In the days after music legend David Bowie's death, Daily Music Writers have chosen personally important songs to celebrate his life, artistry and brilliance.
“China Girl” was in the background of my adolescence always reminding me that no matter how traditional my family was, I was going to be westernized. And Bowie let me know that even though becoming similar to everyone was inevitable, being different in this world was beautiful and he was right. David Bowie, different in every definition of the word, was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful people to walk the Earth and now he’s gone to walk somewhere else. He will be greatly missed and in the words of almost every person I’ve met, “I love you, David Bowie.” — Selena Aguilera
I always assumed David Bowie would just live forever, or at the very least would still be making music for at least another lifetime. But he was not only in touch with his own mortality — he embraced it, transforming his date with Death into one last fantastical, beautiful, artistic exposé. The saxophones on “Lazarus” flow lethargically like the River Styx as it winds to Hades, ferrying our Starman to eternity. “Lazarus,” and all of Blackstar for that matter, almost longs for the end, “This way or no way / You know, I’ll be free,” which can only mean that my suspicions are confirmed: David Bowie did not die, he just went home. And if the last track on Blackstar, “I Can’t Give Everything Away,” is any indication, the Starman knows something we don’t; I imagine we’ll see him again. — Jamie Bircoll
The lyrics are what make this song so essentially Bowie, shouting as if it's the most vital thing in the world for you to put on your red shoes and dance, goddammit — under the moonlight, the serious moonlight. Are we supposed to know what this means? The words are so … weird and vague, but when Bowie says them in that bizarre tambre of his, I feel like I know exactly what he means. The moonlight is serious when you're dancing, especially if you've got some spicey red shoes to keep ya hoppin'. All I can say is that this song may have been the reason I bought a pair of red high tops (that I only ever wear when I go out). Thanks, Bowie. — Regan Detwiler
"Rock N' Roll Suicide"
“You’re not alone!” Bowie cries on “Rock N’ Roll Suicide,” and by the time the track reaches its urgent peak, you start to believe him. Bowie had a beautiful talent for balancing the joyful and desperate, and “Rock N’ Roll Suicide” walks that delicate line. For a track so tightly tied with the theatre of Ziggy Stardust, its disarmingly real. “The clock waits so patiently on your song,” he sings, but he’s not wallowing. This is life. It ends. No matter how much you might feel otherwise, you’re not alone. If that’s not beauty, I don’t know what is. — Matt Gallatin
Sitting in the backseat of my dad’s truck, stereo blasting some oldies station — it was looking like a typical family road trek a few sweltering summers ago, perhaps 2006. I was beyond bored: the radio, churning out Zeppelin and Stones standards, and me, sweating like Robert Plant in a suit, had just about had it with each other. Then “Suffragette City” came on, and from the first “hey man!” I knew. I knew that Bowie was the punk-alien answer to all my pre-pubescent problems. He got it, and he put it to pounding guitars, and he’s meant everything about creativity to me since. I’ll miss you, my Hero. — Melina Glusac
I have a “Classic Feel Good Jams” playlist where I only include the best of the best jams — they only emit positive vibes and of course multiple Bowie songs made the cut. “Young Americans” is my mom’s favorite Bowie song and one of the only songs on my playlist that I can listen to on a loop and never tire of. Bowie had a way of making his music profound yet accessible to the masses which is a quality not many people can achieve. “Young Americans” is the perfect example of this; Bowie made such a profound, serious commentary on the lives of newlyweds while guising it as a feel-good song clad with saxophones and upbeat harmonies. — Danielle Immerman
"I'm not a prophet or a stone-age man / Just a mortal with the potential of a superman." I think these lyrics say it all — Bowie was always one giant leap ahead of everyone else. His words were rarely straightforward so you have to take in his art with your soul, not with your mind. That is life. He changed so many minds and impacted lives just by being true to himself. "Quicksand" is honest, beautiful and complicated — just like the man who wrote it. Thank you, Starman. — Carly Snider
This is the kind of song that makes life worth living. “Heroes” makes me want to get married and have kids so that when they’re like five years old I can sit them down in front of a stereo and play this song and even though they won’t know what the Berlin Wall was or be able to fully comprehend the depths of passion and love in Bowie’s voice they’ll still feel something stir inside of them for just a moment and they’ll understand in their hearts that even though the world is cruel and fucked-up shit happens all the time, it’s ultimately worth it. And that’s what Bowie did for people. — Adam Theisen