Monday, November 27, 2006

RIP MIX BURN: "Heroes"

"...after two raucous avant-rock tracks we come to the true center of the album, the title track. I still cannot believe that there is a three-and-a-half single edit of “Heroes” (or since the quotation marks given to the title of the album are also present for the song, “”Heroes””), diluting the impact of the over six minutes present on record seems both sacrilegious and needless—who gets tired of “”Heroes””? Who tires of that endlessly unspooling guitar part, the spectral tambourine clang of the second half, and Bowie’s delivery, slowly edging towards impassioned? The first time Bowie’s composure breaks, at about three and a half minutes, is maybe the single finest instant in all of his work. Perhaps the knowledge that the lyrics were improvised makes it even better.

Those quotation marks on album and song title feel crucial, but their meaning remains elusive; all that is sure is that when Bowie sings “We can be heroes” he is no longer positioning himself as the hero, set apart and above of his audience. His head has leveled after the purgations of Station To Station and Low; no more Ziggy, not even the Thin White Duke. Even Major Tom would soon be laid to rest. "

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