For my first personal song recommendation, I’ve gone with a mix that was… actually only released this year, funnily enough~
As a bit of background to this track, the original Karma Man was written and performed by David Bowie all the way back in 1967–and that original recording is, in all honesty, one of his few pre-1969 songs that I really loved!
You can hear him perform this in 1968 at the BBC right here, and right away, I think you can hear how surreal and theatrical this mix feels—almost-nonsensical lyrics, whirling instruments, soaring vocals—sure, you can say a good bit of it’s down to the dated recording itself, but there is a pretty interesting origin story behind this track, all down to one thing: Tibetan Buddhism.
A Bowie-dedicated blog I anonymously frequent explains this origin succinctly, so I encourage you to check out their write-up on the song’s background here! A lot of people say to separate the art from the artist, but I believe Bowie’s repertoire is a good example of something that can’t be fully appreciated unless you know about the guy, and the history of Karma Man is just one reason behind why I adore this track so much~
But decades pass—Bowie skyrockets to stardom, and yet Karma Man, like most of his other early songs, ends up as a relic of sorts; especially before streaming services were a thing, I’d imagine this was quite a collector’s bargain- ヽ(^o^)
Yet Bowie wasn’t quite somebody who’d turn his back on works he was fond of—so, as 2001 comes around, he and his backing band work on a re-recorded and reimagined Karma Man, which is the version I’ve linked here below!
And may I just put it you like this?
This mix is one heck of a rocker!
It’s what I like to call his early 2000s sound—strong, baritone vocals, loud, flowing guitars, and a constant vibe of somebody who’s comfortable with their place in the world, but still has a lot to give!
On the Bowie Bible, another fantastic resource for his music, is a list of the personnel who played on both versions of this track: and for such a lovely job, I think they deserve all the credit here, so have a look at their names here! Especially when it comes to that 2000s lineup—I dare say it’s one of the best bands Bowie ever assembled!
But enough about me and my thoughts—if you like clean, hard rockers propelled by fun, unconventional lyrics, then give this track a shot, and, for that matter, treat yourself to the rest of this year’s release of Toy—I guarantee you’ll quite love it~!
‘Til next time, and all the best~!! ♪(*^^)o∀*∀o(^^*)♪