"We could be "Heroes"! Just for one day..." While it was ignored when first released as a single, it is now widely recognized and beloved. It's now a candidate for David's Signature Song, and for good reason. To bolster just how awesome this song is, David's live performance of it on June 6, 1987 at the Reichstag in West Berlin has been cited as a catalyst toward the fall of the Berlin Wall just two years later. After David's sudden death in 2016, the German government thanked Bowie for "helping to bring down the Wall", adding "you are now among Heroes". Now that is awesome.
This rendition of "Ashes to Ashes" is made even more awesome by a few things: the absolutely bitchin' guitar solo (one guy on rhythm AND bass simultaneously) that dominates the last half of the song. And the fact that, on a call-in/request concert, this was the song requested by a 5-year old boy. Yeah. Get 'em started early.
"Let's Dance". When Bowie gives an order, the world listens. According to the official book chronicling the Serious Moonlight Tour, when the song became a hit women all over Europe bought red shoes, causing shortages in stores, so they could be ready for dancing!
Watch this performance of "Modern Love". Bowie's sheer exuberance is electrifying.
Much of Bowie's post-Scary Monsters output in The '80s is dismissed, but there's gorgeous stuff there too.
In particular, "Blue Jean" and "Underground" can leave you dizzy with delight.
So can "China Girl". The deconstruction of "China Girl" that appears on the VH 1 Storytellers album almost seems like a comment on Bowie's eighties, and still manages to be awesome in its own right. Beginning with a pure Tear Jerker anecdote about life in Berlin in The '70s, and then the song itself starts almost like a cover of Lou Reed's "Berlin" before morphing into Iggy Pop's original punky version, building and building until it finally resolves into a fond take on the glitzy eighties version.
When it comes to the Pop-Star Composer trope, no Disney effort can collectively touch the tunes he wrote and performed for Labyrinth. Playful ("Magic Dance", "Chilly Down"), wickedly tender ("As the World Falls Down"), thunderous ("Within You"), exhilarating ("Underground")...oh so Eighties, oh so right.
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) is well enough loved that it's become a reviewer cliché to describe Bowie's latest album as "his best since Scary Monsters" (much as Bob Dylan gets the same treatment with Blood on the Tracks). Particular highlights from the album, beyond "Ashes to Ashes", include the Epic Rocking "Teenage Wildlife", the title track, and both parts of "It's No Game", but it's really hard to go wrong with any of the album's ten cuts.
★ was heavily praised before it was even released. The ten-minute title track is an obvious highlight. So is the album closer "I Can't Give Everything Away", which quotes "A New Career in a New Town" from Low and verges on Tear Jerker territory, especially in light of his death two days after the release of the album. "Lazarus" also gains new meaning in light of his death and stands out as a highlight of the album. "Girl Loves Me" also stands out as one of the most avant-garde pieces Bowie ever recorded, both lyrically and musically. The whole album is both a Moment of Awesome and a beautiful Heartwarming Moment as Bowie put it as his Grand Finale, the last album he'd get to release for the fans, as his final parting gift to all. That alone shows awesomeness and love.