Musical covers take something already familiar for some and twist it. Like a chef deconstructing a dish. Separating the usual BLT into a B, an L, and a T. The next time you have a BLT it's a new experience. For others who were not already familiar, a cover might provide the first exposure to the material at all. When David Bowie died I recognized his great contributions and appreciated all he had done. I'm at least somewhat aware of the world. But I lacked a total appreciation for his full impact. I like all of his music fine. I do, I like it a lot. But it wasn’t until hearing others perform it that I obtained a fresh perspective on his work. That fresh perspective provided a better appreciation of the significance of his impact.
Hearing and watching, “Space Oddity,” performed by an astronaut, Commander Chris Hadfield, in space completely changed my perspective. It deconstructed the song by taking something I always listened to in one context (performed on Earth!) and very much twisting it (a performance on space station orbiting Earth!).
In a similar fashion, the Portuguese covers of Bowie by Seu Jorge, especially “Life on Mars” completely flipped my usual perspective of Bowie’s songs. I will admit that my Portuguese isn't in tip-top shape but the tune still captured my attention and the mystery of the lyrics might have made the songs even more alluring.
Hearing both of these interpretations of David Bowie’s work steeply escalated my appreciation for his creations and his own performances. I now saw these works in a new light. Then, with a new appreciation for the artist and his work established, he very unexpectedly died (while I mentioned before working on expecting the unexpected when dealing with mortality that's more of a group goal where I am part of the group than a lesson from the head of the class. And this happened well before Prince's "early" demise anyway).
Understandably, and more expectedly, a bevy of tributes issued forth acknowledging David Bowie's tremendous impact. The most effective tributes, in my mind, both came from the Tonight Show. I saw neither live (because on the West Coast the show airs at 11:30 (PM!) which is crazy late and provides no real opportunity to watch the show and have a normal morning! #Sorrynotsorry). Both appeared later on social media which is where I discovered and enjoyed them.
(There was a link to the Michael Stipe video but it no longer works. Bummer cause it was good. I guess the early bird gets the worm.)
It provides a true testament to work when the deconstruction of it continues AD. Especially when it continues to make the whole BLT taste so much better.