On American Idol last night, Keith Urban complimented a teenage contestant by saying his voice defied gender, “like Bowie.” Bowie, as we all know, perhaps defied gender in more ways than the tone of his voice. He has, and had, a particular talent for making androgyny at different times startling, compelling, accessible and sexy.
There are many versions of The Man Who Sold The World in the musicverse, including a few unique versions by Bowie himself. This one is a live, electronica-infused version from 1996. Missing are the almost-trademark guitar riffs; as a result the high, sing-song — and yes, almost feminine — vocal is all the more distinctive.