"If You Can See Me" as written by and David Bowie....
If you can see me I can see you

I could wear your new blue shoes
I should wear your old red dress
And walk to the crossroads
So take this knife
And meet me across the river

Just shoots and ladders and this is the kiss
American ?
From nowhere to nothing
And I go way back

Children swarm like thousands of bugs
Towards the lights the beacons above the hill
The stars to the West, the South, the North and to the East

Now you could say I've got a gift of sorts
A fear of rear windows and swinging doors
A love of violence and dread of sighs

If you can see me I can see you
If you can see me I can see you

I have seen these bairns wave their fists at God
Swear to destroy the beasts, stamping the ground
In their excitement for tomorrow
I could wear your new blue shoes
I should wear your old red dress
And walk to the crossroads
So take this knife
And meet me across the river

I will take your lands and all that lays beneath
The dust of cold flowers, prison of dark of ashes
I will slaughter your kind who descend from belief
I am the spirit of greed, a lord of theft
I'll burn all your books and the problems they make

If you can see me I can see you
If you can see me.


Lyrics submitted by SongMeanings, edited by Allusi0

"If You Can See Me" as written by David Bowie

Lyrics © TINTORETTO MUSIC

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If You Can See Me song meanings
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  • +4
    My InterpretationThis song is about a demon, a literal spiritual entity viewing mankind and speaking its violent mind.

    "If you can see me I can see you" Demons are known to watch everyone, at all times, you think it's only the angels watching you? They rarely if ever manifest themselves but if they do you can know they've been watching you your whole life.

    "I could wear your new blue shoes
    I should wear your old red dress
    And walk to the crossroads
    So take this knife
    And meet me across the river"

    This string of lines is symbolic more than anything, it's an opener to the twisted mind of the demon, setting the mood to murder.

    "Just shoots and ladders and this is the kiss
    American ?
    From nowhere to nothing
    And I go way back"

    It's just a game to the demon, "I go way back" is a clue to it being a timeless entity who was here from the beginning.

    "Children swarm like thousands of bugs
    Towards the lights the beacons above the hill
    The stars to the West, the South, the North and to the East"

    How this being sees humans, "bugs" swarming to "light".

    "Now you could say I've got a gift of sorts
    A fear of rear windows and swinging doors
    A love of violence and dread of sighs"

    The demon's "gift" is "A love of violence and dread of sighs"

    "If you can see me I can see you
    If you can see me I can see you"

    Usually invisible to our dimension this demon brags that we can never see it, unless it happens to manifest itself, it's the real key to the song, it all relates to the 'watching' the 'seeing' the 'all seeing eye', which is seen in many places of pop-culture from 'eye of mordor' to the back of the dollar bill supposed illuminati pyramid eye, the eye of horus, etc, it's a favorite piece of symbolism to the demonic watchers.

    "I have seen these bairns wave their fists at God
    Swear to destroy the beasts, stamping the ground
    In their excitement for tomorrow
    I could wear your new blue shoes
    I should wear your old red dress
    And walk to the crossroads
    So take this knife
    And meet me across the river"

    This being has seen it all, including barbaric men "wave their fists at God
    Swear to destroy the beasts, stamping the ground In their excitement for tomorrow"

    "I will take your lands and all that lays beneath
    The dust of cold flowers, prison of dark of ashes
    I will slaughter your kind who descend from belief
    I am the spirit of greed, a lord of theft
    I'll burn all your books and the problems they make"

    This is the final end statement from the demon, even the voice is reverse echoed in these lines adding a demonic feel to them, like all demons it only seeks to have a voice and attempt to display it's wisdom and hatred for humans,

    "I will slaughter your kind who descend from belief"

    It will destroy anyone who falls away from the faith, a standard procedure for demons.

    "I am the spirit of greed, a lord of theft"

    A proclamation of the demon's expertise "greed & theft".

    "I'll burn all your books and the problems they make"

    Without mentioning what books, we can assume it refers to sacred texts that it so despises.

    Take it or leave it, but this is the true meaning of this song. You can ask David himself.
    mortalon April 05, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNice exegesis.
    How about this, too:
    it's about American fundamentalists who use mediaeval language mixed with the highest technology to wage war on their own infidel (oil owning states)

    just the title reminds me of the drone in Syriana (the George Clooney film) which spies on his meeting then bombs him... does he not say (to his CIA masters in that movie "If you can see me, I can see you"?
    rustybucketon May 30, 2014   Link

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