Teenage Wildlife

IMPORTANT: Use your registry nickname as your username when logging in to Conversation Piece!


BowieTalk
   >> Interpretation
Thread views: 3037 Previous threadView all threadsNext thread*Threaded Mode

Pages in this thread: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)
LaughingGnoome
(electric tomato)
05/20/03 01:47 PM
Lets Dance  

Lets Dance

The song is definitely at least partially about integration between the two cultures in Australia. I judge this on the video, at the start a white middle aged man tries to "dance" like an aborigine in the motel, but the aborigines laugh at him. Later the young aboriginal couple are seen as doing the same thing (infiltrating the other culture). They end up doing back-breaking work not assigned to whites (eg in the factory the aboriginal man is assigned out of all the workers to complete the worst task). I believe the part of the video that shows them doing extremely well, with a mastercard eating in fine restuarants, is a fantasy view of how they could end up (preached by the "song they are playin on the radio"), if they integrated. One example that this is a fantasy is suggested by the sight of them being allowed to paint their cultural paintings upon the wall of a gallery (This suggests the dream-lie that their culture would be allowed to continue to flourish if they integrated).

"Let's dance, put on your red shoes and dance the blues"

Speaking in the pretense of being left wing/anti-racism/concerned, but acting in a manner that serves the interests of the conservative right wing. Hypocrisy basically, on one level it may refer to those who assist the exploitation and racial discrimination by pretending that there is no problem in race relations in the land. This is examplified in the video in the factory scene, where a factory inspector comes in to examine the conditions in the sweatshop, wearing red shoes, and watches while the "blue" boss character orders the aboriginal worker to complete the task of a beast of Burden (pulling a machine through the scorching streets). The red shoes are also worn by the woman who walks upon the work of the aboriginal girl (scrubbing the ground). This indifference to the real situation which exists when the aborigines enter white society is important. On the other (and i think major) hand the theme of this song is partially entry of aborigines from indigenous culture into white society. Some possibly well meaning 'liberals' might see this as a good thing, these would be the ones in "red shoes".

"Let's dance, to the song they're playin' on the radio"

On one hand, Bowie was inspired by what he felt was inherent racism in Australia at the time. On the surface, there was no racism, no racist speeches given out "on the radio". Then the "song" would be the on-the-surface impression of equality, mutual understanding and mutual respect between the two cultures. The "song...on the radio" is on the other hand a call to aborigines to integrate themselves into mainstream australian society by Asutralian liberals who see it as a better way of living.

"Let's sway, while colour lights up your face
Let's sway, sway through the crowd to an empty space"


"colour" being skin colour (black), "while colour lights up your face" - suggests that the racial difference is noticeable, but in a pc manner is portrayed as something positive, something beneficial "lights up". There is great irony here, for the reality is that it is far from beneficial to be that colour, in this society then (to all australians reading this, i know many things have changed). The dance will only continue so long as she is coloured, "while colour" could suggest her being coloured is a temporary measure. There was a program in Australia ended just before then to introduce to white society (by force) half caste children, to tear them away from their aboriginal heritage, put them in white foster homes (and then presumably they would marry whites and bear white children).

"through the crowd to an empty space" - The empty space means one of no value, or of very low value, the aboriginal workers have to do the lowest jobs, the work nobody else will do (empty space). An invitation, "Come and enter white society, but you will not be equal" An empty space is also out of sight (so the situation is hidden), which brings us to the next lyric.

"If you say run, I'll run with you
If you say hide, we'll hide"


The only two other options (besides integrate) given by this suggestion are "run" and "hide", he is only with her, if she takes either of these two options. The other possible options, demand better treatment, protest, advance your culture proudly etc, she would be left to do on her own if it came to that. This is the voice of the white liberal, in the red shoes. These two choices "run" and "hide", are presented as the alternatives to integration which presents an implied slur on the native aboriginal lifestyle.

"Because my love for you
Would break my heart in two"


The choice of the word "would" is significant, if the white establishment were to truly "love" the aborigines, they "would" have to sacrifice their own priveleged position in the attainment of equality, this would "break" his "heart" in "two", the "two" suggests a conflict of interest then arising, he would like to continue to think of himself as still liberal and equality-loving but also knows what he would be at risk of losing.

"If you should fall
Into my arms
And tremble like a flower"


A view of the aborigines that suggests they are weak "tremble like a flower". That they are incapable of helping themselves or are consciously complicit in their own exploitation (for supposed cultural reasons) is suggested by the portrayal of them "you" as being fearful and defferential, these lines sound like the condescending benevolence of a king to a peasant. The aborigines, when they are submissive and defferential and grateful for what the white authorities give them "fall into my arms", then they are desirable "flower" in the eyes of the white authorities.

The overall language is related to two lovers, with bitterly ironic romantic associations. There is a deliberate comparison here to a husband and wife in an unequal or possibly even abusive ("tremble") marriage, she is expected to be dependant, passive and grateful, his own self image is of a protector "into my arms" and provider. And of course if she were to fulfill the role assigned to her, it would appear there is equality and partnership between the two, which would be beneficial to the nations image. This is his ideal arrangement.

"Let's dance, for fear your grace should fall"

If the two do not agree to "dance" to the "song" that claims the existence of equality and harmony in Australia, then the "grace" of the nation of Australia is described as being at risk of falling - "grace" meaning its reputation. The "Dance" is the full co-operation of the aboriginal people with the dictates of the Australian authorities. Another interpretation is that the "grace" represents the status/situation of the aboriginal peoples, then this line would sound like a threat.

"Let's dance, for fear tonight is all"

Taken in regard to the previous line, this could carry on the implied 'threat' suggested by me above, that the aborigines must assimilate themselves into western culture or else.

"Let's sway, you could look into my eyes
Let's sway, under the moonlight, this serious moonlight"


"Look into my eyes" means look at us, see how preferable it is to live like this than the way you live?. It also sounds like an act of hypnotism, the lull of a con artist. "Serious Moonlight", "Moonlight" suggests a romantic association. The "serious" nature of the dance underlies the obvious that it is not a real dance, but a metaphor for a larger important issue.












Stardusted_Lady
(absolute beginner )
05/20/03 02:12 PM
Re: Lets Dance new [re: LaughingGnoome]  

that sounds really cool...^^ i never thought of it that way. Great thinking though!

~Leia

Happiness Is Happening

Queen_Bitch_101
(grinning soul)
05/21/03 04:50 PM
Re: Lets Dance new [re: Stardusted_Lady]  

I'm sorry but he always said it was first and before a "sort of a desperate love song, which has a sort of quality to it which sums up what I'm doing." (press conference, 1983), and about the video:

"Um, it was a . . . let's Dance was open to many possible interpretations because it works nearly on an emotional level. There's no narrative story behind it. There's a polarity of lifestyles in Australia which is peculiar to that area of the world, really. There's nothing like it, I guess, other than South Africa, where there's such a rigid code. I wanted to blend the idea of an indigenous tribe who seemed to have no place in modern society without reverting to the stereotype, The Last of The Prehistoric Tribes, kind of thing. So I wanted very much to keep them in modern clothes, and I used a young teenage couple that I found out there to become the hero and the heroine of the story."

The idea of making the video with Aborigenes came after writing the song, not the contrary, it seems obvious here. Interesting stuff though!

I already observed my opinion didn't even interest you anymore, but oh well, let's say I like to talk to myself. My interpretation is - I'm sorry - much more simple:

"put on your red shoes and dance the blues"
this is a direct wink to r'n'b music, of which Bowie has always been fond, and came back to when he started working on Let's Dance: a sort of come back to Young Americans area (which could have been excellent if he hadn't invited Nile Rodgers to the party, i'm sure). The "red shoes" is a kind of symbol of r'n'b music. And "blues", well, Black music again, 'nuff said.

"to the song they're playin' on the radio"
Maybe a trial to normality: let's try to act as normal people. Not sure of what he means here I must say, if he intends to say something in particular. I think, because later in the album version in the song, he says: "to the song we're playing": eventually, let's do as WE want to do.

Let's sway, while colour lights up your face
Let's sway, sway through the crowd to an empty space

the lights and the crowd= the medias maybe. Those who try to "light up her face", reference to people magazines which want to know everything about a star's life: he tells her the best way to avoid them is to "sway through them to an empty space", where they can be left alone. Highly ironic when we considerer that not even one year after writing this song, Bowie would be more than ever in the public eye, thanks to THIS song.

If you say run, I'll run with you
If you say hide, we'll hide

Logical continuation of what have been said just before.

Because my love for you
Would break my heart in two
If you should fall
Into my arms
And tremble like a flower

Here's the desperation: clearly the girl he's talking to is afraid of what living with a star implies: no private life anymore. He wants her to be confident, not to "fall into his arms and tremble like a flower" = to be afraid every morning of seeing a people journalist ringing at her door for instance (that happens so often - and explains why so few famous people manage to have a long relationship with "normal" people, because these ones quickly become crazy). What he's saying, is that he loves her too much to bear that she would not feel totally happy with him.

Let's dance, for fear your grace should fall
Let's dance, for fear tonight is all

"for fear tonight is all": quite obvious: for fear she finally leaves.

Let's sway, you could look into my eyes
Let's sway, under the moonlight, this serious moonlight

"you could look into my eyes": she could trust him. Needless to say it's very hard for someone to trust a star with thousands of young groupies at his feet, especially when the star is.. Bowie
And "Serious Moonlight", IMO it's a reference to "Sirius", the star of the dog if I'm not wrong, and again in Crowley... That's the very word which make this song not a cheesy romantic one: behind the fun of dancing and romance, it IS serious.

The advantage of being clever is that you can play the fool, while the contrary is impossible (Woody Allen)

LaughingGnoome
(electric tomato)
05/22/03 04:13 PM
Re: Lets Dance new [re: Queen_Bitch_101]  

In reply to:

this is a direct wink to r'n'b music, of which Bowie has always been fond


I like this interpretation of this line, and it sounds very possible. I understand that your interpretation is based upon the fact that the video is irrelevent. Fair enough, though i dont believe it is. However the video gives special significance to the "red shoes" in relation to the aboriginal couple. A woman with "red shoes" approves as the aborigine man is sent on a gruelling job, another pair of red shoes walks over the work of an aborigine girl scrubbing the road. And in the end the girl destroys a pair of red shoes she buys. It seems a political message to me.

In reply to:

I wanted to blend the idea of an indigenous tribe who seemed to have no place in modern society without reverting to the stereotype, The Last of The Prehistoric Tribes, kind of thing. So I wanted very much to keep them in modern clothes, and I used a young teenage couple that I found out there to become the hero and the heroine of the story


This is a similiar theme to what i said above, The song being about integration between an indigenous tribe (or not to integrate) into mainstream modern society. Which is what is suggested above. Note he says "and i used a teenage couple", which seems to confirm that the idea of the couple is not at the crux of the theme of the song as you suggest.

You had the benefit of reading what Bowie said on the issue and you still pointedly left out the dimension of the song that relates to intercultural relationships?

In my Opinion...

Bowie is hiding the controversial nature of the songs theme, behind the simplistic mask of a relationship between a man and a woman, which symbolise white and black Australia respectively. The relationship is unequal, as i suggested above (and will not regurgitate here).

The idea of the "Dance" is heavily stressed throughout the song itself, this is because the "dance" taking place under the "serious" moonlight is representative of something more complex and serious, with wider implications than two lovers saying goodbye. But you will note that i pointed out above that the imagery is representative of two lovers, which exist mainly as symbols for the expression of Bowie's ideas.

Bowie has often used masking in his work, to hide a controversial or difficult theme behind one apparently more simple and accesible.

I admit that where it not for the video i would have never arrived at this interpretation (how could i have? - not a single Australian reference in the song). But that is because the lyrics are so generalised they could literally be applied to a large number of situations (As Bowie said in that interview). I am also confident that Bowie would not wright a song meaning one thing, and then for the video, make it seem like it meant something else.

Another from Mr Bowie

In reply to:

Um, it was a . . . let's Dance was open to many possible interpretations because it works nearly on an emotional level. There's no narrative story behind it.


This actually makes great sense to me, that there is no narrative story behind it, ie that it does not refer to a specific romantic relationship, or event in real life but instead deals with issues.

In reply to:

I already observed my opinion didn't even interest you anymore, but oh well, let's say I like to talk to myself. My interpretation is - I'm sorry - much more simple:


What are you talking about? Ill respond to whatever interests me.

In reply to:

The idea of making the video with Aborigenes came after writing the song, not the contrary,


Of course, the video usually follows the writing of a song, that is generally how all videos come about.

In reply to:

And "Serious Moonlight", IMO it's a reference to "Sirius", the star of the dog if I'm not wrong, and again in Crowley... That's the very word which make this song not a cheesy romantic one: behind the fun of dancing and romance, it IS serious


I dont really believe the Sirius suggestion myself, i think it just means serious, as in the "romance" described in the song masks a more "serious" message.

I dont understand how you could believe what Bowie said in that press conference and then feel Bowie wrote this song about his own life, i must admit to being a little baffled by that.

But of course, post whatever you believe the song to be about, as Adam once said "express yourself, you've got to make it".






Queen_Bitch_101
(grinning soul)
05/22/03 05:28 PM
Re: Lets Dance new [re: LaughingGnoome]  

The benefit of being able to quote Bowie, everybody can have it here: http://www.algonet.se/~bassman/ "articles" section Enjoy!

En réponse à:

woman with "red shoes" approves as the aborigine man is sent on a gruelling job, another pair of red shoes walks over the work of an aborigine girl scrubbing the road. And in the end the girl destroys a pair of red shoes she buys. It seems a political message to me.


Of course the video has a strong political message, he even said it himself the same year (in an interview you'll easily find on the Bassman's site : it's very naive: basically "it's bad to be rascist". It isn't even controversial at all, I'm sorry to say, except in Australia. But what I thought you said is that the SONG itself was based on what happened in Australia, which is - to my humble opinion, again - totally wrong.

En réponse à:

You had the benefit of reading what Bowie said on the issue and you still pointedly left out the dimension of the song that relates to intercultural relationships?


Of course I don't. I just say - and he makes things clear here - that it concerns the video, only it. The song itself has something much deeper, and maybe personal (note that I said "maybe" please) than "rascism is wrong". Videos don't necessarily have any link with the song, even if they often have.

En réponse à:

Bowie is hiding the controversial nature of the songs theme, behind the simplistic mask of a relationship between a man and a woman, which symbolise white and black Australia respectively. The relationship is unequal, as i suggested above (and will not regurgitate here).


oh please. That would have been contraversial in the '60s, even the '70s. And so, in the song that would be "hidden", but not in the video where on the contrary it is obvious and even very naive? When for Bowie it's time to make political or moral statements, maybe because it happens once or two times in years and he's not at ease with it, it's always obvious: I'm afraid of Americans, Under the God, Yassassin, Fantastic Voyage, Afraid, Day-in day-out...

En réponse à:

This actually makes great sense to me, that there is no narrative story behind it, ie that it does not refer to a specific romantic relationship, or event in real life but instead deals with issues.


Thanks for that. You're perfectly right. Please keep in mind that in these forums we're supposed to interpret the songs, not to explain them. I never assumed I knew what Let's Dance was about, I don't know and to be totally sincere, I don't give a damn, if you don't mind me saying so

I can't explain the song, you can't, nobody here can. For Because You're Young, you told me it could be only for Angie, and refused to talk anymore with me about another idea. Why? because you weren't able to say WHO it was about, and that I wasn't either? I still say that every fact we know proves that this song can't be for her. It can be even about someone else than him. But anyways, to interpret a song, we don't need to know who and why, or only the minimum of the minimum. So what was the problem? Here for Let's Dance, I feel the same: you quote my suggestions only because you're so sure yours are better, as if there was one and only interpretation possible, eventually, even if you say the contrary all the way. By the way, never in the video it's shown that the boy plays the chauvanistic protector towards his girlfriend you're describing.

En réponse à:

What are you talking about? Ill respond to whatever interests me.


yeah... when you think you can prove how wrong I am, most of the time. As you ask, I was talking mainly about Strangers when we meet video: only one person answered to tell me it was stupid, basically. Was it so stupid really? I only talk about it because you ask me, don't feel obliged to answered to this old topic if you don't feel too, I never feel vexed or angry more than 5 min

En réponse à:

Of course, the video usually follows the writing of a song, that is generally how all videos come about.


which doesn't mean they have the same subject than the song: look Be My Wife or "Heroes", or "Dead Man Walking", "Never let me down"... They have nothing to do with the songs, these things can happen.

En réponse à:

I dont understand how you could believe what Bowie said in that press conference and then feel Bowie wrote this song about his own life, i must admit to being a little baffled by that.


Once again, it was a suggestion like another. And then Bowie said there "no narrative story behind this", I always thought he wanted to make the difference with his previous album Scary Monsters and a long tilme ago Young Americans, Diamond Dogs etc... where there ARE stories, like stories in books, with characters and all. IMO this sentence doesn't necessarily mean it couldn't be adressed to a real person. But I don't say it is, I suggest it could be. As I said before: when I know the truth, I'll be unhappy .

I hope you won't be angry because of my sincerity, because anyways, I like your ideas most of the times, even if I don't agree with them...


The advantage of being clever is that you can play the fool, while the contrary is impossible (Woody Allen)

LaughingGnoome
(electric tomato)
05/22/03 08:25 PM
Re: Lets Dance new [re: Queen_Bitch_101]  

In reply to:

Thanks for that. You're perfectly right. Please keep in mind that in these forums we're supposed to interpret the songs, not to explain them.


Not sure why your thanking me here, as i was actually agreeing with Mr Bowie's statement . But ill try to keep that in mind .

In reply to:

oh please. That would have been contraversial in the '60s, even the '70s. And so, in the song that would be "hidden", but not in the video where on the contrary it is obvious and even very naive?


How, naive? As far as i know the situation he is describing is a fairly accurate representation of Australia during that period. But in answer to your second point, i believe Bowie likes to be very clever when he writes lyrics, he likes to layer the meanings in his songs. Song about racism? It would be pretty awful if the lyrics went something like this....

Lets Dance put on your red shoes and chase the aborigines
Lets Dance Take out your baton and beat them black,

Lets Sway, make them work for little or no pay
Lets Sway, Sway to the sound
of an aborigine slave's cries

Im sure you agree....now that would be naive.

In reply to:

The song itself has something much deeper, and maybe personal (note that I said "maybe" please) than "rascism is wrong".


Where did you get the "racism is wrong" bit from? I never said "racism is wrong", for Bowie to be discussing the complexities of the realities of aborigine life in modern Australia in so few words is very sophisticated IMHO. I just dont feel that anything in either the song or video supports an autobiographical tangent.

In reply to:

When for Bowie it's time to make political or moral statements, maybe because it happens once or two times in years and he's not at ease with it, it's always obvious:


Bowie makes moral statements in nearly every single one of his songs. As for political statements, consider the song "Slow Burn", i am very strongly convinced that song is political, but its not obvious.

In reply to:

I can't explain the song, you can't, nobody here can.


Correct, and if you want my opinion this song was one of the most awkward songs to interpret, for me, so far. Want to know why? Because of the very thing you suggested, that there is nothing in the songs lyrics to explicitly link it to the video, but in spite of this i can still say that i stand by much of my interpretation (your quotes from Bowie suggest it could probably do with a bit of tinkering though ).

In reply to:

For Because You're Young, you told me it could be only for Angie, and refused to talk anymore with me about another idea.


I argued it was for Angie and Duncan, i never told you anything. I recall i agreed with you in the end that nobody except Bowie himself can be sure didnt i? eh?

In reply to:

I feel the same: you quote my suggestions only because you're so sure yours are better, as if there was one and only interpretation possible, eventually, even if you say the contrary all the way.


Of course there is more than one possible interpretation!!! But i dont agree with yours anymore than you do with mine, and if i dont agree, i dont pretend, i say it. And dont accuse me of being arrogant when i have gone out of my way to highlight the things you say which i genuinely admire.

But i never meant to attack your thoughts, they seem perfectly valid as an interpretation, but im not going to apologise for my interpretation (which i am more or less very satisfied with) either.

You should know that in the end, the song can mean several different things all at once, there doesnt even have to be a reason why it has to be just one.

These discussions should be kept amicable and light hearted, lets keep it that way (both of us) no need to get overexcited about it.

In reply to:

yeah... when you think you can prove how wrong I am, most of the time.


If you can do so it, so can i, anyway what is wrong with that? If human beings always agreed with each other, we would still be chucking spears and making sacrifices to the volcano god. That is the basis of progress i feel, to question. Jesus that sounds so condescending! but its true.

In reply to:

By the way, never in the video it's shown that the boy plays the chauvanistic protector towards his girlfriend you're describing.


Very true, but as you said here yourself, there doesnt have to be just one interpretation. He could be referring to two aboriginal lovers and using them to paint another picture at the same time.

As i said above, part of that Bowie quote was...

"I wanted to blend the idea of an indigenous tribe who seemed to have no place in modern society without reverting to the stereotype, The Last of The Prehistoric Tribes, kind of thing. So I wanted very much to keep them in modern clothes, and I used a young teenage couple that I found out there to become the hero and the heroine of the story."

In reply to:

As you ask, I was talking mainly about Strangers when we meet video: only one person answered to tell me it was stupid, basically. Was it so stupid really? I only talk about it because you ask me, don't feel obliged to answered to this old topic if you don't feel too, I never feel vexed or angry more than 5 min


To be honest i lost interest in that thread, and that is why i never responded again, i felt in the end that it was 60% chance Angie, 40% Aids. I explored it in every way i could. But no i never asked you to respond to that thread (for that matter). If someone said you were stupid for speaking your mind, then they should be challenged for that (I think its very wrong, anyway). You are entitled to express your views as you wish same as anyone, but i wouldnt feel insulted if i was you, in that situation.

In reply to:

which doesn't mean they have the same subject than the song: look Be My Wife or "Heroes", or "Dead Man Walking", "Never let me down"... They have nothing to do with the songs, these things can happen.


The heroes video is strongly related to the song (he is drunk also, and the video is gloomy), Im not sure about NLMD and Dead man Walking (havent seen them)

but as in Heroes, in Be My Wife he sings alone, so even though the songs are complex, he chooses to sing on his own. Now if he had included orange painted elephants and images of airplanes crashing in these videos (instead of the ultra simplicity of DB singing alone), i would agree with you, there is definetely something wrong with this picture, the themes of the video and song are definetely incompatible. But that is not the case here, because him singing alone doesnt say anything about what the song is about at all. Therefore in this case in the videos he chose not to represent the songs' themes, but he didnt wildly misrepresent them as would be the case if Lets Dance's theme was autobiographical and the video was about aborigines rights and choices, thats the important difference.

In reply to:

I hope you won't be angry because of my sincerity, because anyways, I like your ideas most of the times, even if I don't agree with them...


I like many of your ideas/suggestions also, as i have pointed out a number of times. Angry!? Of course not!










Queen_Bitch_101
(grinning soul)
05/23/03 05:01 PM
Re: Lets Dance new [re: LaughingGnoome]  

Before all, I swear I wasn't overexcited, or angry or anything, and I didn't mean to sound like that, sorry really

Actually I had the bad impression that you wanted to impose your interpretation, don't get me wrong: it was only a doubt that I had, and I wanted to make things clear. Now your answer definitely convinced me that it WAS a bad impression. You know it's so difficult to be sure about what people really mean when they talk only on a chat or as here, on a board I suppose

En réponse à:

How, naive? As far as i know the situation he is describing is a fairly accurate representation of Australia during that period. But in answer to your second point, i believe Bowie likes to be very clever when he writes lyrics, he likes to layer the meanings in his songs. Song about racism? It would be pretty awful if the lyrics went something like this....

Lets Dance put on your red shoes and chase the aborigines
Lets Dance Take out your baton and beat them black,

Lets Sway, make them work for little or no pay
Lets Sway, Sway to the sound
of an aborigine slave's cries

Im sure you agree....now that would be naive.

Where did you get the "racism is wrong" bit from? I never said "racism is wrong", for Bowie to be discussing the complexities of the realities of aborigine life in modern Australia in so few words is very sophisticated IMHO. I just dont feel that anything in either the song or video supports an autobiographical tangent.


In fact, Bowie himself talked about a naive "rascism is wrong" message about the video, not you or me. And about you not seeing an autobiographical element, well, as in Because You're Young, not being Bowie, how could you? Biographers are not even able to tell what he did, and where he was in 1981, so we can assume they ignore many things about the man's private life even in 1982, and so do we. Most of Bowie's song are personal to him, he said so, not me, once again. Maybe Let's Dance is not, maybe it is, only him can say. And as I said, look at texts like Under The God, I'm afraid of Americans, even Fashion: they are political statements, statements which are made obvious for listeners, I only find curious that Let's Dance would be the only one in Bowie's songs to have a hidden political statement, especially when the statement is about rascism.

Ok... Maybe we will agree on one point: there's one sure kind of political statement in Let's Dance indeed, which could be the link between the song and the video: both are about running away from the "crowd", the so-called civilised people who want to impose their pattern of moral, skin colour, sexuality, musical (and other) tastes, etc... Like in the end of the video: because of what they would meet in the city, the two understand they'd better stay with they Aborigne family.

To finish, about Strangers When When We meet, it's certainly more likely to be about Aids than about Angie IMO

The advantage of being clever is that you can play the fool, while the contrary is impossible (Woody Allen)

LaughingGnoome
(electric tomato)
05/23/03 07:31 PM
Re: Lets Dance new [re: Queen_Bitch_101]  

In reply to:

Actually I had the bad impression that you wanted to impose your interpretation, don't get me wrong: it was only a doubt that I had, and I wanted to make things clear. Now your answer definitely convinced me that it WAS a bad impression. You know it's so difficult to be sure about what people really mean when they talk only on a chat or as here, on a board I suppose


I never enforced my opinions on you or anyone else, so i guess it must be a miscommunication. If you scroll upwards you see that i have even agreed with some of what you posted. But im glad that you now realise this.

You could be correct with your interpretation, as Bowie said, the song is very open to vastly different interpretations, and yours was perfectly valid.

In reply to:

And about you not seeing an autobiographical element, well, as in Because You're Young, not being Bowie, how could you? Biographers are not even able to tell what he did, and where he was in 1981, so we can assume they ignore many things about the man's private life even in 1982, and so do we.


Well the reason i doubted it (and still do) was because other interpretations fit the video (in particular) better than this. For example when he made that video it was a single days work (for him), then he moved on to another part of Australia to do China Girl, he only has a cameo role in the video, so i reasoned if it was autobiographical, surely he would have appeared far more often in it? But that is not to say that there is anything wrong with your interpretation. There is not, and it is perfectly good in itself. But i was honestly perplexed that your interpretation seemed to totally ignore a racialistic dimension, and i wanted to know what was the source of your confidence.

In reply to:

Like in the end of the video: because of what they would meet in the city, the two understand they'd better stay with they Aborigne family.


There are two possible endings, one is of abject poverty and repression as manual labourers. The other is as a rich, equal success story.I kind of feel now that they are both thoughts, fantasies/ruminations going through their minds as they decide what they are going to do, and they come to the conclusion that the first possibility is far more likely than the second. So they walk off into the desert sunset, and remain aborigines.

But yes as a result of these discussions i am more inclined to believe the dialogue in the song is between the two aborigine lovers. A love song about what are they going to do, how are they going to choose to live? To integrate or not to integrate, that is the question. So my overall view of the song has changed somewhat. Thanks to this discussion.

So i guess our polarized ideas met each other somewhere in the middle after all then...




Queen_Bitch_101
(grinning soul)
05/25/03 05:07 AM
Re: Lets Dance new [re: LaughingGnoome]  

En réponse à:

But i was honestly perplexed that your interpretation seemed to totally ignore a racialistic dimension, and i wanted to know what was the source of your confidence.


haha promise I have no source that no one else knows actually I admit today I've made a big mistake in my interpretation: I should have said "narrator" and not Bowie himself, so that wouldn't have necessarily implied an autobiographical statement. Still I think about the song "Without You" on the same album (and a crap, but that's another story ): it is personal and genuine, he said it clearly this time, in another interview on Bassman's site as well. Still no biographies can't tell us who it is about... so you see, that's why I never exclude the autobiographical possibility. But again, next time I'll be careful of using "narrator" .

What makes me doubt about a racial statement in Let's Dance is that if it was not for the video, absolutely nothing indicates a racial statement in the song itself, even the "while colours light up your faces": I like what you said about it, but it could be simply the different colours of the light in nightclub, itself representing the mass of the crowd.

Thanks to your own interpretation I see know there's a strong link between the song and the video: I must say that before, I thought they were totally apart (and it was stupid indeed ). But I think the song is not focused on races problems, that it's a larger scale conflict: the one between the way "the crowd (which can represent many things) wants us to live, and the way ourselves, as individuals would like to live. And that includes the problem of rascism of course, and so Bowie decided to show this part of the conflict, but the song could concern a couple of any colour of skin really. And I still see many references to the particular problem of stardom: you are constantly under the media lights, and have constantly to hide if you want to have a normal private life. That's a problem Bowie often encountered even before Let's Dance, and that always disturbed him, since Fame Which doesn't mean he doesn't depict an Aborigene, or Black, or Asian couple, whatever, I agree on this point.

En réponse à:

So i guess our polarized ideas met each other somewhere in the middle after all then...


Yep

I thank you too because once again my point of view has changed too! See you in the next interpretation

The advantage of being clever is that you can play the fool, while the contrary is impossible (Woody Allen)

LaughingGnoome
(electric tomato)
05/25/03 09:19 PM
Re: Lets Dance new [re: Queen_Bitch_101]  

To be honest these types of songs are the worst to interpret, the song is so damned famous, everyone has a feel for what its about, so you wonder if your stating the obvious. And then if you mess it up, you look doubly stupid for missing something apparently obvious. The lyrics especially are so open to interpretation that all interpretations are very equally valid too, including an autobiographical one.

In reply to:

See you in the next interpretation


Yep



We think of the key, each in his prison
Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison

The Waste Land


Pages in this thread: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)
Previous threadView all threadsNext thread*Threaded Mode
Jump to

Teenage Wildlife Davie Bowie | Email Us! Forums powered by WWWThreads v5.1.5perl

Teenage Wildlife Home Page Bowie's music Info on Bowie Other Media Have your say! Search the Site Help me!


Toolbar (Interact)

Etete Systems