“Let’s Dance” by David Bowie

By Jacob Ackerman

Everyone knows David Bowie, or at least has some clue who he is. You may know Bowie as Jareth, the Goblin King, in the movie, “Labyrinth,” or for his appearance in “Zoolander,” or as a character on “Venture Bros.” But let’s get to know his music though his 1983 album, “Let’s Dance.”

The album opens with “Modern Love,” which is a jazzy song. The lyrics question whether love exists and, if love does, why hasn’t God sent him the love of his life? It describes the doubts that come into the back of someone’s mind when something doesn’t work out the way wanted it to. In the song, Bowie describes that he wishes could just find his perfect girl.

That leads into “China Girl,” made it to No.10 on U.S. charts in the 1984, according to Billboard.com. This song has a dance vibe with great vocals and sweet guitar and bass playing. David Bowie and Iggy Pop both have versions of this song; the riffs in Iggy Pop’s version are pretty solid with much more intensity, while Bowie’s is a more marketable dance-type song.

The song “Let’s Dance” follows. It captures the ’80s in video and sound. Just hearing the first ten seconds, you know you’re in for some classic ’80s magic. This is a song you can’t help but move to and feel the music.

Then comes “Without You.” This song pulls back into a melancholy atmosphere, describing the feeling of a love that keeps someone from losing all hope. This is true, as even the lyrics say that he is “ready to throw in his hand.”

Next is “Ricochet.” It has a weird vibe that doesn’t fl ow with the rest of the song, as its sentiment focused on how people find themselves in toxic, repeating cycles. According to bowiebible.com, Bowie had doubts about the song and said it didn’t feel right like when it was first made. This makes sense because, compared to the other songs on this album, this one had much more potential.

After “Ricochet,” is a cover of “Criminal World,” by Metro. Aft er listening to both versions, it’s clear that a cover can be better than the original. Bowie’s is better because of how the bassist and guitarist used riffs to highlight Bowie’s voice.

Then comes “Cat People (Putting Out Fire).” The song really kicks back into the ’80s dance vibe around two minutes in and has some old school synths in it.

To close off the album, there’s the funky, groovy “Shake it.” In “Shake it,” Bowie talks about how charisma is worth more than words. It describes how much power one can have simply by being confident and comfortable with oneself (or it is a really weird drug trip). For Bowie, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that the song’s meaning can go both those ways.

My top picks from this album are, easily: “Let’s Dance,” “China Girl,” and “Criminal World.”