I guess “Fashion” is the closest thing David Bowie ever came to doing a disco record.
I love the fact that although disco and dance music often gets a rap as being effete or passive, the best disco is aggressive and in your face. It’s why I’m almost always interested when rock artists mix their style with whatever the contemporary dance style is. As embarrassing it can be sometimes, when it works, it fucking works.
“Fashion” doesn’t sashay or shantay like, say, RuPaul’s “Supermodel (You Better Work)”, it fucking struts. Every instrument played has purpose. Bowie sounds like a drill sergeant. “Turn to the left!” “Turn to the right!” It’s angular, sharp. The lead guitar is jagged. And awesome. Play this on some good-ass speakers and I dare you not to move. The groove and the vocal stick out so much, I’m almost ashamed to say I’ve never been particularly interested in figuring out “Fashion”‘s lyrics. They really don’t matter to me, and neither does the overall concept of fashion. I can’t recall ever owning a designer anything (not that I’ve ever been able to afford designer anything, but that’s beside the point). So if a song is good enough to get five stars despite me barely paying attention to the lyrics and having absolutely nothing to do with my personal aesthetic, it’s got to be really good, right? It’s Bowie’s best song of the ’80s that doesn’t involve Freddie Mercury, I’ll tell you that.