I never cared much for David Bowie's music.
It's probably not as controversial as it sounds. Much of Bowie's catalogue could be almost intentionally alienating – there is nothing easy about listening to Fame, a song I have always found mildly grating in its cocaine-fuelled white-boy funkiness. There was always a dissonance that made Bowie a wild genius but that on a personal level, I never connected with.
That's not true of all of his catalogue – there is a genuine warmth to Ziggy Stardust I loved. His later experiments with industrial music also had a real human terror to them – I'm Afraid of Americans, probably the first Bowie song I ever heard, still captures a paranoid view of the world that's probably more apt today than when it was originally released. Bowie did Trent Reznor better than Trent Reznor did, and the Nine Inch Nails frontman seemed to recognize that, seeing as how he co-starred in the music video. Under Pressure is fucking Under Pressure. It's one of the best songs ever written, hands down and it gave birth to the best tune ever about solving problems and checking out hooks while the DJ revolves it.
There was also the fact that unlike, say, Mick Jagger, Bowie seemed in on the joke of existence. Watch his stage banter in this clip - dude was a riot. Or his cameo in Zoolander, in which he disqualified a man from a fashion walk-off for failing to miraculously pull his underwear off without removing his pants first. This is a thing that one of the biggest pop stars in the world voluntarily did in a phase of his career where he was so beyond having to give a shit about anything. That's miraculous.
Here's the really shocking revelation – I don't much like Motorhead either.
I love metal. I love punk. Ace of Spades is a great song. But Motorhead just never grabbed me. That unidentifiable thing that makes up our individual tastes kept me from loving Motorhead like I probably should as an avowed lover of heavy music. I respect it, even like it occasionally, but love it? Not really.
It's not the monotony. Every AC/DC song is every other AC/DC song, but it's still fucking awesome. There was just something in the mix of Motorhead that left me cold. I feel kinda bad about it, to be honest.
Yet I was genuinely sad to hear Lemmy was gone. He'd probably call me a wanker for this, but the man was a genuine iconoclast. He was an archetype. He was a genius. I didn't love his music, but I felt better knowing he was making it.
There's something to be said for the kind of genius that appeals to people who don't even like the results of said genius. It's a brilliance that transends taste – even if you don't like Bowie or Lemmy or Neil Young or David Foster Wallace, you have to love that they existed.
I will never like Fashion. But god damn, am I happy it exists.