While it’s a likely already a known fact for readers of this site that Americana, folk, and modern country aren’t always my favorite musical styles or genres – I’m always willing to give any and all music a shot. Even album I don’t vibe with on a personal level can often offer some great musicianship, good feelings, and a standout tune. For me, on this go around, that standout track is the decidedly slowed down and more deliberate cover of David Bowie’s classic hit “Changes”.
Heading into a weekend that means a lot to this country, contemplation feels like the vibe du jour. People have begun sharing their reflections on 9/11, with a variety of feelings positive and negative on the events, the aftermath, and the years between that fateful day in September of 2001. One particular reflection that seems to being echoed throughout the social media post of many people I follow is the idea that September 12th – the day ofter the tragic events – represents some sort of ideal, where everyone was united and partisan politics didn’t matter. Yet, that’s not the entire picture of what I remember or what I saw. There was unity… but only unity of a particular group of people in the country. It was united country that embraced each other, as long as “each other” didn’t include brown people of possible Middle eastern descent. As I saw the Dunkin Donuts of my hometown need to close down for multiple periods of time due to acts of vandalism, I learned the owners practiced the Sikh religion and weren’t even Muslim to begin with. An, yet others who were Muslim and had as little to do with the attacks as their white neighbors, were also shunned – some forced out of their college classrooms or places of work, due to an irrational fear fueled by the unknown and a raging upswell of nationalism. That nationalistic fervor surely felt like unity to some… but surely not to others. Imagine being a Muslim boy or girl, whose parent was at work in the towers the day the planes hit. Imagine those children growing up revictimized daily by Islamaphobia AND the trauma of a lost love one. These are pictures that keep coming to mind as I read about the “unity” of 9/12.
That type of powerful force is what this song makes me think of. Time can change us, but we can’t change time. And this extremely powerful version of Bowie’s song brings up in me those feelings, as I reflect on the upcoming memorial weekend, where the entire country inevitably looks at the 20th anniversary of a devastating event.
The song itself, this particular rendition, is one I have listened to over and over for a few weeks. The manner in which The Furious Seasons slow the melody down seems to really lift up the impact of the song’s message. David Steinhart’s vocals pack a real punch, somehow distinctly different from Bowie while still paying homage to the great singer. Moreover, this song marries the things I really enjoy about the brand of Americana that the Seasons perform with the alternative pop sensibilities of Bowie’s writing in a way that makes a true fan out of me – someone who isn’t necessarily often going to wow about this style of music. All in all, this song is one to make you think, make you cry, or just take you away to another place. The Furious Seasons cover of “Changes” is a song that really sticks with you