Teenage Wildlife

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   >> Interpretation
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Cucumber
(wild eyed peoploid)
04/17/03 07:46 PM
I'm not a piece of teenage wildlife new  

Teenage Wildlife,the song,appears to be about some Bowie fan in drag,who confuses "David" with futile questions about hallways.Someone who bathes in youthful wonderment,yet someone who acts like a grotesque,as ugly as a teenage millionaire,fascinated with hedonism.Someone who'd commit a rock n' roll suicide just to get to those million dollar hallways.

Who is that "David" character and why is he standing on that ambitious kid's way?Is he an idol,or a victim of idleness and egocentrism and,most of all,is his nose really broken on that lodger cover?

And it's no game.



Sylvanelf
(stardust savant)
04/18/03 10:55 AM
Re: I'm not a piece of teenage wildlife new [re: Cucumber]  

Teenage Wildlife is about Bowie's son, and his going off to highschool or college. Bowie doesn't know much about school, because, well....he really didn't go.

The chilly receptions may or may not refer to Bowie's somewhat lack of popularity amoung the youth at the time. They would probably make fun of Bowie's song, or just not associate with him. Or more likely, it could just be referring to how people are in general.

This song seems rather cruel for Bowie to write to his son if you ask me. It could also be written to Bowie's next kid, if he was already anticipating such a thing. This song is rather confusing though, as this obviously refers to someone not very popular getting beaten up in the highschool hallways (possibly what happened to Bowie's son, because he was rich):

You'll take me aside, and say
"Well, David, what shall I do?
They wait for me in the hallway"
I'll say "Don't ask me, I don't know any hallways"
But they move in numbers and they've got me in a corner
I feel like a group of one, no-no
They can't do this to me
I'm not some piece of teenage wildlife



Talking about Bowie's son and college, my connection to Bowie is that my English teacher my junior year in highschool was roomate's with Duncan's girlfriend. She said he sounded a lot like his dad. Pathetic, huh?

Stop reinforcing my stereotypes!

Cucumber
(wild eyed peoploid)
04/18/03 12:22 PM
. [re: Sylvanelf]  

Interesting theory,Sylvan.

In reply to:

This song seems rather cruel for Bowie to write to his son if you ask me



That's exactly what I was thinking.How could Bowie insult the ones who crowned him?(The fans in drags,as ugly as the teenage millionaire,his son? or Donny Osmond)
How could Bowie be so cruel to his fellow creatures...
And then it occured to me that he's actually mocking himself.

The broken nosed mogul,the nose of a loaded sniffer,who needs to get away from history midwives and their gossiping nature,the hunted wild predator,who's not a teenager anymore.



AdamModerator
(crash course raver)
04/18/03 12:56 PM
Re: . new [re: Cucumber]  

Some good points. Also worth checking out is Dara's essay here.


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Angel Gone Heathen
(electric tomato)
04/18/03 01:57 PM
Re: I'm not a piece of teenage wildlife new [re: Cucumber]  

I've read somewhere that Bowie wrote the song after Gary Numan asked him to write a song that could be used as a single, and Bowie refused. I've always imagined it dealt with Bowie coming to terms with his fame, not always wanting to be the spotlight - he doesn't want to be viewed as teenage wildlife. He's giving advice to the young artist asking him for help, he's telling him that its not all guts and glory, but rather that there is a good deal of trauma to be expected (they wait for me in the hallways, etc. - he's referring to the paparazzi).

In reply to:

Well, how come you only want tomorrow
With its promise of something hard to do
A real life adventure worth more than pieces of gold
Blue skies above and sun on your arms strength in your stride
And hope in those squeaky clean eyes
You'll get chilly receptions everywhere you go
Blinded with desire - guess the season is on


Here Bowie is talking to young Mr. Numan, perhaps, asking him why he has such hope to be famous, he can't wait for tomorrow when tomorrow is going to be even harder than today? Mr. Numan has all this hope of a bright future, but he will always be an alien, an outsider, another piece of teenage wildlife to all those he comes into contact with. But he wants it so bad, and now he will have to deal with it.

In reply to:

So you train by shadow boxing, search for the truth
But it's all, but it's all used up
Break open your million dollar weapon
And push your luck, still you push, still you push your luck
A broken nosed mogul are you
One of the new wave boys


Numan thinks he's prepared, training by "shadow boxing," and despite Bowie's warnings he's still pushing his luck, breaking open his million-dollar weapon (perhaps his single, "Cars"). "One of the new wave boys" is a reference to the genre of new wave - new romanticism, whatever. Also a reference to the new wave of music sweeping into the 80's.

In reply to:

Same old thing in brand new drag
Comes sweeping into view, oh-ooh
As ugly as a teenage millionaire
Pretending it's a whizz kid world
You'll take me aside, and say
"Well, David, what shall I do?
They wait for me in the hallway"
I'll say "Don't ask me, I don't know any hallways"
But they move in numbers and they've got me in a corner
I feel like a group of one, no-no
They can't do this to me
I'm not some piece of teenage wildlife


Bowie is telling Numan that he's nothing new, just the same old thing in brand new clothes. He's telling Numan that he won't help him - his advice will be redundant and pointless because no advice he can give will save Numan from becoming a piece of teenage wildlife life Bowie himself has become. Essentially, no matter what Bowie tells him, Numan cannot be saved from his fate. He has become alienated (I feel like a group of one), and there is nothing he can do about it.

In reply to:

Those midwives to history put on their bloody robes
The word is that the hunted one is out there on his own
You're alone for maybe the last time
And you breathe for a long time
Then you howl like a wolf in a trap
And you daren't look behind


This one is kinda hard to interpret, but he's essentially saying that Numan is just going to repeat history, and his privacy will disappear (you're alone for maybe the last time). He's like a wolf in a trap - he came into the hunt lookikng for fame, but now he's fallen into the trap and he can't get out. The hunter is alone and trapped now.

In reply to:

You fall to the ground like a leaf from the tree
And look up one time at that vast blue sky
Scream out aloud as they shoot you down
No no, I'm not a piece of teenage wildlife
I'm not a piece of teenage wildlife


He's merely resigning Numan to his fate - he will become a piece of teenage wildlife after he starts to fall back down from that first high. He'll realize how pointless and horrid fame is, but it'll be too late.

In reply to:

And no one will have seen and no one will confess
The fingerprints will prove that you coudn't pass the test
There'll be others on the line filing past, who'll whisper low
I miss you he really had to go
Well each to his own, he was
Another piece of teenage wildlife, oh-oh-oh-ohh
Another piece of teenage wildlife, oh-oh-oh-ohh
Another piece of teenage wild...
Wild
Wild
Wild


This is just saying that there will be others after Numan, looking at him as a hero much as Numan looked at Bowie, whispering "its a shame he had to go" and resigning him to just more teenage wildlife.

The essential message here is that history will always repeat itself.

-----------

i had my Y chromosome surgically removed!
-the poster formerly known as CDS, now known as strangeDivine's bitch.

Cucumber
(wild eyed peoploid)
04/18/03 02:04 PM
. new [re: Adam]  

In reply to:

Dara's essay here



Amazing!




power2charm
(stardust savant)
04/18/03 03:05 PM
Interpretation, sho 'nuff, is a part of me new [re: Cucumber]  

Bah!

Eraserhead: Wussiest Iggy Pop fan....EVER!


Cucumber
(wild eyed peoploid)
04/18/03 03:14 PM
Re: Interpretation, sho 'nuff, is a part of me new [re: power2charm]  

I searched for a thread about TW,couldn't find any.Must have skipped that one.



Tati_wl
(stardust savant)
04/22/03 03:32 PM
Re: . new [re: Adam]  

Adam, thanks so much for the link of Daras interpretation on Teenage Wildlife. Thats the best interpretation Ive read so far (well, Im not surprised, hehe)- and now I feel I really understand the song- which Ive always found a bit complex.

Tati


StrangeDrugs
(crash course raver)
04/23/03 12:49 PM
yeah new [re: Tati_wl]  

I realise this isn't an interpretation...more of an association...anyway, Teenage Wildlife always reminds me of this poem:

(From Wm Blake
to sundry psychedelinquent whizz kids
assuming his name in vain):

Stop bleating
about the bush
little lambs

Get wean'd
Or get stufft

(in some body
else's pram --

I didn't eat today, and I'm not gonna eat tomorrow -- cos I'm gonna be a supermodel.


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