David Bowie turned marketing into the essence of his art. All great phenomena of popular music, from Elvis Presley to the Beatles, had been, first and foremost, marketing phenomena (just like Coca Cola and Barbie before them); however, Bowie turned that into an art of its own. With Bowie the science of marketing becomes art; art and marketing become one. There were intellectuals who had proclaimed this theory in rebellious terms. Bowie was, in many ways, the heir, no matter how perverted, of Andy Warhol's pop art and of the underground culture of the 1960s. He adopted some of the most blaspheme issues and turned them upside down to make them precisely what they had been designed to fight: a commodity.
Bowie was a protagonist of his times, although a poor musician: to say that Bowie is a musician is like saying that Nero was a harp player (a fact that is technically true, but misleading). Bowie embodies the quintessence of artificial art, raises futility to paradigm, focuses on the phenomenon rather than the content, makes irrelevant the relevant, and, thus, is the epitome of everything that went wrong with rock music.
Each element of his art is the emblem of a true artistic movement; however, the ensemble of those emblems constitutes no more than a puzzle, no matter how intriguing, of symbols, a roll of incoherent images projected against the wall at twice the speed, a dictionary of terms rather than a poem, and, in the best of hypotheses, a documentary of the cultural fads of his era.
Bowie merely recycled what had been going on for years in the British underground, in particular what had been popularized by the psychedelic bands of 1967. And he turned it into a commodity: whichever way you look at his oeuvre, this is the real merit of it.
Why are people so mad about this? Yeah Bowie's Dad rock so what? Being Dad rock isn't something "bad". It's just a word used to label generic Rock musicians that were popular in the period between 60 and 80, despite of the quality.
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