“Do you remember a guy that’s been/ In such an early song?” goes the first lines of “Ashes to Ashes,” in which Bowie reprises the character of Major Tom from “Space Oddity.” Coming off his artistically rich and forward-looking Berlin trilogy, the album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) was a brief look backward at the start of a new decade. So why not go all the way to almost the beginning of his career — to his first hit? In “Ashes to Ashes,” which succeeds on the back of its funky, off-kilter synth line, Bowie gives us a junkie, down-on-his-luck Major Tom. It was the musician’s last oddball hurrah before going on to his biggest, most mainstream success.
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