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“As Long as There’s Me. As Long as There’s You”: Trauma and Migration in David Bowie’s Berlin Triptych

Cultural Studies Department, Trent University, Peterborough, ON K9L0G2, Canada
Academic Editor: Florian Scheding
Arts 2021, 10(4), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10040077
Received: 5 August 2021 / Revised: 9 October 2021 / Accepted: 9 October 2021 / Published: 19 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migratory Musics)
This essay explores David Bowie’s so-called “Berlin Triptych”: Low, “Heroes”, and Lodger. The essay takes issue with previous interpretations that have claimed that the albums do not form a “triptych” of any meaningful kind, and that this pretentious term was only applied ex post facto as a marketing strategy. At the heart of my argument is the concept and experience of migration. In the mid-1970s David Bowie was living in Los Angeles at a highpoint of fame and acclaim. His life, however, was also an increasingly hellish nightmare of delusion, paranoia, and cocaine psychosis. In order to save his music, and his life, the singer decamped to Europe. For the next several years he lived an itinerant life with Berlin at its centre. The experience of displacement, and a series of encounters that this displacement facilitated (with the European new wave and a longer tradition of avant-garde modernism), led to both a reshuffling of the self and a radical new sound. The “triptych” tells the story of this progression, both narratively and sonically. View Full-Text
Keywords: David Bowie; Berlin; triptych; trauma; displacement; migration; new wave; modernism David Bowie; Berlin; triptych; trauma; displacement; migration; new wave; modernism
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MDPI and ACS Style

Junyk, I. “As Long as There’s Me. As Long as There’s You”: Trauma and Migration in David Bowie’s Berlin Triptych. Arts 2021, 10, 77. https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10040077

AMA Style

Junyk I. “As Long as There’s Me. As Long as There’s You”: Trauma and Migration in David Bowie’s Berlin Triptych. Arts. 2021; 10(4):77. https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10040077

Chicago/Turabian Style

Junyk, Ihor. 2021. "“As Long as There’s Me. As Long as There’s You”: Trauma and Migration in David Bowie’s Berlin Triptych" Arts 10, no. 4: 77. https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10040077

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