7.23.2010

Under Pressure

The first time I heard the song Under Pressure was in the 1990s when it was sampled in Vanilla Ice's, Ice Ice Baby though at the time, I hadn't a clue it was being sampled. I definitely gave too much credit to Vanilla Ice!

I didn't actually link David Bowie and Under Pressure until the late 1990s at a hair salon, of all places. The song grew on me.

So I started paying attention to David Bowie's song whenever it came on the radio--which isn't very often because I take Bowie in small doses. I am overdue for some serious research into his music.

Bowie first rose onto my radar in his 1980s duet with Mick Jagger "Dancing in the Street"--which I noticed back in my pre-teen youth as something different, while waiting with my parents at an airport terminal in Mexico City. Back then, the continuous loop of music videos on the terminal screens were my only direct contact with music videos. Music video shows were few and far between (Gloria Calzada!) back then, and usually ran after my bed time. I always looked for Dire Straits' Money for Nothing video which was top of the line computer graphics at the time.

I also knew Bowie had done acting stints, such as Labyrinth--which I watched about two years ago or so--which left me a little underwhelmed.

I always like to say that I am slow sometimes--I'm sure my near and dear hardly need a reminder hehe. A radio DJ recently introduced Under Pressure as a duet between David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. That's when the light went on in my head. How clueless I'd been all this time!

I immediately began to actively listen to the song as it played on my car radio. I focused, almost squinting, searching for Queen's/Freddie Mercury's trademark harmony and vocals, in-between David Bowie's higher volume vocals. I had only picked up Bowie and assumed the rest was a very good backup arrangement! Well, there was Freddie. He'd been there all along.

The richness and complexity of well-arranged music will never cease to fascinate me. It's food for the soul and the brain. Each time we listen to a song, especially a song by some of music's luminaries, we are sure to discover something new about the song and the artists.

I've begun to pay closer attention to older songs, to pick out these little gems. Little details that I was completely closed to before. It's made me better appreciate what I hear. It's no small coincidence that I've begun listening to 95.9 fm The River more often now, to educate myself on rock classics. They're all jamming gems. When I remember to, I look up particular songs I happen to hear on the radio on Wiki, YouTube, and Blip.Fm to learn more and re-listen more closely.

Ever get caught up like this by a musical discovery? I hope so. It's a whole new perspective on one of the most pleasurable things we can do for free. Here's to your happy listening.