“Modern Love” stands as a captivating composition penned by the renowned English singer-songwriter, David Bowie. It made its debut as the opening track on his 1983 album, Let’s Dance, and later emerged as the third single from the same album. Collaboratively produced by Bowie and Nile Rodgers from the American band Chic, this rock-infused song boasts elements of the vibrant new wave music genre. The recording took place at the Power Station in Manhattan and became one of the initial tracks completed for the album. During the Serious Moonlight Tour, “Modern Love” was a prominent part of Bowie’s performances, often concluding the shows. A music video directed by Jim Yukich showcased a remarkable live rendition of the song during the tour and received substantial airtime on MTV after its release in 1983.
Since its launch, “Modern Love” has garnered widespread acclaim from music critics who have lauded Bowie’s exceptional songwriting, masterful production, and its impactful placement as the opening track. Considered one of the standout pieces on Let’s Dance, alongside “China Girl” and the title track, it has rightfully earned its place as one of Bowie’s greatest compositions. The single’s release was a commercial triumph, reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart and peaking at number 14 on the prestigious US Billboard Hot 100 chart. As a testament to its enduring popularity, “Modern Love” has featured on various compilation albums and underwent remastering for the 2018 box set titled “Loving the Alien (1983–1988).”
The music video for the song incorporated footage of David Bowie and his band performing “Modern Love” during a concert held as part of the Serious Moonlight Tour. Directed by Jim Yukich, the video brilliantly captures the essence of Bowie and his band’s energetic encore during a four-night engagement at Philadelphia’s Spectrum theater. According to Kyle Ryan from The A.V. Club, the visuals foreshadow the forthcoming swing revival that would take place a decade later.
In contrast to Bowie’s other videos released that same year, like “China Girl” and “Let’s Dance,” the “Modern Love” video follows a refreshingly straightforward approach. It allows the viewers to immerse themselves in the live performance, showcasing the sheer talent and stage presence of Bowie and his band without elaborate storytelling or visual effects.