'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

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?

H
10
21%
LoM
38
79%
 
Total votes: 48

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The Unfragrant Ox
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'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby The Unfragrant Ox » 15 Nov 2017, 18:09

Davey asked me...




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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Charlie O. » 15 Nov 2017, 18:14

U.S. POSTER IN "VOTES FOR BOWIE OVER NEIL" SHOCKER
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Charlie O. » 15 Nov 2017, 18:14

Which I did not do on the other thread, btw
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Harvey K-Tel » 15 Nov 2017, 18:25

I've never been a huge fan of 'Helpless' and that particular version does it no favours at all.

'Life on Mars', easily.
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 15 Nov 2017, 18:27

We were talking specifically about the melodies on the other thread. I was arguing in favor of simplicity.

Life on Mars is a staggeringly good composition (one of the few songs by Bowie that can truly be called a “composition”). The chord structure is really sophisticated and beautiful. But the melody suffers a bit for that. It ends up feeling a bit too acrobatic to breathe.

Helpless is the picture of simplicity...building up a great tension in the verses by not varying when you think it’s going to. Then when the release comes in the chorus...it’s delivered by the counter melody by the background vocals.

Getting beyond the issue of melody, I still like Helpless more of the two records because I think it allows the listener to bring more of themselves to it. But Life is an incredible record in its own right, and certainly a more singular one.
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby German Dave » 15 Nov 2017, 18:28

I prefer Knocking on Heaven's Door.
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Matt Wilson » 15 Nov 2017, 18:30

But the Guns 'n Roses version, right?

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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Quaco » 15 Nov 2017, 18:31

"Life on Mars?" is perhaps a bit acrobatic, but I've always felt the melody to "Helpless" was basically unmemorable. Simple is good, but this one just falls in a straight line following the most basic of chords. I don't really care for this kind of writing, and it's very much the lyrics which save this one. So, somewhere in between maybe!
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Moleskin » 15 Nov 2017, 18:33

Helpless is pretty useless.
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby WG Kaspar » 15 Nov 2017, 18:33

I'll take Helpless thanks.
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Darryl Strawberry » 15 Nov 2017, 18:40

Why can't I have both? Screw this binary world...
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Goat Boy » 15 Nov 2017, 18:46

On what planet is Helpless better than Life on Mars?

Christ!
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 15 Nov 2017, 18:49

Did you stomp your foot and throw a plate when you typed that GB?
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby The Unfragrant Ox » 15 Nov 2017, 18:49

Matt Harringay wrote:I prefer Knocking on Heaven's Door.


the 'Helpless' that went to university, yeah































;)
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby PENK » 15 Nov 2017, 18:50

I love Neil, I really do, but 'Helpless' is a dirge.

'Life on Mars' is one of the crowning achievements of the popular music era.

This is just about Davey trying to wind up the Bowie fans, really, isn't it? ;)
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Goat Boy » 15 Nov 2017, 18:51

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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby toomanyhatz » 15 Nov 2017, 18:52

Quaco wrote:"Life on Mars?" is perhaps a bit acrobatic, but I've always felt the melody to "Helpless" was basically unmemorable. Simple is good, but this one just falls in a straight line following the most basic of chords. I don't really care for this kind of writing, and it's very much the lyrics which save this one. So, somewhere in between maybe!


This, pretty much. The counter-vocal does help, but I've always found the song a bit dreary. Plus, the fact that "Life on Mars?" doesn't sound jumpy despite being acrobatic is one of its strengths. It's a much better melody and a much better song on every level.
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Osgood » 15 Nov 2017, 18:55

I have always considered Helpless a poor example of Neil's writing abilities. There are many other songs with a good melody to choose from. I'm thinking of After the Goldrush or Tell Me Why or Like a Hurricane or ...

But I can't think of any that would beat Life on Mars? as a song. And I voted for Neil in the poll.
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 15 Nov 2017, 19:00

toomanyhatz wrote:
Quaco wrote:"Life on Mars?" is perhaps a bit acrobatic, but I've always felt the melody to "Helpless" was basically unmemorable. Simple is good, but this one just falls in a straight line following the most basic of chords. I don't really care for this kind of writing, and it's very much the lyrics which save this one. So, somewhere in between maybe!


This, pretty much. The counter-vocal does help, but I've always found the song a bit dreary. Plus, the fact that "Life on Mars?" doesn't sound jumpy despite being acrobatic is one of its strengths. It's a much better melody and a much better song on every level.


...except that there’s almost never a time when I actually want to hear Life.

I mean...I’m always impressed by it. But it doesn’t need the listener for anything. It’s Bowie’s party. Our job is just to behold and ponder its greatness.

Helpless admittedly sometimes feels like a dirge. Sometimes it is the last thing on earth I want to hear. But when you hear it in the right frame of mind, it can be a really emotional thing. I don’t get many emotions from listening to LOM.
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Minnie the Minx » 15 Nov 2017, 19:22

I had never knowingly heard Helpless so Injust listened and it was pleasant enough, but it was simply Knocking on Heaven's Door.
Then I went and listened to Life on Mars which sounds like a wizard ejaculating sponge cake on a moon made of crystals.
I'll stick with my ejaculating wizard, cheers!
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