I wonder if, when Bowie wrote Changes, he foresaw it being the backtrack to every documentary, every chat show bio intro, every compilation about himself and his career, for decades to come. It’s the cliche about Bowie — what did he go through? Changes! There was the red hair, then there was no red hair. There was make up, then there was no make up. There was a dress. Then there was a suit and tie.
This song is lyrically complex. It’s easy to be distracted by the catchy chorus, but it’s really a lengthy poem you could see scribbled into a notebook and thrown into a backpack. The words probably came first on this one.
I can’t find a performance video of this song that I like, even remotely, as much as the album version. So this clip is a nice assortment of slide images and lyrics, set to the original recording. It works for me.
Even today, this song still reminds me of The Breakfast Club. John Hughes decided the iconic quote, “And these children that you spit on… as they try to change their worlds… are immune to your consultations… they’re quite aware what they are going through…” should set the stage for the movie. Maybe in that case, the point could be summarized simply as — the kids are all right?