"Beauty and the Beast" as written by and David Bowie....
Ooo-ooh

Weaving down a byroad, singing a song
That's my kind of highroad gone wrong
(My, my smile at least)
You can't say no to the beauty and the beast

Something in the night
Something in the day
Nothing is wrong but darling, something's in the way
There's slaughter in the air
Protest on the wind
Someone else inside me
Someone could get skinned, how?
(My, my) someone fetch a priest
You can't say no to the beauty and the beast
Darling

(My, my)
You can't say no to the beauty and the beast
(Liebling)
(My, my)
You can't say no to the beauty and the beast

I wanted to believe me
I wanted to be good
I wanted no distractions
Like every good boy should

(My, my)

Nothing will corrupt us
Nothing will compete
Thank god heaven left us
Standing on our feet
(My, my)
Beauty and the beast (my, my)
Just beauty and the beast (you can't say no to the beauty and the beast)
Darling

My, my
My
My, my
My


Lyrics submitted by saturnine

"Beauty and the Beast" as written by David Bowie

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Peermusic Publishing

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Beauty and the Beast song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentI think this song is definately an ode to the love/hate relationship many people have with drugs. I guess that's kind of obvious but I love the way that Bowie is seemingly ambivalent in his approach. It's more realistic than his "Ashes to Ashes" theme -- I guess at that time of his life, while he was supposedly mainly drug free and in an alcoholic daze in Germany. Allegedly he was still dabbeling in Coke so I guess that would explain the inevitability tone that he enforces in this tune. I think "B & T B " is a great album opener and I love how it's manic spirit befits the album. I lvoe driving with the top down blasting this song -- no one knows who or what it is -- except the cool people.
    davidbeauyon October 22, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentBeauty--->the Body
    Beast---->the Body
    Dualistic euphemism for the Body and the b.s. and we have to go in our trials to discipline it. It has it's own desires apart from what we -think- we want (no right or wrong, or moralizing judgement here) it's just how it acts. Most of us are fugly trash compared to that ol baztard so we ca't really understand the Beauty part... ;)
    liplexon September 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of the greatest album openers ever. Boy, did I have my friends fooled when they thought I was listening to BATB. They thought it was the Disney version until they saw the Bowie album cover.
    davidbowiefan1on October 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBesides having a great album opening, this reached number 39 in the UK charts.
    davidbowiefan1on January 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation I think Beauty and the Beast could refer to Mister B.'s marriage to Angie, which was pretty much in the dumpster around this point, I think.
    Beauty -- Good things about a relationship/partner (in this case, Angie)
    Beast -- Bad things about a relationship/partner (in this case, Angie)

    Can't say no to THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST -- If you enter a relationship with someone, you have to take the negative or weak things about that person -- or that relationship with that person -- along with the good ones. It's a package deal
    CuteSparkinaon December 28, 2008   Link
  • -3
    My InterpretationI think the meaning of this song can be most easily explored through Jungian concepts and analogies. Beauty and the Beast is essentially about Anima/Animus possession due to an unassimilated Shadow. I won't get into great detail, but you can Google "Anima possession" if you want to learn more than what I'm about to tell you.

    To give a very brief overview of Jung's model of human consciousness, it starts with a "collective unconscious" from which every individual ultimately operates. It is the totatlity of the human experience that everyone's personal unconsious is derived from. Within this unconscious realm lives certain archetypes, like the Shadow and Anima/Animus. These archetypes are symbols for different aspects of the Self. The Shadow is all the darker aspects of the Self that we tend to dislike and project onto others. The Anima is the personification of all the feminine qualities in a man (simililarly, the Animus is the personification of all the masculine qualities in a woman). Again, Google those terms for more details on what each archetype means.

    But when you read the lyrics with these concepts in mind, the meaning of the song is more easily seen. This is a man's Ego attempting to communicate with his inner Anima, whom he calls "darling". She consequently addresses him as "weakling", which is how the man feels when he is possessed by his Anima. This is why Bowie has the group of female backup singers say the line "weakling..".

    Jung wrote:
    "Turned towards the world, the anima is fickle, capricious, moody, uncontrolled and emotional, sometimes gifted with daemonic intuitions, ruthless, malicious, untruthful, bithcy, double-faced, and mystical."

    This is what Bowie is describing in the second verse when he says "something in the night, something in the day". This is the "double-faced" duality aspect of human consciousness that Jung described in his works. "Beauty and the Beast" is another way of expressing this duality. Every archetype that lives in our unconscious has this quality. For every enlightened Ego there is a dark Shadow lurking beneath the surface. For every welcoming/positive aspect of the Anima that is consciously integrated into a man's life, there is a hostile/negative aspect of her that can take possession of the man's consciousness without him becoming aware of it. That's why he says "someone fetch a priest", indicating that he's possessed and needs an exorcism or else "someone could get skinned" (meaning he could have a violent, emotional outburst, which is common for men who are possessed by their Anima).

    This duality of human nature is shown on the cover of the Heroes album, where Bowie has one hand placed on himself (symbolizing the ‘subject' part of the duality concept), and his other hand placed out in front of his eyes (symbolizing the 'object' part of the duality concept).

    This duality is also expressed on more of a group level when he says "there's slaughter in the air, protest on the wind". This line is likely influenced by Bowie's time spent in Berlin in the 70's, where one could clearly see a collective split in Germany's psyche resulting from the Second World War. The "slaughter in the air" represents the static part of the psyche.. the part that clings to the status quo and doesn't want things to change. The "protest on the wind" represents the dynamic part of the psyche that wishes to shake things up and change the status quo. Again, this is a duality in man being expressed in more group-oriented/political terms, but it's also a reference to the personal psyche as well. The Shadow/Anima tend to act as the "protest on the wind" in our personal unconscious, disrupting the Ego's behavior as described in the lyrics.

    This is reinforced by the interlude where he says "I wanted to believe me, I wanted to be good, I wanted no distractions". This is the man explaining how he's trying to be a good person, but he hasn't done any work on himself psychologically. He's been ignoring his Shadow & Anima, and doesn't fully understand himself as a result. He always thought of himself as a "good boy" because he's been dismissive of his own dark side. His Shadow is unassimlated, thus rendering him unable to clearly communicate with his Anima and reach the next step in his process of individuation. He's still "weaving down a byroad" without knowing how to get back on the main highway to the Self.

    Finally, I thought it would also be interesting to note that the fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, is in fact a story about Animus possession in a woman, and has been referenced by Jung and others when describing this phenomenon. It's a long story, so I won't get into it here, but that's also something you might want to check out. I don't necessarily think Bowie's song relates directly to the fairy tale, but I think it serves to show how a deeper understanding can come from looking at this song through Jungian terminology and ideas.

    More on diginterpretations.wordpress.com
    rejesterdon May 21, 2012   Link

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