David Bowie’s death on January 10 has sent lingering repercussions throughout the music world, the latest of which was a tribute to the performer at the Brit Awards tonight (February 24). With introductions by friends Annie Lennox and actor Gary Oldman, the tribute then took a musical turn with the arrival of 19-year-old New Zealander Lorde. Here’s five ways her performance was way better than Lady Gaga’s Grammys medley nine days ago.
Lorde performs Life On Mars? in fitting tribute to David Bowie at the BRIT Awards after he called her the “future of music”.Was it better than Lady Gaga’s Bowie tribute at The GRAMMYs? Tell us what you think below:
Posted by ITV News on Wednesday, 24 February 2016
1. It was backed by Bowie’s band
Bowie’s band have been playing with him for years, so unsurprisingly they’re pretty good at weaving his tracks together. Where Lady Gaga lurched between disparate tracks like ‘Fashion’ and ‘Fame’, Bowie’s band segued with style and ease between tempos and keys. Just listen to how they move from ‘Space Oddity’ to ‘Rebel Rebel’ and ‘Let’s Dance’, then ‘Ziggy Stardust’ to ‘Fame’ and ‘Under Pressure’ and ‘Heroes’ and, finally, ‘Life On Mars’. It’s masterful.
2. Lorde knew that one outfit was good enough
Bowie had many faces, but he didn’t change costumes like a Vegas act. The Grammy tribute saw several sartorial layers being shed and replaced, whereas Lorde stuck to one at the Brits, playing the monochrome Thin White Duke with an effortless cool.
3. It was subtle
Unlike Gaga’s mammoth medley and multi-instrumental tendencies, Lorde just walked on when Bowie’s band had finished wending their way through Bowie’s hits and sang ‘Life On Mars’, doing it with a rueful joy that made it seem like she really meant it. It didn’t pander to any expectations: it was just right.
4. It had Bowie’s stamp of approval
Lorde met Bowie along with Tilda Swinton in 2013, after her album ‘Pure Heroine’ had come out. He later said that she sounded like “tomorrow” in a quote often rehashed as “the future of music”. Bowie has rejected collaboration requests by everyone from Coldplay to Dave Grohl, but he was a Lorde fan.
Lorde later recalled the event in a moving letter written after his death, saying, “That night something changed in me – I felt a calmness grow, a sureness. I think in those brief moments, he heralded me into my next new life, an old rock and roll alien angel in a perfect grey suit. I realised everything I’d ever done, or would do from then on, would be done like maybe he was watching. I realised I was proud of my spiky strangeness because he had been proud of his.”
5. It was actually about Bowie
Nothing here actually detracts from the tribute to Bowie. Lorde isn’t taking on this difficult task to prove that she can. It’s not an impersonation. She’s simply singing one of Bowie’s songs as a tribute to a mentor who made a lasting, important impression on her life. Gaga’s performance felt like a big effort – and it was impressive in its own way – but to notice that is to ignore the person the tribute was all about in the first place. Lorde was similarly self-assured, but she felt like just another member of Bowie’s band, meaning the tribute really rang true.