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Forums > Music: Non-Prince > China Girl- Iggy Pop Or David Bowie?
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Thread started 03/06/11 9:22pm

Gunsnhalen

China Girl- Iggy Pop Or David Bowie?

Now either way Bowie was involved with both song's, cause he produced Iggy's album the idiot so he was the perfect person to cover the song.

But i find it hard... It's a dark song and Iggy's has a very gothic feel to it, but Bowie's is a little more poppy with a dar underlying tone.

Both are great song's off great albums....

Which one would you choose is superior?

Pistols sounded like "Fuck off," wheras The Clash sounded like "Fuck Off, but here's why.."- Thedigitialgardener

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Reply #1 posted 03/06/11 10:47pm

novabrkr

The rockier live version Bowie started playing in the late-90s is the one I prefer. It's actually one of my favourite pieces of music of all time when performed that way:

It must have been one of his own favourites as well, because it was constantly on his set list.

If I had to make a choice between the two originals, I'd still prefer David's. It was more his type of a song than Iggy's anyway. Even the version on "Let's Dance" has a certain sense of "tender cruelty" to it that I find quite exceptional. The subject matter isn't entirely politically correct, but it captures quite well what being in a relationship with a person that doesn't share your cultural background can be like. That is, from the male point of view. It has a "macho" as well as a "defensive" quality to it and that's probably why it's a more honest portrayal of the whole thing than what would ever get printed in an article dealing with the same subject matter. I feel that David is able to channel that "I know I am a fool myself, but I keep doing it anyway" aspect of the song better than Iggy.

For that matter, many have commented that the song is "about colonialism and not about love" or some shit like that, but I've always taken it to be primarily a song about a Caucasian man having an affair with an Asian woman. The references to colonialism work as a metaphor for the affair and not the other way around.

[edit - link corrected]

[Edited 3/6/11 22:48pm]

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Reply #2 posted 03/06/11 10:51pm

Moonbeam

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Bowie's version is one of my favorite songs from the 80s. I can't put it any better than novabrkr brilliantly did. It was the highlight of his decade for me, bar Scary Monsters, and towers above the rest of the Let's Dance album.

Iggy's version is pretty cool, but it isn't the masterpiece that Bowie's is.

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Reply #3 posted 03/07/11 12:30am

TonyVanDam

David Bowie gets my vote for having a better video! cool

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Reply #4 posted 03/07/11 12:56am

Timmy84

Bowie no question though Iggy's was nice.

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Reply #5 posted 03/07/11 2:12am

802

Bowie's version cool

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Reply #6 posted 03/07/11 5:19am

toe

Iggy's EVERY TIME

The Idiot, Lust for Life, Low & Heroes are 4 of my favourite albums.

Bowie really lost his way after scary Monsters (IMO) although prob had more success than previously.

Dont like Bowies version at all, too cheesy.

but hey all things subjective.

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Reply #7 posted 03/07/11 6:10am

dawntreader

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god his voice is so beautiful in the period of that video... did you check LIFE ON MARS?

i like Bowie's version of CHINA GIRL better btw, because of Iggy's sounding too harsh for my liking.

yes SIR!
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Reply #8 posted 03/07/11 9:20am

NoVideo

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I love them both. Iggy's is more manic and obsessive and unhinged; Bowie's version is dramatic with barely restrained tension. It's a brilliant song either way.

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Reply #9 posted 03/07/11 9:24am

Timmy84

NoVideo said:

I love them both. Iggy's is more manic and obsessive and unhinged; Bowie's version is dramatic with barely restrained tension. It's a brilliant song either way.

nod

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Reply #10 posted 03/07/11 9:51am

errant

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novabrkr said:

If I had to make a choice between the two originals, I'd still prefer David's. It was more his type of a song than Iggy's anyway. Even the version on "Let's Dance" has a certain sense of "tender cruelty" to it that I find quite exceptional. The subject matter isn't entirely politically correct, but it captures quite well what being in a relationship with a person that doesn't share your cultural background can be like. That is, from the male point of view. It has a "macho" as well as a "defensive" quality to it and that's probably why it's a more honest portrayal of the whole thing than what would ever get printed in an article dealing with the same subject matter. I feel that David is able to channel that "I know I am a fool myself, but I keep doing it anyway" aspect of the song better than Iggy.

For that matter, many have commented that the song is "about colonialism and not about love" or some shit like that, but I've always taken it to be primarily a song about a Caucasian man having an affair with an Asian woman. The references to colonialism work as a metaphor for the affair and not the other way around.

[edit - link corrected]

[Edited 3/6/11 22:48pm]

perfectly stated.

"does my cock look fat in these jeans?"
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Reply #11 posted 03/07/11 10:52am

novabrkr

Actually now that I watched a few more renditions of it I caught David himself saying that the song is really about "invasion and exploitation". So I have to retract a bit on that "or some shit like that" comment. lol

So it's about both - a song about an affair and a song about cultural exploitation. I just think it works better when you take it primarily as a song about an affair with the cultural aspects projected on it. Otherwise, verses 1 and 2 really would be sort of redundant. Even the metaphorical scenario depicted during the third verse about David / Iggy "stumbling into town" with "visions of swastikas in head" is a bit questionable in that regard. Metaphorical structures do not usually work equally in both directions. There's a "source" and a "target" and at least to me the third verse would seem to be using the "colonialist" themes to describe something essential about the affair and how the male participant relates to it. Oh, well...

I like the more dissonant oriental parts of the original version on the Iggy Pop version quite a lot. The original definitely had a Berlin era Bowie / Pop sound to it. It just seemed to be a song that got changed a lot by both men when doing live versions of it throughout the years.

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Reply #12 posted 03/07/11 11:11am

Timmy84

novabrkr said:

Actually now that I watched a few more renditions of it I caught David himself saying that the song is really about "invasion and exploitation". So I have to retract a bit on that "or some shit like that" comment. lol

So it's about both - a song about an affair and a song about cultural exploitation. I just think it works better when you take it primarily as a song about an affair with the cultural aspects projected on it. Otherwise, verses 1 and 2 really would be sort of redundant. Even the metaphorical scenario depicted during the third verse about David / Iggy "stumbling into town" with "visions of swastikas in head" is a bit questionable in that regard. Metaphorical structures do not usually work equally in both directions. There's a "source" and a "target" and at least to me the third verse would seem to be using the "colonialist" themes to describe something essential about the affair and how the male participant relates to it. Oh, well...

I like the more dissonant oriental parts of the original version on the Iggy Pop version quite a lot. The original definitely had a Berlin era Bowie / Pop sound to it. It just seemed to be a song that got changed a lot by both men when doing live versions of it throughout the years.

Interesting lol

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Reply #13 posted 03/07/11 12:13pm

armpit

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BOWIE.

"I don't think you'd do well in captivity." - random person's comment to me the other day
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Reply #14 posted 03/07/11 1:09pm

kumala75

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Love both - maybe I prefer Bowie's better

oh baby, just you shut your mouth wink

.

Lion -- Go Peter go!!
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Reply #15 posted 03/07/11 10:25pm

Toofunkyinhere

I prefer Iggy's, I'd like to say i prefer Bowie's version because Iggy comes across as such an a##hole, but if i'm being true to myself, Iggy Pop's version is superior.

We're here, might as well get into it.
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