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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

David Bowie’s music revived my creativity during the pandemic

The Channels Art Pages | STAFF SUGGESTION
Alexis Chavez playing guitar in November of 2021 in Camarillo, Calif.

David Bowie’s fifth studio album, “The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars,” transcended the way I listen to music.

Released in 1972, “Ziggy Stardust” took the world by storm as Bowie’s most ambitious album to date. Developed into a concept album surrounding Bowie’s fictitious alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, the album is a symphony of glam rock combined with striking lyrics that critique society’s view of stardom. Bowie addresses important topics such as the artificiality of rock music, political issues, fluid gender expression, and personal identity.

I discovered this album in the fall of 2020, my junior year, and the first year of online school due to COVID-19. This time was incredibly isolating and uninspiring for me. With few places to turn to for any productive outlet, I found myself in a spiritless rut, often questioning my own artistic identity. Naturally, I turned to music. With my newly allotted downtime from quarantine, I discovered new music I never would have otherwise. “Ziggy Stardust” was by far the stand-out. 

The album was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. Although I’ve always admired Bowie’s artistry, it wasn’t until hearing “Ziggy Stardust” that I became connected to his music. The album mesmerized me with its impressive vocals, guitar riffs, and thought-provoking lyrics. 

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Like the perfect remedy, Bowie reignited my creative spark. During a time when I was constantly second-guessing myself, the song blasted confidence in my ears. I became enthralled with Bowie’s theatricality and otherworldly artistic approach. I even bought hair dye in an attempt to replicate his look, before quickly realizing that orange was not my color. 

Nevertheless, the album gave me the confidence to embrace my individuality and take artistic risks. I was provided with a new, imaginative view that redefined the way I present myself. 

The praise for the single far extends just my word. In 1987, the album was ranked sixth on Rolling Stone’s “The 100 Best Albums Of The Last Twenty Years,” and has been on numerous “greatest of all time” lists since then. Musical icon Elton John, who has worked closely with Bowie on many occasions, described him as “innovative and boundary-changing.” 

These compliments couldn’t be more true. “Ziggy Stardust” set Bowie apart from any other artist. His flamboyant persona created the standard for a new era of music, one defined by an unapologetic expression. His work  provides comfort to many who felt different or misplaced in this world.

50 years ago, “The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars” introduced a new approach to artistic identity. 

It was a revolution both musically and culturally. Today, the album continues to inspire Bowie’s imaginative spirit and confidence in many individuals everywhere.

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