David Bowie – “Heroes” (1977)
Starting with the obvious: it’s Bowie, therefore it’s not quite like anything else and it’s well worth a listen.
The more interesting discussion is how it compares to the formidable Bowie catalogue.
– It’s not dissimilar to the structure of Low: another part of the “Berlin Trilogy,” songs on side one, primarily soundscapes on side two. Though the atmosphere throughout “Heroes” is generally more positive.
– Guest guitarist Robert Fripp may be renowned for his innovative stylings but it is a simple two note lead pattern that might also be his most devastatingly effective. The title track hook is one of the greats, made even more impressive learning that he recorded all his parts for the entire album in one day.
– From what I gather, the quotes around the album title are intended to question the notion of heroism, the qualities that make a true hero. The song itself has been covered plenty of times and chances are that its inclusion in films may be miles away from the intended context of the original (unless Bowie had penned “Heroes” with ‘summoning courage to battle Godzilla’ or ‘Keanu Reeves leading a group of loveable football misfits’ in mind). Whether the song was meant to be inspirational, it’s undeniably uplifting. The kilometres I ran while listening to this track were noticeably faster than my others!
– The solid opener Beauty & The Beast is quite different from the Disney film title track, much to my daughter’s confusion when I would sing it around the house.
– Is there anything Bowie can’t do? He sings, writes, co-produces & plays guitar/keyboard/saxophone/koto (thanks to Bowie, I now know what a koto is, The National Instrument of Japan!). The major difference between him & other artists who seemingly do everything is that even though he could do it all himself, he wisely surrounds himself with people like Tony Visconti, Brian Eno, and the aforementioned Robert Fripp.
– The album trails off slightly after the beautiful Moss Garden but there’s more than enough in the opening eight tracks to consider it among his finest. Ziggy & Hunky Dory are pretty high benchmarks but this one’s not too far off.