Antmusic & Bowie
If anyone from the post-punk/new wave era could have stolen David Bowie's throne, it would have been Adam Ant.
You can hear the innovation, boldness, and posturing all throughout Ant's groundbreaking second album Kings Of The Wild Frontier. "Antpeople are the warriors, Antmusic is the banner," he proudly declared in the record's title track over a tribal beat. Like Bowie, Ant wanted to create a community of uninhibited dandies to join his tribe. He is there on the cover, wearing makeup and dressed in a naval uniform ready to lead. Over three decades later, Ant's followers are still around eager for direction.
Why the need to rebel? "Music lost its taste," the artist explains in "Antmusic." Like Elvis Costello in "Radio, Radio," Ant urged listeners to end their complacency with the popular radio and "try another flavor" of music. Something to challenge your ears.
Most importantly, Ant was offering a message of empowerment that he would repeat throughout his early 80s work: don't be scared of who you are. Bowie would send a similar message through his Ziggy Stardust persona. For an artist who has been open about his afflictions with isolation and depression, Kings Of The Wild Frontier was him reaching out to the like-minded to share a message of strength and defiance.
Thirty-seven years later, Ant is still leading his followers along the trail Bowie helped blaze, but Ant's route seems a little more fun.