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David Bowie – The Man Who Sold the World Lyrics 3 years ago
This song is about a lot of things. It is about the idea of the “double”, an idea of alienation and also an idea of being a spectator in your own life. David Bowie was for a long time a mime. He studied miming under Lindsay Kemp. There he discovered how to be a voyeur, which miming has a lot of.
The first stanza gives insight on what is occurring:
“We passed upon the stair, we spoke of was and when / Although I wasn't there, he said I was his friend
Which came as some surprise I spoke into his eyes/ I thought you died alone, a long long time ago

The singer is speaking about his past self and his sense of encountering himself in his own mind. This is either reflection or passing by something familiar which sparks a memory of something done in the past. It is not literally the stairs or even another person. This is a way of David remembering his double, a version of himself in the past or near present. The idea of the “Double” is found in literature and film. There is a Twilight Zone episode of it as well. The idea usually centers on a person’s regret or desire to live another life. Here David may be thinking of his many man on man sex he was having at the time. This was the time David was wearing dresses, coloring his hair, wearing lipstick and high heels. This was his way of saying that he saw himself engaging in these homosexual encounters but it was not him, it was Ziggy Stardust, his alter-ego. David has a fractured sense of self and this other “double” may be passing him by, reminding of him how he still lurks within David, like a Mr. Hyde of sorts.

"Oh no, not me
I never lost control
You're face to face
With The Man Who Sold The World "

The second stanza indicates that there is a morose sense of loss in an identity as his homosexuality had lead him to sell himself for man on man sex. He feels he is in control, but his desires have caused him to sell his body for pleasure. We can see this in the photos and videos where David simulates oral sex with Mick Ronson the guitarist. David was also supposedly caught in bed with Mick Jagger. There is a biographical element to this song that is suggestive but never definitive.
This could easily be a song experiment for David and yet that does not ring true. The Man Who Sold the World is usually a man who regrets who he has sold. What did David sell? His body for his art and his body for pleasure. All these ideas are suggested by David.

submissions
David Bowie – Space Oddity Lyrics 3 years ago
Space Oddity was written at the time of the Space Race in 1969. What most people miss is the mindset of the 1960's was different than it is today. Ideas like space-man, new frontier and just a bold idealism was still lingering in the age. If you check some of the footage of people then in America and Britain, there is a certain naivete to the period. For instance, back then they really believed that they would colonize the moon.
David could be talking about the encroaching change to humanity as it leaves Earth and the lingering alienation that brings to people. I mean humans are attached to their families first, then their hometown, the state or even country, but if you leave Earth, what else do you have but the sense of being an Earthling?
This could easily be written as a man getting high on drugs but other than the space reference, there is very little within the song to connect it directly to drugs. I mean there is more within the song to suggest this is played very straight.
Take these lyrics,

"You've really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it's time to leave the capsule if you dare"

This was written when astronauts were heroes. Everyone forgets this time period had a certain sincerity. Children could send letters to get badges from superheroes. People may have bought the shirts that astronauts wore to emulate the heroes of the age. I mean would you take passages of the Illiad and make a case for a drug reference? When is the song not about drugs then? I think the drug argument takes more evidence than just suggesting because the song has an astronaut, that must equal drugs.
A better argument could be that this was David's way of saying that he has left women for a time. Major Tom has been separated from his wife due to a career choice just like David and his wife.

"Tell my wife I love her very much she knows"
Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong"

This could be David's way of saying that things in his mind have shifted. The "circuits" have gone bad. This was when he started dressing up as a woman; he had started wearing a wig, lipstick and high heels to pick up men. David was known then to seek out men while dressed up as woman to have man on man sex in the dance-halls of London. This song could just be David's way of saying he has left behind society and is entering a new age of liberalism.

submissions
R.E.M. – Man On The Moon Lyrics 3 years ago
This is an interesting song in many ways. Most people think this song is about Andy Kaufman, but it really is not. It is a very superficial touch on Andy in some ways, but in other ways it touches on the themes that interested Andy. The items mentioned early in the song,"Monopoly, Twenty-one, Checkers, and Chess (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)" give you a clue that the song is about games, ideas and collections of the past. These collections are like artifacts for our modern minds. But what are games? They are usually systems of rules that reward a winner with victory. The rules needs to be followed to be played properly. Now what if you have a fake game? Well then there are still rules but you as viewer or player feel unsettled. This is what television wrestling is about. Wrestlers have rules and "wrestle" and yet we all know that it is scripted. Thus it is a fake game with rules and a "victor".
Now how does Andy play into this? Andy's comedy was always about transgressing rules. He tried to bend comedy and show us how the rules of performance can be plastic. Often Andy would break character or stay silent. Thus subverting expectations or informal rules.
The space between belief and "fact" is what Michael Stipe and R.E.M want to explore in this song. That is why Elvis is mentioned here. It was for a long time believed that Elvis was alive and hiding. Was his death a "fact" or was it belief?
This doubt leads us to question what we consider to be true. Obviously the moon landing faking is the hook of the song and adds to this theme of conspiracy, doubt and uncertainty. The uncertainty further is stretched to Michael Stipe himself. He has admitted in the past to being with men & women. His uncertain sexuality uses the moon as a metaphor for his unexpressed homosexual desires that seem to be creeping into his mind. The rocket is a simple phallic symbol. Landing on the "moon" could be him talking about his time on tour, picking up country lads in small towns and cities. To "moon" someone is to show your backside and Michael may be connecting his guilt, shame and overall life of picking up strangers as a question to himself if it really happened or are those memories fake.
This interaction of Michael Stipe's homosexual man on man sex and his desire to question himself could be the true meaning of this simple song. No one can really know because the rules of songs are not set in stone.

submissions
David Bowie – Life on Mars? Lyrics 3 years ago
Throughout David Bowie’s song “Life On Mars?” Bowie looks down upon the idea of escapism through entertainment. Along with this idea, he also attempts to advise his listeners about the reality of this actual entertainment itself. As long as entertainment is involved, people want to experience things that they might not think is morally or ethically acceptable, based on their personal judgment and values. Bowie’s somewhat ambiguous lyrics allow the meaning of the song’s message to apply to anyone, and gives the song “Life On Mars?” an even deeper meaning to some of Bowie’s listeners.

The Song “Life On Mars?” was written by David Bowie and released in 1971 on his “Hunky Dory” album. The album title “Hunky Dory” has a sarcastic tone to it, since the song “Life On Mars?” is about people trying to escape from reality. If everything really was “Hunky Dory,” people would not be seeking escapism. As the song begins, a piano is softly playing a tune, while the lyrics go on to describe a girl who has gotten into an argument with her parents:

"It’s a God-awful small affair / to the girl with the mousy hair / but her mommy is yelling 'No' / and her daddy has told her to go."

After this girl has the argument with her parents, a friend she was supposed to meet at the movies is not present. This friend could possibly be a date, which means that the argument could have been about this girl having a relationship. As ambiguous as the lyrics are, a concrete meaning of these lyrics is unattainable. The girl in the song sulks through her sorrows and proceeds to see a movie, despite the absence of her friend, in hopes of escaping the real world, even if it is only for a short period of time. However, this girl begins to notice that the movies she watches are not so much a fantasy, but just a big screen representation of things that go on in real life, and also possibly even her own. In effect, the girl becomes bored of watching this movie about the real world. The music in the song accentuates the girl’s feeling of being sick of these “movies”, by creating a dreadful or worried type of sound when the lyrics describe her being bored with the films’ content.

"But her friend is nowhere to be seen / now she walks through her sunken dream / to the seat with the clearest view / and she’s hooked to the silver screen / but the film is a saddening bore / for she’s lived it ten times or more."

As this first verse is about to end, the music begins to introduce an orchestral piece, which is ongoing throughout the chorus.

The lyrics of the chorus describe a couple of films or shows that are provided as entertainment for the general public at the time, who wish to escape their lives momentarily, as the girl in this song does. The orchestral piece for the chorus, along with the appropriate lyrics, gives the listener a feel as if he or she were watching a show that would have been played in the past.

"Sailors fighting in the dance hall / oh man! Look at those cavemen go / it’s the freakiest show / take a look at the lawman beating up the wrong guy / oh man! Wonder if he’ll ever know / he’s in the best-selling show / is there life on Mars?"

As the chorus describes sailors fighting in a dance hall and a lawman, most likely either a police man or a lawyer, the listener can identify these events as something that are not so far-fetched from things that happen in real life routinely. Not only do these things happen frequently in real life, but these are also two examples of real life events that most people would think are morally and ethically wrong, yet would not wish to personally witness. Although most people look down on these real-world proceedings, the general public tends to cast their morals, values, and judgments aside when they have the desire to be entertained. As a result, people are ironically trying to escape the real world, through film productions that are based upon many real-world events. Bowie conveys this message when he describes the lawman.

"Take a look at the lawman beating up the wrong guy / oh man! Wonder if he’ll ever know / he’s in the best-selling show."

After the portrayal of this false sense of escaping, Bowie asks, “Is there life on Mars?” By doing so, David Bowie is using this question as an allusion, to basically ask a rhetorical question somewhere along the lines of “Is there really an escape of reality?” After this meaningful chorus, the music begins to fade to only the piano and drums as Bowie starts singing the second verse of the song.

The second verse of “Life On Mars?” immediately begins with a satirical portrayal of Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse. “It’s on Amerika’s tortured brow / that Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow” (David Bowie Lyrics). These lyrics are symbolic of Walt Disney’s creation of Disneyland, so that he could create a family oriented place where people could escape to a world of magic. Bowie seems to negatively view Disney’s idea as one of capitalist ideals, comparing Mickey Mouse to a “cash cow,” meaning a “product or business unit that generates unusually high profit margins” (Cash Cow). Also, Walt Disney opened his “magic kingdom” in 1955, and had it strategically placed at the end of the first American freeway, Highway 110. When Bowie says “It’s on Amerika’s tortured brow,” he seems to be negatively referring to Disneyland in a way that America has to deal with people like Walt Disney, who are out to make large profits off of his fellow Americans who want to escape the real world. In contrast to that view, the next part of the lyrics claim that the workers, most likely blue-collar workers, “have struck for fame, ‘cause Lennon’s on sale again.” In 1970 the Beatles broke up, but almost immediately following, John Lennon began recording his first solo album, this album being yet another source of escapism through entertainment. As the second verse continues, Bowie begins to talk about people from all around the world in general.

Bowie uses his diction to give off a pessimistic attitude towards people who are in search of escape from reality, when he sings, “See the mice in their million hordes / from Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads.” Bowie uses metaphor to compare the people who yearn for escapism to pests, and uses the word horde much like a negative epithet. Also, Ibiza is an island, and the Norfolk Broads is a chain of lakes in Great Britain. Both locations are connected by water, so it seems that this is Bowie’s version of the phrase “from sea to shining sea.” The following lyrics then refer to Rule Britannia, which used to be Great Britain’s national anthem. “Rule Britannia is out of bounds / to my mother, my dog, and clowns.” These lyrics are pertaining to a national anthem that is “out of bounds” because Bowie is getting a point across about escapism, but this is a national anthem, and not a source of entertainment. The lyrics further go on to sarcastically say that his mother, his dog, and clowns are all uninterested in this escapism. This is much like saying that if one does not seek escapism that he or she must be either an animal, who has no knowledge of entertainment, his mother, who has no reason to escape real life because she is already content with her life, or a clown who embraces the real world. In Bowie’s mind, the real clowns are the people who do use entertainment as a source of escapism.
A closer look at the lyrics:

It's a god-awful small affair The manifestation appears increasingly empty
To the girl with the mousy hair to the ardent seeker (mousy hair = experienced 1st conscious shock)
But her mummy is yelling "No" Nature would eat/use/control her,
And her daddy has told her to go but the Conscious Circle of Humanity implants doubt.
But her friend is nowhere to be seen Metanoia occurs in wilderness
Now she walks through her sunken dream “Sunken”: the illusion is dropping
To the seat with the clearest view Consciousness arises!
And she's hooked to the silver screen Progressive re-engagement and
But the film is a saddening bore disillusionment
'Cause she's lived it ten times or more force her to confront emptiness,
She could spit in the eyes of fools gradually building her resistance
As they ask her to focus on to material and materialistic forces.

Sailors fighting in the dance hall She comes to see life
Oh man! Look at those cavemen go as a “tale told by an idiot,
It's the freakiest show full of sound and fury,
Take a look at the Lawman signifying
Beating up the wrong guy nothing.”
Oh man! Wonder if he'll ever know And she begins to see
He's in the best selling show the Sleep.
Is there life on Mars? She appeals for Salvation from its only possible source: beyond the World.

It's on America's tortured brow It’s in the very heart of materialism
That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow that the Lie is most visible.
Now the workers have struck for fame The ego (“fame”) claims of her negative I’s (Nature’s “workers”) subside.
'Cause Lennon's on sale again Thanks to help from the Conscious Circle (“John Lennon”),
See the mice in their million hordes she comes to see the Sleep
From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads in which humanity is immersed.
Rule Britannia is out of bounds Clarity (“Britannia”) can no longer be obscured by
To my mother, my dog, and clowns outer Nature (“mother”), nor inner Nature (“dog”), nor dogma (“clowns”).
But the film is a saddening bore She shifts to the Divine, subjective voice,
'Cause I wrote it ten times or more realizing that the manifestation is a reflection of noumenon,
It's about to be writ again a live, ongoing reflection,
As I ask you to focus on and I am That

But more...


In the second verse, Bowie expands on the idea of the crass marketing machine. For this, he combines two great icons: America (capitalism, wealth, consumerism, etc.) and Disney ("It's on America's tortured brow/That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow"). In these first two lines, he shows how commercialism (i.e. America) has corrupted what was once innocent and good (i.e. Mickey Mouse). "Now the workers have struck for fame/'Cause Lennon's on sale again" could be representing how even the most average people (workers -- as in factory workers) are buying into the machine ("trying to get famous). As WolfTickets said, John Lennon had put out his first solo album shortly before Hunky Dory was released, so a "if he can do it, then I can too!" mentality was likely prevalent among the people. "See the mice in their million hordes/From Ibeza to the Northland Broads" is showing how much land these people (who are as bland and common as mice) cover. In the next two lines, Bowie conveys that England has remained untouched, and will not be tainted by these boring people ("Rule Britannia is out of bounds/To my mother, my dog, and clowns"). The next four lines seem to be Bowie saying that he's afraid that he's as boring as the "mice" ("But the film" -- song -- "is a saddening bore"). He asks us, however, to keep listening as he tries to make it better ("It's about to be writ again/As I ask you to focus on").
e: "Mickey Mouse": To many, Disney still symbolizes goodness, family values, innocence, etc., but that image is a a joke--"Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow" because its sparkling image of fairytale goodness is a deception; as a company, it treated its workers so poorly that they struck to get the share of attention they deserved. In a way, the tarnishing of Disney parallels the international view image of America going from world hero (after WWII) to an imperialistic, hedonistic, meddlesome country in decline--not saying I agree, but stating how the lyrics seem to me.
A lot of people here have got stuck on the lines 'The workers have struck for fame, cos lennons on sale again'
To undertand this I suspect you'd have had to live in the Britain of this songs period where the trade unions had become so powerful that virtual anarchy ruled, constant strikes as union leaders jockeyed for power ( fame ) . We had strikes over every cause imaginable that almost destroyed the economy. The workers were quite literally striking for 'fame' in placing their needs above all else leading to power cuts, dead bodies being piled up outside mortuaries and piles of uncollected garbage 15 feet high outside peoples houses. Bowie is probably being cynical about unions stroking over the release of a record - because thats how petty some ofthese strikes were in fact.

The 'Mice in their million hordes' are us - the people on the planet - seen by the aliens as not much more than vermin - although amusing the way your pet hamster is.
Militaries fighting in the world
Oh man! Look at those idiots, (undeveloped men) go
It’s the strangest thing
Watch the US (the lawman) beat up the wrong country/nation (beating up Korea and Vietnam… or Cuba… all communist/socialist countries…)
Oh man! Wonder if he’ll (the US or Britania) ever realize
That he’s in the best selling show (war… etc the huge world wide media extravaganza)
Is there life on Mars? (implying there isn’t life on earth… wanting to escape the repetitious violent behavior of men)
Communism/Socialism isn’t that big of a deal to her (McCarthyism being what it was in the 50’s)
To the girl with the mousy hair (the mice below are the socialists… so with socialist inclinations)
Her mother says no … hates socialism adamantly (that generation’s response to communism… the fear of it, etc)
Her father has told her to leave because she agrees with socialist ideas.
Socialism doesn’t exist in the US/Britania (her friend)… not to be seen (perhaps Bowie is saying that true socialism doesn’t exist yet, it hasn’t been realized fully)
Now she’s disenchanted with the world because socialism doesn’t exist (her sunken dream)
To the seat with the clearest view… (saying that she’s sitting in the right place, has the right view… understands how things actually are has the right view of capitalism and the worlds problems)
She watches the movie (the war… the patriotic sentiments, etc)
But the war is a saddening boring thing
Because she’s lived through the whole experience plenty of times before (she’s watching Vietnam? She saw what happened in Korea and Cuba?)
She could spit in the eyes (tell off) the idiots (the people for the war)
As they ask her to appreciate and pay attention to

submissions
Billy Joel – Captain Jack Lyrics 3 years ago
This song is a "guilt" song by Billy Joel. A careful examination of the lyrics reveal some biographical details of Billy's life prior to the fame and glitz. Billy at this time was a big time alcoholic and was frequent visitor to the prostitute dens of the West Village circa the mid to late 1970's West Village neighborhood in New York City. Vital information is given by Billy early in the song when sings,

"Saturday night and you're still hangin' around
Tired of living in your one horse town
you'd like to find a little hole in the ground"

This is Billy all worked up about being alone and not having a lady. A good contrast is made in terms of Billy's experience and that of his "sister" who has "dates" in the lyrics,

"Your sister's gone out, she's on a date
You just sit at home and masturbate "

Billy is clearly in a sad state and the alcohol and prostitutes that he visits in his new clothes helps him deal with the desolation and loneliness. Billy's "girlfriend" is at the parking lot which is an interesting phrasing,

"So you play your albums, and you smoke your pot
and you meet your girlfriend in the parking lot"


In New York City at the time, pimps and prostitutes worked the parking lots to have rapid customers enter and leave the cars. This was like drive through service.
Billy feels guilt and shame at his past and now he has put it into song to let the world know of his past life of alcohol and prostitutes.

submissions
David Bowie – Ashes to Ashes Lyrics 4 years ago
This song is usually taken for David kicking his drug habit and moving on to the 1980's, but it is more than that! Yes, more!
There are some strange lyrics within the lyrics that reveal some of David's biography.
For starters, this song is named Ashes to Ashes. Where does that come from?
The Bible. The line in the Bible is about death obviously. The Bible verse, "For then the dust will return to the earth,...". But who is returning?
Is it David or Major Tom? Major Tom is David's stand in for his many bisexual flings he had in the 1970's. David and Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and Mick Ronson were many of David's bisexual adventures. Analyze the name...and it becomes interesting. What is Major Tom? A "Tom" is a male cat that goes out looking for bodies. A Major Tom = Major Cat. This is David's way of saying he was looking for bisexual men for him to get high with and have men on men sex.
Then the key ending lyrics brings it all home:
"My mother said to get things done
You'd better not mess with major tom"

David's mother wants him to stick to women, but the drugs have caused David's homosexuality to awaken. It forces him to seek out men and dress up as women. David use to dye his hair red, wear lipstick and wear a dress to pick up men. This song was a way for him to admit to it and put it behind him.
Notice also how in the 1980's David became more masculine. He wore suits again and became more manly.

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