Released: 8 November 1993
The Buddha Of Suburbia
David Bowie: vocals, saxophone, synthesizer
Erdal Kızılçay: keyboards, synthesizer, bass guitar, trumpet, organ, drum programming
David Richards: drum programming
‘Sex And The Church’ is the second song on David Bowie’s album The Buddha Of Suburbia.
The song is an extension of the groove-based songwriting Bowie had previously explored on Black Tie White Noise’s ‘Pallas Athena’ – songs in which the rhythm was the primary focus, a move away from his traditionally melodic and lyrical compositions.
Indeed, the lyrics of ‘Sex And The Church’ are more of a mini polemic than a conventional song. There is no rhyming, little in the way of consistent meter, and the chorus consists of nothing but the repeated title.
Sexuality and religion were two themes of The Buddha Of Suburbia, a British TV series based on Hanif Kureishi’s 1990 novel. Its protagonist, Karim Amir, is a mixed-race teenager discovering new experiences and cultures in south London in the 1970s. Bowie wrote music specifically for the series, although it was later reworked for the album.
Bowie’s back catalogue also featured heavily in the series, and his new music displayed flashes from his past, from the title track’s “Zane, zane, zane, ouvre le chien” chant to the ‘Jean Genie’-style vamp with which he ended ‘Sex And The Church’.