The 10 Best Songs About Space

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Best Space Songs

Editor’s note: This post originally published in 2013.

Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Little by Listen, where we explore deep into the galaxy for the best space songs of all-time. Alfonso Cuaron’s brilliant and frightening new film Gravity inspired this list, which got us thinking about the surprising surplus of great galactic tunes. So without further ado, our voyage begins.
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Top Ten Thursday: Duets to Die For

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We decided it was finally time to make a list concerning the combination of kindred vocals.  Duets that is.  A guy and a girl is the most popular concoction, but there is certainly room to wiggle with that formula on this list.  For frame of reference, we attempted to stay away from two very specific types tracks that may be considered duets.  The first area is hip hop tracks.  R&B tracks are fine, as long as they don’t interfere with the next criteria, but it seems every hip-hop song has multiple rappers, or at the least one rapper and someone else for the hook.  Just seemed a little too muddled.  The second criteria we aimed to stay away from were artists that have two vocalists, where almost every one of their tracks might be able to be considered duets.  Sorry, but we were looking for duets where the source recording is at most part of a one-off album.  As always, I think we crafted a solid list, but am certain we missed something along the way.  Feel free to offer suggestions, and enjoy.

10.  The Postal Service & Jenny Lewis – “Nothing Better”

jenny lewis, postal service, nothing bettter

Ben Gibbard & Jenny Lewis combine for an electonic-infused back and forth on The Postal Service’s 2003 track “Nothing Better”.  The conversational tone of Gibbard and Lewis vocals is about as fun as it gets, and makes us thirst for more than just a Postal Service tour reunion.  Record a new album!
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David Bowie Review Royale: The Next Day

David Bowie
The Next Day

David Bowie The Next Day album cover art

Wes

The first Bowie album in a decade, The Next Day, has rightfully garnered tons of anticipation, but like any album by an artist way past his glory days, there is always a bit of a ceiling as to how great a latter career album can be (we have listed our favorites in the past) – the artist has already pulled out most if not all their tricks. Bowie is someone who has always found another trick or style of music up his sleeve, and while The Next Day might not be a new trick, it still sounds surprisingly fresh for someone who has tried nearly everything. The opening three songs “The Next Day”, “Dirty Boys”, and “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” come blazing out of the speakers, with “Stars” being the best of the three – Bowie pulls out his cast of characters for a sweeping, theatrical, and dark commentary on fame.

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Top Ten Thursday: Best Bowie Albums

David Bowie character range

It’s a freaky deaky kinda Bowie week here at LxL. Yesterday, we brought you the five best Bowies (or Bowie characters), and Tuesday came Bowie’s first release in over a decade. We will bring you a review for that next week, but for now, how about we hit you with our ten favorite Bowie albums? The music and fashion chameleon has wore many hats (and costumes) in his career, and today we bring you the ten best. Without further ado, here are the best albums by David Bowie in our humble opinion.

10.  Scary Monsters

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Aaaaahhh…scary monsters! Bowie’s first album in the 80’s was a real return to form, showcasing the sort of glammed-out, spooky, art rock he made a name for himself making in the early 70’s. Scary Monsters also bounces into a little disco with “Fashion” as well as one of the strangest sung Bowie songs in “Ashes to Ashes”, which also makes it one of the best – it’s just so unusual and eerie in the best kinda way.

9. Station to Station

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Coming off the irresistible Philly soul and disco of Young Americans, Bowie kept some of those characteristics but made a much more experimental record in Station to Station. Headlined by the evercool “Golden Years”, Station to Station serves as the bridge between the extremely opposite albums that it falls between: the Philly soul of Young Americans and the groundbreaking avant-garde electronic rock of Low.

8. Space Oddity 

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Transforming from young Londoner David Jones into the music icon David Bowie started with Space Oddity. Still remaining one of his biggest hits today, “Space Oddity” has Major Tom (David Bowie’s first character) lifting off out into space, and Bowie never really returned –  beside the time he fell to earth in the film The Man Who Fell to Earth, AND on Earthling, AND as Ziggy Stardust on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust…but who’s counting.

7. Diamond Dogs

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A concept album (like so many of Bowie’s albums) based on George Orwell’s 1984, Bowie fell a little without Mick Ronson on lead guitar, but Diamond Dogs still delivers on several levels. Diamond Dogs is what it would sound like if Lou Reed and Mick Jagger kidnapped Bowie and then tried to convince people they were him as to keep down suspicion.

6.  Low

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For his most groundbreaking record, Bowie hooked up with the 70’s best producer, Brian Eno, the king of ambient and experimental electronic music. The former Roxy Music member would work his magic on Bowie like he would later do for both the Talking Heads and U2, combining brilliant atmospherics with strong songcraft to make yet another timeless record.

5. Young Americans

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Whoa that boy can groove. I would imagine when Young Americans came out, there was a handful of rock music fans just furious that Bowie was steeping into the deeply divisive genre of disco, but man did he knock it out of the park with Young Americans. Not only did the album produce three huge disco singles in “Young Americans”, “Fame”, and “Fascination”, but the album as a whole just swings and grooves like John Travolta on some funky acid.

4. The Man Who Sold The World

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The Man Who Sold The World was Bowie’s first with guitarist Mick Ronson and its the most riff-heavy, guitar rock album of his career. Oddly enough, “The Man Who Sold The World” is probably best known not as a Bowie song, but as one of the last songs that Kurt Cobain played at MTV Unplugged: Live in New York months before he took his own life – a fitting song for an artist who felt tortured by his own success.

3. Aladdin Sane

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Following the one-two punch of Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust will leave you knocked out 99% of the time, but Bowie managed to stay on his feet and deliver with Aladdin Sane. Aladdin Sane is the sound of David Bowie taking the glam-rock of Ziggy Stardust to a high-end New York jazz lounge at 2 in the morning.

2. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

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Our top two literally ended in a scoring tie (we occasionally rank and score albums with difficult lists), but just missed out with our tie breaker. Why is Ziggy Stardust so great you ask? Bowie combines his freaky vibe with the second best slew of songs of his career to make more than just a great album but a statement. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust documents an androgynous alien rock star trip to Earth to tell people of its extinction in five years, only to meet his own at the hands of his own destructive behavior. The album stands as an anthem and rallying point for the oddballs, the weirdos, and those who just don’t quite fit in, rest assuring those that feel oh so lonely that “you’re not alone.”

1. Hunky Dory

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The crown jewel of Bowie’s catalog is Hunky Dory. Mixing glam-rock with cabaret and pop, David Bowie released 11 songs of pure songwriting gold. My favorites remain the endearing weirdo’s love song “Kooks” , the freak stomp of “Oh! You Pretty Things”, the heartwarming, showtuney shuffle of “Fill Your Heart”.  You also get some mega classics in “Changes”, “Queen Bitch”, and “Life On Mars”. Not to mention, Bowie had time to write “Song for Bob Dylan” and “Andy Warhol” as tributes to two of his artistic heroes. What does this album not have?

Just Missed

WesHeroes

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Like Low, Heroes splits about 50/50 in terms of instrumental and vocal songs, but when Bowie and company sing, they shine. Guitarist Robert Fripp of King Crimson fame helps the songs rock and Bowie’s singing, especially on his career-centerpiece and arguably greatest song “Heroes”, helps these songs soar.

Todd – Let’s Dance

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Anyone who knows Todd knows he likes to get on a good gawky giraffe dance once and a while. Let’s Dance allows him to do this, and for this, Todd is forever grateful to the Thin White Duke.

Austin – Heathen

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Heathen is one of Bowie’s late career gems, and with this album resulting from a collaboration and tour with Trent Reznor made this a surefire just miss for Austin, whom adores the both of them.

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Weak List Wednesday: The 5 Best Bowies

Many David Bowies, faces, different

In honor of David Bowie’s newest release, we’ve dedicated our lists this week to the legend. David Bowie is a man who has spanned many generations with his music. In doing so, he has also taken on many different forms. Whether through his acting career, his music career, and sometimes a combination of the two, David Bowie has worn many, many hats. This list is dedicated to our favorites. Anything goes, from the zany album characters he’s created to any acting role he’s taken on, here are our favorite Bowies, done by Bowie:
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Top Ten Thursday: Most Anticipated Albums of 2013

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Of the artists we most anticipated new albums from in 2012, two of them failed to release a new album (Outkast and Kanye).  We decided to be a bit less lofty with our prognostications this year, and are relatively comfortable that all the artists on this year’s list will end up dropping a new full-length (except my “just missed”, which is the same as last year, and a complete shot in the dark).  As always, some artists will surprise us with great new releases, but we can only base our list now on who has given strong vibes something new is coming in 2013.  Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment on who you are personally anticipating or where we messed up.  Enjoy!

 

10. Justin TimberlakeThe 20/20 Experience

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Has Justin Timberlake ever faltered since he began his solo career?  No, no he hasn’t.  Making as smooth a transition from boy-band front man, to Michael Jackson-esque solo debut, to hyper-aggressive sophomore album Prince sound has seemed all too easy for ole’ JT.  Let’s hope The 20/20 Experience is no different.


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Ear to the Ground: Listening for the Newest Tracks of 2013

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The past 24 hours have been quite the wellspring of music news. From leaky twitter accounts, to legitimate releases, some of the bigger names in music seem to have tracks just dropping from the sky quicker than the snow that is currently falling outside my window. Yesterday, Thom Yorke’s collaborative group Atoms for Peace (consisting of Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker, Mauro Refosco, and of course, Thom) released my favorite track of 2013 thus far. Seeing as how it is only the eighth day of the year this may not seem tough, but give it a listen for yourself and see if you think differently.
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