"Strangers When We Meet" as written by and David Bowie....
All our friends
Now seem so thin and frail
Slinky secrets
Hotter than the sun

No peachy frairs
No trendy rechauffe
I'm with you
So I can't go on

All my violence raining tears upon the sheets
I'm bewildered, for we're strangers when we meet

Blank screen tv
Preening ourselves in the snow
Forget my name
But I'm over you

Blended sunrise
And it's a dying world
Humming Rheingold
We scavenge up our clothes

All my violence, raging tears upon the sheets
I'm resentful, for we're strangers when we meet

Cold tired fingers
Tapping out your memories
Halfway sadness
Dazzled by the new

Your embrace
It was all that I feared
That whirling room
We trade by vendu

Steely resolve is falling from me
My poor soul, poor bruised passivity
All your regrets ran rough-shod over me
I'm so glad that we're strangers when we meet

I'm so thankful, cause we're strangers when we meet.
I'm in clover, for we're strangers when we meet.
Heel head over, cause we're strangers when we meet.

Strangers when we meet. (x9)

Lyrics submitted by lauramars

"Strangers When We Meet" as written by David Bowie


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Strangers When We Meet song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentIs it not just about breaking up with someone and a nod to Angie?

    I can see elements working with the theme of someone with dementia but it doesn't really all work. The "thin and frail" comment relates to "all our friends now seem so.. thin and frail" so I cannot see why people are relating this to the person he's singing to? Besides the attitude/delivery of the song is not to someone he loves who's battling a disease... it's a bitter account in my opinion. Anyway interesting theory but not for me.

    I think it's the course of a breakup and how time affects the relationship and attitudes towards the person. Starting with the realisation that you're not in the right place or lifestyle anymore; all our friends now seem so thin and frail. Or with the right person; No trendy rush of faith, I'm with you so I can't go on.

    The next stage is the post break-up getting over them. I think the "forget my name, but I'm over you" line might be a dig at Angie for keeping his name after their divorce.

    The final part is being overjoyed at not knowing each other anymore and knowing you made the right decision.

    Great song that ends a great album. Outside version is better than the original on buddha in my opinion as well, but I don't think it's a popular opinion who know both!
    Longpigon March 22, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think this i one of davids greatest an most epic songs. it s about him as an old, tired man, meeting a new girl and being glad, that she doesnt know anything about his future. so he is allowed to start all over again.
    thehexmanon March 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is one of my favorite bowie songs. it has so much yearning, sadness, love, hope...

    anyway, a couple of years ago i read some alternative interpretations of this song on a bowie board, and they just stuck with me, because they fit very well. one interp was that the lover that bowie is singing to has aids or alzheimer's or some other kind of terminal illness. the illness makes her drastically different physically and mentally ("thin and frail," "strangers when we meet"). she's dying, but she's not dead yet, so of course he "can't move on." her mind is getting weaker by the disease, and she "forgets his name." he's feeling conflicted by this disease, at once angry ("all my violence"), "bewildered," and "resentful." sometimes he just wishes to forget her and be "over her," and her "embrace was all that he feared" because he is afraid of becoming ill just like her. but at last he reconciles his love for her, and continues to love her, despite the bruises he has sustained emotionally, and he's ultimately thankful that she's still alive.

    i just thought this was a fascinating interpretation that really, really works.
    hallospacegirlon September 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it is about two people who were together and in love, but parted. And it is the depth and sorrow of understanding the way people can connect intensely and then in a matter of time realize how we all change. It is the wavering between the state of remembering the closeness, longing for it, and then old resentment as well the distance that grows so shockingly quick.
    funnysmartnameon November 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentif you listen closely in the version on The Buddha of Suburbia you'll hear a very similar background guitar theme to that of the song Look Back In Anger.

    also, the bassline at the beginning is the same as the bassline at 1:11 into the 1967 song Join The Gang
    laurelinwyntreon October 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI love this song. It makes me think about a strange relationship I've been in.

    We had this intense lust & I'd never tell my friends when I was seeing him.

    As strong as our connection was, we also barely knew each other, I suppose it was very passion based.

    In the mornings when he'd leave it was so awkward again..

    I'd miss him & yearn to see him, but at the same time almost hope I wouldn't because I could feel myself falling for him. But everytime I'd make the decision not to see him anymore, as soon as he'd call me I'd give in.

    The definition of 'run roughshod' is "treat inconsiderately or harshly" . I can relate to that.

    stadiumon February 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment The Gentleman COULD be singing about an elderly gentleman whose partner has dementia, but methinks that it's a breakup song, pure and simple. Mr. Bowie sings of a fellow who broke up with a lady who pretends she doesn't know him and he's glad of that because he was sick of her @$$ by the time of their parting
    CuteSparkinaon September 29, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of my favorite songs of all time. For me is about the most painful situation I've been so far. It's about breaking up from very profound relationship, contaminated by anger and violence. All our friend in common seem so thin and frail, their presence is as mere observers as the couple struggle in their relation, gossip of slinky secrets that are hotter than sun is going around them. When things get worse theres no sings of things improving, no trendy rechaufee anymore, thats when he realize that being with her(My case) he will no be able to go on. All the violence in the bedroom, pain in form of tears, upon that he wonders confused and realized that they were actually very different when the first meat. Blank screen tv pouring ourselves in the snow is about all the fights that lasted all the night, even when tv signal ended, it was already very common thing.Blended sunrise is that all of that lasted till Dawn, finalizing by cleaning up the mess of clothes in the floor. He is upset about all the violence, and now he is feeling very upset, resentful thinking that what if they are strangers when they meet, this time he is afraid of loosing her, and becoming strangers forever even in the remote case they see each other by chance... then he starts to feel pain that's like a big oppression in your chest, trying to get rid of all of those memories good and bad that are hurting him bad, then he starts to overcome this, halfway sadness dazzled by the new(Feelings of being free from a hurting relationship). Then, when they are not together anymore he is so hurt that he's afraid of her embrace, as he remembers selling everything in the room, things that connect them before. He has double thoughts, as she still tries to reach to him, all her regrets ran over him, his resolve is getting week as his poor soul, poor bruised passivity. Then he feels something new, he starts to overcome this and thinks now on the future (This is most beautiful part of the song for me) maybe reincarnation, he thinks and hopes that faith will joining them again in different circumstances, different times that's makes him glad there's not an end to this, as by then they will be strangers when they meet. We is convinced that faith will give them another shoot in the future or past eve, he feels free now, happy and sorrow same time for he is in clover because they will be strangers when they meet again. Be brave my loved one (Heel head over), cause we're strangers when we meet..... Somebody out there that has lived this will agree with me, as this is how I feel nowadays... By the ways this was one o my favorite songs and I've just found true meaning to it by own experience, but as most of bowie's songs, they will have a special meaning for each individual. Keep listening. Juan Avila
    flyingleafon January 16, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationTo me, it's about somebody unlucky in love finding new love, but fears his past. He's happy she doesn't know what a fuckup he's been, but he still knows it, and it'll probably end up wrecking this relationship as well. That's probably why the music on the surface feels happy, but has a menacing undercurrent as well. The good times will only last so long, then comes the break up.
    ratanxon February 02, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationFor me this song is about reincarnation and karma. The character has been in relationships with this girl through several lives, and gave her lots of pain and violence before. As he meets her again in this life, he remembers back, and at first this makes him resentful, but after that he feels really greatful and full of joy for they met again, as total strangers. So he was given a new chance to make a clean start with her again.
    wappalion May 29, 2013   Link

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