Bowie is a cover track genius, often creating copies 30 times better than their originals. This one I especially love for the amazing web of references it creates. “Gemini” was written by The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, from whom Bowie nicked the name “Ziggy Stardust.” (Odam has also covered “Space Oddity.”) But “Gemini” is itself a riff on the Mercer / Van Heusen romantic chestnut “I Thought About You,” (I took a trip on a train… and I thought about you...). Odam’s space-cowboy update is a funny, but butt-ugly, campy, off-tempo caterwaul. Bowie resurrects it with an uptempo beat, silky electropop production and purring , to-die-for vocals. What’s more, he somehow brings the song back home to its jazz-standard parents. Though that final wait for it ritard after “What did I do, what could I do?” lands on a playfully growled “weeeeeeellllllll….” that would’ve had Mercer blushing. And then grinning, wondering how that little song got so sexy.
-Amy Glynn Greacen
Amy Glynn Greacen’s work has appeared in The New Criterion, Poetry Northwest, Southwest Review, eleven eleven, Cimarron Review, The Best American Poetry 2010 and 2012, and elsewhere. She is a five-time alumna of the Sewanee Writer’s Conference (Mona van Duyn Scholar 2006), a regular contributor to the Best American Poetry website, and a sometime reviewer of poetry and criticism for New York Quarterly. She is also a novelist and food writer, and has lectured on the intersections between poetry and natural history. She has been awarded a Dorothy Sargeant Rosenberg Award, Southwest Review’s Morton Marr Prize, Poetry Northwest’s Carolyn Kizer Award and has been Writer In Residence at the James Merrill House in Stonington CT. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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