David Bowie vs Neil Young

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David Bowie vs Neil Young

David Bowie
45
55%
Neil Young
37
45%
 
Total votes: 82

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Davey the Fat Boy
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 14 Nov 2017, 15:02

Well I voted for Bowie too, and to the extent that one prizes the singularity of a record (as opposed to the durability of the song at the core of a record) - it makes complete sense to prefer Bowie.
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby fange » 14 Nov 2017, 15:05

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:They can hide behind their abstraction and their projected cool sometimes in a way that Young’s never do. Meanwhile Neil’s songs tend to employ the “shortest distance to the emotional core” method.

This is an interesting couple of points, and ones i kind of agree with ... up to a point. But i'm tired now, and it's my bedtime, so i'll come back sometime tomorrow :)
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Goat Boy » 14 Nov 2017, 15:08

Dr. E. PLATE wrote:I just think DB wrote a greater number of classic melodies. Which is a skill normally associated with ‘traditional’ artists, is it not? so the idea seems counterintuitive, maybe. But he did.


Bowie is the superior songwriter but what Davey values in songwriting is better demonstrated by Young.

He has a greater grasp of melody and chords. Young is far more rooted, obviously, in traditional folk and rock.

Something like Life On Mars is not something that Young could ever fashion but I Bowie could come up with a heart of Gold.
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The Modernist
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby The Modernist » 14 Nov 2017, 15:22

Goat Boy wrote:
Something like Life On Mars is not something that Young could ever fashion but I Bowie could come up with a heart of Gold.


I think there are examples of Bowie writing that more straightforward kind of melody, particularly on Hunky Dory (something like Kooks)

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby THE SMOOTH SOUL STYLINGS OF SUMPTUOUS SI » 14 Nov 2017, 15:32

The Modernist wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:
Something like Life On Mars is not something that Young could ever fashion but I Bowie could come up with a heart of Gold.


I think there are examples of Bowie writing that more straightforward kind of melody, particularly on Hunky Dory (something like Kooks)


Yeah.

Is there such a thing as 'pure' melody? something that sounds pretty when sung but can't be put into any kind of musical subcategory?

Anyway I wouldn't say 'Life On Mars' has any kind of melody, really. You can't whistle the bastard!
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 14 Nov 2017, 15:40

The Modernist wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:
Something like Life On Mars is not something that Young could ever fashion but I Bowie could come up with a heart of Gold.


I think there are examples of Bowie writing that more straightforward kind of melody, particularly on Hunky Dory (something like Kooks)


Oh...for sure. In fact I’d argue that Life on Mars is an outlier for Bowie (being more about sophisticated chord changes than anything else). Over the course of his career his chord changes and melodic ideas were closer to Neil Young than Brian Wilson. He was certainly more sophisticated than Young overall, but not in a way that made him musically obscure most of the time (sometimes he did cross that line).

But again...as a whole songwriter (lyrics especially, but also his approach to song structure) he could be opaque in a way that rendered his songs a bit less universal absent his performances of them.

It’s easy to overstate this kind of critique - as if I’m saying that none of his songs hold up on their own. That’s as untrue as concluding that Young didn’t make any great-sounding records. But relative to each other, I think that what I’m saying about the contrasts between these two top-shelf artists holds basically true.
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Goat Boy » 14 Nov 2017, 15:53

Dr. E. PLATE wrote:
The Modernist wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:
Something like Life On Mars is not something that Young could ever fashion but I Bowie could come up with a heart of Gold.


I think there are examples of Bowie writing that more straightforward kind of melody, particularly on Hunky Dory (something like Kooks)


Yeah.

Is there such a thing as 'pure' melody? something that sounds pretty when sung but can't be put into any kind of musical subcategory?

Anyway I wouldn't say 'Life On Mars' has any kind of melody, really. You can't whistle the bastard!


The chords!
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Bent Fabric » 14 Nov 2017, 15:58

The Modernist wrote:something like Kooks


Bowie was a Neil Young fan, and this particular song was written after listening to Goldrush ("Till The Morning Comes" being the most salient point of reference).

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby THE SMOOTH SOUL STYLINGS OF SUMPTUOUS SI » 14 Nov 2017, 16:03

Bent Fabric wrote:
The Modernist wrote:something like Kooks


Bowie was a Neil Young fan, and this particular song was written after listening to Goldrush ("Till The Morning Comes" being the most salient point of reference).


Fuck yes!

'I'm gonna give you till the morning comes' = 'will you stay in our lovers' story?'
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Twang » 14 Nov 2017, 16:06

I hear "Quicksand" as Bowie's version of a Neil Young song. I might have read that somewhere though.

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby George P. Smackers » 14 Nov 2017, 18:18

I love David Bowie, I voted for him in this poll, I love his songs.

But there are plenty of little wincing moments when I listen to him. Not just "Put on your red shoes and dance the blues" and other things I can't imagine an actual human saying for any reason. Or totally overblown nonsense like "Cygnet Committee."

"Changes" is an example. It starts out bang bang bang, cliché cliché cliché-- "a million dead-end streets," "running wild," "I thought I'd got it made," etc. It's a very "Broadway" use of cliché, sort of knowing and ironic, but it propels the song forward. I hear that, I see the function, but it distances me.

And the moments of clumsiness--"look out you rock and rollers, pretty soon now you're gonna get older" etc.--don't feel as genuine as Neil Young's clumsiness. Don't get me wrong, there are bad lines and bad verses galore in Neil Young songs, even the good ones.

Melodically the fair thing to say, I think, is that they work in different idioms. Bowie is often very "show-biz" and musical theater-sounding. I love that about him, but sometimes I feel like limits and distances him lyrically. Neil Young is of course an electric folkie. You don't expect him to belt out a tune for the upper balconies.

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby THE SMOOTH SOUL STYLINGS OF SUMPTUOUS SI » 14 Nov 2017, 19:13

- but there are many here who'll tell you that's exactly what he DOES
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Diamond Dog » 14 Nov 2017, 19:30

WILL they?
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Matt Wilson » 14 Nov 2017, 19:33

Adapts whiny, Neil Young voice:

"There's NO business like SHOW business..."
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby fange » 14 Nov 2017, 23:22

Here're a couple that were made for the upper balconies, I think...





...introspective lyrical concerns and all.
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby THE SMOOTH SOUL STYLINGS OF SUMPTUOUS SI » 14 Nov 2017, 23:23

Neil Young's two greatest melodies happen to be side by side on the same album.
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby The Modernist » 14 Nov 2017, 23:41

George P. Smackers wrote: Or totally overblown nonsense like "Cygnet Committee."

.


In my Bowie top ten!

I think Davey does make some pertinent points. But there is one fundamental point where I'd disagree. I think Young's appeal is less about his songs than his performance of the songs. I mean 'Heart of Gold' could almost have been done by any of that early 70s singer/songwriter mob, but it wouldn't have the same impact. I think a lot of what Young writes is fairly generic in terms of his musical or melodic ideas, but it's the raw, heartfelt quality he gives it which elevates him I think.

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Dayodead » 15 Nov 2017, 00:06

While I appreciate the influence NY has had, my choice is overwhelmingly Bowie...

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby fange » 15 Nov 2017, 00:08

Dr. E. PLATE wrote:Neil Young's two greatest melodies happen to be side by side on the same album.

'Cinnamon Girl' and 'Everybody Knows..'?
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby THE SMOOTH SOUL STYLINGS OF SUMPTUOUS SI » 15 Nov 2017, 00:39

Wow! You really think those two have great melodies?
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