evokes more of a gentle Folk sound reminiscent of the material on Bowie’s previous album, Space Oddity. Even so, I’m not the only critic who regards this as the album’s high point. The quietly haunting, rusty-squeezebox melody and bedraggled-sounding chorus responding to Bowie’s lines with a mournful “Oh, by jingo” give the song the feel of a sorrowful folk song from some bygone century or bittersweet fantasy world, and the world-weary, philosophy-of-sorrow lyrics are some of the wisest and most beautiful Bowie would ever write (“Live till your rebirth and do what you will/Forget all I’ve said, please bear me no ill”). The song also shows off Bowie’s uniquely beautiful voice as clearly and perfectly as anything he ever recorded, reminding us what a truly exquisite instrument the man had in his younger days. This song is an expression of quiet, deep, unutterable sadness, but there’s something oddly comforting about it even so, so it seems like as good a listening choice as any to commemorate the passing of one of music’s greatest legends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.