In 2004 David Bowie joked: “I discovered [Arcade Fire]. Coldplay’s Chris Martin has been saying he’s discovered them first, but I did. So there. Na na na na na!” Almost a decade later, Bowie declared Lorde “the future of music,” proving his famed quote correct that “tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.”
One of the greatest aspects of David Bowie’s celestial stardom was that despite being discreetly singular, he welcomed so many people into his oeuvre that he created his own little bohemian world. It is, without doubt, one of his greatest attributes as an artist that he wasn’t unhinged by his own sense of individualism and was happy to celebrate the artistic vision of others.
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Thus, collaborating with fellow musicians also proved fruitful working both ways. As he told Livewire in 2002: “I believe that I often bring out the best in somebody’s talents. To not be modest about it, you’ll find that with only a couple of exceptions, most of the musicians that I’ve worked with have done their best work by far with me.” Later adding: “I can shine a light on their own strengths.”
Therefore, when ‘The Starman’ sadly passed in 2016, Arcade Fire announced: “David Bowie was one of the band’s earliest supporters and champions. He not only created the world that made it possible for our band to exist, he welcomed us into it with grace and warmth. We will take to the grave the moments we shared; talking, playing music and collaborating as some of the most profound and memorable moments of our lives.”
Adding: “A true artist even in his passing, the world is more bright and mysterious because of him and we will continue to shout prayers into the atmosphere he created.”
These sentiments were shared by Lorde who remarked upon the release of ‘Green Light’: “I feel like the whole time spent writing this record, I’ve had [David Bowie] in my thoughts, I’ve had him in my heart. It’s hard not to make something and not think, ‘What would David think of this? If I could play it to him, what would he say?’” She told Mistajam.
This kinship between Lorde, Arcade Fire and David Bowie came full circle back in 2017 when Arcade Fire took to BBC Radio One’s Live Lounge for a rousing rendition of Lorde’s ‘Green Light’. The Melodrama track is given an indie-folk treatment as Win Butler leads on an acoustic guitar and bar a few errant off-key vocal notes it seems to suit them well.
The song itself sees Lorde at a metaphorical set of traffic lights after a breakup, waiting to move on or stay still. She told Zane Lowe: “I knew it couldn’t be any old thing. It had to be really special and really singular and it couldn’t sound the same as the old stuff. There was a lot of discovery that went on. We wrote the song, and suddenly everything else we wrote for the record started to make sense.”
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