Monday, 22 November 2010

Like dolphins can swim

Watched the X Factor last night.

I know, I know. I'm not proud. I've got kids, that's my excuse.

Anyway. "Heroes", by David Bowie, is the latest victim of the Simon Cowell juggernaut, in the name of the British Army charity, Help For Heroes.

I hate this. A great song, having the context and nuance wrung out of it by a bunch of talent school wannabes. "Hallelujah" was hard enough to deal with. Have they gone too far this time?

It's instructive that they missed out some of the lyrics. "Heroes" (and the quotation marks are part of the title, symbolising the ironic sense the song was meant to be taken in) to me is a song which celebrates a young couple embracing by the Berlin Wall, beneath that concrete monolith which served as a proxy for the crushing dominance of the Russian Army and the Cold War in general (actually, the couple in the song were producer Tony Visconti and his lover, which Bowie admitted a few years back).

The anthemic nature of the music stands in complete contrast to Bowie's howling, wailing, almost pathetic vocal. You know that the couple in the song are doomed, but they don't care - there's ultimately nothing heroic about their actions that will stand the test of time, but they can be heroes, to themselves, just for one day.

And you
You can be mean
And I
I'll drink all the time
'Cause we're lovers
And that is a fact
Yes we're lovers
And that is that

We're nothing
And nothing will help us
Maybe we're lying
Then you better not stay
But we could be safer
Just for one day
Doesn't really fit for a song about disfigured soldiers. Couldn't they have used "Hero" by Mariah Carey?

Here's the original, anyway.

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