Love is Lost

Album: The Next Day (2013)

Songfacts®:

  • This coming-of-age song finds Bowie reflecting on loss of innocence and the arrival of adult responsibilities. "Wave goodbye to Life without pain" he croons over a monochromatic Berlin-era groove. Producer Tony Visconti told NME: "We used some techniques we used on (1977's) Low on this, so sound wise you might hear something familiar."
  • Former LCD Soundsystem leader James Murphy has been listening to Bowie's music since he was a child, and he finally got an opportunity to collaborate with his hero when he was asked to remix this song for the Thin White Duke's The Next Day Extra album. The end result, "Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy for the DFA)" is a complete transformation in which Murphy wipes out the original's juddering synths, and instead creates a slow-burn, slow-build odyssey that runs for ten minutes.

    Murphy's mix starts with a round of applause which, after 15 seconds, becomes a syncopated clapping rhythm. It's a nod to Steve Reich's 1972 piece, "Clapping Music," that is also referenced in the title. The American avant-garde composer's work consists entirely of two performers clapping.

    Whilst premiering the remix via BBC 6music, Murphy said: "Any remix I've done I almost never use any of the original music. The challenge for me is to create a new track that serves the vocal in a different way but doesn't make the vocal seem pasted on. It's been many years since I've done a remix, so no matter who it was for I would've been stressed out."

    Murphy directs his hero worship back to Bowie, by dropping in samples of his 1980 classic, "Ashes To Ashes." He told NME: "The reference to 'Ashes To Ashes' was my idea. I'm only realizing now that his record is so self-reverential. I didn't think of that in the grand scheme. I was just worried he'd get angry."

    Murphy also collaborated with Bowie around the same time when the British legend supplied backing vocals to the Arcade Fire track "Reflektor," which the LCD Soundsystem mainman produced.
  • The video for the edited James Murphy mix of this song cost just $12.99 – the price of the USB stick to download the finished clip. Bowie shot and edited the entire video using his domestic camera and a pair of puppets from his archive in a darkened corridor of his Manhattan office. His assistant, Jimmy King, manned the camera andt the singer's friend, Coco Schwab, handled everything else from continuity to sandwiches. The visual received its world première at the 2013 Barclaycard Mercury Prize ceremony.

Comments: 1

  • Karl from UsaMy take: he’s addressing the USA. Reference to new accent, new to other things. Our perception to the rest of the world is a clumsy adolescent stumbling, breaking anything fragile in our path.
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