David Bowie | Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)

[dropcap]On[/dropcap] September 12th 1980, the starman David Bowie released his post-Berlin and post-punk/new-wave album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps). The record was his fourteenth studio album, and his final with RCA records—reaching number 1 in the UK, and finding the perfect balance between artistry and commercial success.

Regarding the new-wave elements—in the lyrics in the song Teenage Wildlife—Bowie seems to have been making commentary on new wave artists such as Gary Numan, or perhaps even Visage’s Stephen Strange—the latter of which appeared in his video for Ashes to Ashes off of the record.

A broken-nosed mogul are you
One of the new wave boys
Same old thing in brand new drag
Comes sweeping into view
As ugly as a teenage millionaire
Pretending it’s a whiz-kid world

Speaking of Ashes to Ashes, the single was a sequel to the eponymous 1969 track Space Oddity—directly responding to the lyrics in that definitive Bowie song, while referencing the motives behind Bowie’s cocaine addiction, which he had recently kicked while in Berlin.

The other album single Fashion is noteworthy for it’s unintentionally ironic use in the “fashion world”, as the song is a biting critique on what “people from good homes” find trending and ultimately buy and consume.

Here is an example of such irony:

There’s a brand new talk, but it’s not very clear
Oh bop
That people from good homes are talking this year
Oh bop, fashion it’s loud and tasteless and I’ve heard it before
Oh bop
You shout it while you’re dancing on the whole dance floor
Oh bop, fashion

*Note on the Footage at the top of this article: Most filmed interviews during 1980 focus on Bowie’s Broadway performance in The Elephant Man.