In case you're wondering it's alive and well
That little habit that you left with me
Here in the suburbs where it's hard to tell
If I got the bear or if the bear got me
How did you know that it would take me down
Down to the bottom of the wine-dark sea
Where you were waiting there to bring me 'round
Where you knew all the dopest cuts to be

Down at the bottom of your mystery
Down at the bottom of the wine-dark sea

Saw your old lady in the park today
The legendary smile is wearing thin
Behind that guessing game you make her play
Now that she knows that she could never win
I guess you're never gonna take her down
Down to the bottom of your little black heart
Lay with her naked on the cold hard ground
To watch the sun rise in the dopest part

Down in the bottom where your lifeline shows
Down in the bottom where nobody goes

Did you lose your way, find another
Did you make your play, run for cover
Is its safe to say you got burned today?

Yeah, I like the feathers and I love the hat
Yeah, I like that little gypsy tune you're humming
Yeah, I guess I'm happy now we had this chat
Oh yeah, I'm really glad I saw you coming
There in the corner of the eastern sky
The tortured angel of your rising sign
Darkens the evening with his one good eye
An evil omen of the dopest kind

Down in the bottom where your demons fly
Down in the bottom of the eastern sky
Down in the bottom where your lifeline shows
Down in the bottom where nobody, nobody goes
Down at the bottom of your mystery
Down at the bottom of the wine-dark sea

Lyrics submitted by paper bag writer, edited by BalanceAsia

Down in the Bottom song meanings
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  • +2
    My InterpretationIt's about a weary drug addict longing for the company of an old friend who died of an overdose. He introduced the speaker to the habit, but he blames himself for letting his friend die, but he also blames the deceased friend for his current condition. His addiction has taken him to some very dark places, and things have gotten so bad that it's impossible for him to determine if he is currently the master of his own fortune in life. He encounters the guy's widow in the park, someone he probably hasn't seen in a very long time, and it's clear that the main thing on her mind is whether or not the speaker is still a user. He compliments the woman on her appearance and they chat for a while, but at the end of the day, he is still haunted by loss and a foreboding sense of impending doom.

    The line "If I got the bear or if the bear got me" is a reference to an unused Steely Dan song that was discarded from the Aja sessions, which is itself a song about the mental confusion and disarray brought about by being a junkie. "The Bear" was another nickname for the psychedelic Owsley Stanley, aka Kid Charlemagne.
    Fuzzynavelon September 15, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationIn other words, the metaphorical bear has got his ass. Walter Becker faced a similar loss in real life during the making of the Gaucho album when his girlfriend OD'd in their apartment and he was slapped with a $17 million wrongful death suit. The experience served as a wake-up call and motivated him to clean up his act.
    Fuzzynavelon September 15, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHe's not talking about a friend, he's not talking about a bear, he's not talking about Owlsley (good lord). He's talking about...well, anyway, "have you got the bear or has the bear got you" is hipster slang for "are you in control or are you an addict?" That's all.

    You're right about Kid Charlemagne, though.
    TedPikulon August 18, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAdd those interpretations together and we probably have a dismally accurate picture of the lyric. However, I never got the feeling that the speaker longs for the company of this missing person. And obviously,in the style of typical junkie cop-out, The speaker blames the missing one for the speaker's addiction- let's see.. I'm guessing heroin. I didn't know about the 'definition' of "bear." It should be added to the hipster dictionary.
    tbspollenon May 15, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI somewhat agree with the 1st comment though I think the person the narrator is addressing is alive and his comments about his friends old lady are about how cavalier and aloof his friend is towards her, he's losing her and needs to admit it's his own fault as the narrator asks him "is it safe to say you got burned today?"
    starman714on September 05, 2017   Link

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