It’s highly debatable, of course — what’s best. The catalog is deep and the late great David Bowie was such an exacting craftsman — his songs constructed to reveal themselves in myriad interpretations. Bowie filled his tracks with so much sheer musicality that it seems a shame to strip them down to their bones — what with all that sonic flesh he gave them.
But the musician M. Ward, of both She & Him and Monsters of Folk, stripped down one of Bowie’s best-known songs, “Let’s Dance,” and the result is painfully lean and beautiful — like Bowie himself. (The track appears on Ward’s stellar Transfiguration of Vincent.) Shorn of its brass but not its urgency, “Let’s Dance” reveals itself in Ward’s cover to be among Bowie’s most gorgeous creations. Indeed the song is like the man himself: infinitely versatile and layered, longing and loving, eloquent and vital, complicated and plain. Interpreting “Let’s Dance,” M. Ward created a perfect, aching testimony to the consummate artistry of David Bowie.