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   >> Interpretation
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Queen_Bitch_101
(kook)
09/08/03 08:31 AM
Who is the Disco King?  

Well, I assume I'm not the only one to wonder who is he, and I'm pretty sure nobody knows... John Travolta? . Well, I have personnally no idea for the moment, but as I find the lyrics superb (as well as the music of course!), here's a little interpretation of mine. 1st, thanks to LittleOogie for these lyrics, I will post them here for those who wouldn't have seen them yet . A friend of mine and myself have allowed ourselves to bring very little corrections to them...

You promised me the ending would be clear
You'd let me know when the time was now
Don't let me know when you're opening the door
Stap me in the dark, let me disappear

Memories that flutter like bats out of hell
Stab you from the city spires
Life wasn't worth the balance
Or the crumpled paper it was written on

Don't let me know we're invisible
Don't let me know we're invisible

Hot cash days that you trailed around
Cold cold nights under chrome and glass
Led me down a river of perfumed limbs
Sent me to the streets with the good time girl

Don't let me know we're invisible
Don't let me know we're invisible
We could dance, dance, dance through the fire
Dance, dance, dance through the fire

Feed me no lies
I don't know about you, I don't know about you
Breathe through the years
I don't know about you, I don't know about you
Bring me the Disco King
I don't know about you, I don't know about you
Dead or alive
Feed me no lies
Bring me the Disco King, bring me the Disco King
Bring me the Disco King, bring me the Disco King

Spin-offs with those who slept like corpses
Damp morning rays in the stiff bad clubs
Killing time in the 70's
Smelling of love thru' the moist wind
Don't let me know when you're opening the door
Close me in the dark, let me disappear
Soon there'll be nothing left of me
Nothing left to release

Dance, dance, dance through the fire
Dance, dance, dance through the fire
Tell me no lies
I don't know about you, I don't know about you
Breathe through the years
I don't know about you, I don't know about you
Bring me the Disco King
I don't know about you, I don't know about you
Breathe through the years
Dead or alive
Bring me the Disco King
Bring me the Disco King, bring me the Disco King
Bring me the Disco King, bring me the Disco King
Bring me the Disco King, bring me the Disco King
Bring me the Disco King, bring me the Disco King


As far as I'm concerned, this song is certainly the more direct message to God ever written by Bowie with the chorus of Word On A Wing: I mean that even if the words "God" or "Lord" don't appear, it couldn't be addressed to a friend or a lover for instance.

You promised me the ending would be clear
You'd let me know when the time was now

Here, he's reminding God that he (the narrator) would know when his time to die was coming, that God wouldn't let him wonder for years.

Don't let me know when you're opening the door
Stap me in the dark, let me disappear

There's apparently a contradiction, or that's what I thought 1st. But actually, "opening the door" would only mean that his time to go was soon, but not now. He's imploring God not to let him getting too much older: when one's around 80, 90, even less old, they become very weak, often very ill, etc... they feel that it's just a question of time for them, and it must a very unpleasant feeling to wonder if you'll die the day after or another week, anoter month... Or he could also ask God not let him catching a disease than can't be medically treated, and which makes you die very slowly.
On the contrary, he wants God to "stab him in the dark": he wants death to take him by surprise, with a hearth attack or something fast like that. So that he can enjoy his life till the last moment, instead of fearing death all the time.

Memories that flutter like bats out of hell
As it happens when one's getting old and feels their life more behind them than in front of them, the narrator thinks about the past. But it doesn't make him happy: he rather feels this coming of his memories as an intrusion, especially because they are bad memories. As we see later in the song, they are memories from the '70s, which explains the reference to "Hell": in '74-75 his life was like Hell.

Life wasn't worth the balance
Or the crumpled paper it was written on

He explains here why he doesn't like the come back of these memories: life was not happy as it is now for him.
"crumpled paper it was written on": it's not the 1st time Bowie suggests that our lives are written somewhere: in "Who can I be now" (Young Americans's outtake), he wrote:
"Up in heaven, any angel
Writes a special game to play"
In BMTDK he recalls once again that we are not the masters of our life. "life wasn't worth the balance": the price he had to pay for this life was far too high comparing to its quality: it was not fun or pleasant at all.

Don't let me know we're invisible
If God doesn't hear his plea, it will mean than he doesn't listen to us, we are "invisible" for him. The narrator isn't ready to accept this truth now.

Hot cash days that you trailed around
Cold cold nights under chrome and glass

Well, I'm french and don't how to translate "Hot cash days", so I can't comment for the moment .
"Cold cold nights under chrome and glass": reference to his loneliness and his self-isolation, it might even be a reference to the house Bowie had in Los Angeles after the filming of TMWFTE, end of 1975: considering how people described it, it seemed to be a kind of cage of chrome and glass where he would confine himself for days.

Led me down a river of perfumed limbs
Sent me to the streets with the good time girl

Well, once again my English is betraying me: how translating "limbs" here? Of course "good time girl" (and not girlS as stated on LittleOogie's website: listen to the song carefully and you'll hear that there isn't any "s" at "girl") makes me think about a prostitute: he felt so lonely that he looked for company and a little pleasure in the streets of prostitutes. Or it can be a reference to groupies, also. But here again I need the help of TWers who speak English better than I do: could this "good time" also be taken like "the good old time" thing? I mean: the use of singular for "girl" surprises me. So could he be referring to one single girl, a former lover? A girl he had met in better times, and so during these "cold, cold nights", he would think about her?

We could dance, dance, dance through the fire
Ha ha, here I feel some will be angry because he talks about dancing once again . I don't understand why I must say, because it's always used for a darker meaning than simply "dancing", even in Let's Dance which is not a vain and happy song at all. Once again here, it's obvious that this sentence doesn't deal with the simple joy of dancing. I guess he's not referring to God here, but to this mysterious Disco King. "The fire" may be the flames of Hell: if there is a Hell, the narrator expects to go there. But he doesn't want to go alone, he wants to go with the Disco King, whoever he/she/it is. Here, dancing would be a kind of provocation: they would dance "through the fire" to show (or pretend) that they are not scared of this fire. The music confirms this idea IMO: it is slow but not dark as it could be with such lyrics, it has even a strong jazzy theme that brings an upbeat feeling about this song. This jazzy sound also illustrates the idea that the narrator is thinking about his past.

Feed me no lies
I don't know about you, I don't know about you
Breathe through the years
I don't know about you, I don't know about you
Bring me the Disco King

Considering that these "I don't know about you" are sung by the backing vocals (and Bowie as well, but he sings very softly), I wonder if this sentence is not God's answer. And so the narrator tells him "Feed me no lies" because he doesn't believe Him: he's sure that God hears him and can bring him the Disco King for the final departure.

Dead or alive
This makes the Disco King an even more mysterious character: the narrator himself doesn't even know if he/she/it is alive. But now it definitely erases the John Travolta's possibility

Spin-offs with those who slept like corpses
Damp morning rays in the stiff bad clubs
Killing time in the 70's

Again a come back to '70s memories. "Those who slept like corpses" is a reference to junkies, who like him at this time looked like zombies when they are awake, and so who looked like dead when they were sleeping.
"damp morning rays in the stiff bad clubs": he often spent his nights in clubs, clubs mainly frequented by junkies and dealers, that's why they were "bad" and "stiff": there was no idea of romance or friendships there, people only came here to deal, take and talk about drugs.
He was "killing time" back then: he felt lost and bored, so he went in these clubs also to kill time.

Smelling of love thru' the moist wind
It might be another reference to "the good time girl": where there were those clubs, there certainly were prostitutes and stuff like that, so here "love" would rather mean "sex".
Or then it could be a reference to a romance: all that was left from this romance was this smelling in the wind.

Soon there'll be nothing left of me
Nothing left to release

No doubt, we are in "Reality": the narrator perfectly knows that he will die "soon", he's not trying to kid himself.

Tell me what you think please...

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

riley
(wild eyed peoploid)
09/08/03 12:35 PM
Re: Who is the Disco King? new [re: Queen_Bitch_101]  

The disco king:
Could be Mr Jones singing about Mr Bowie?
Just a thought.

never waste yourself hiding yourself
http://www.geocities.com/cat_taylorau

Soulman
(electric tomato)
09/08/03 01:00 PM
Re: Who is the Disco King? new [re: Queen_Bitch_101]  

It's me dad!

Sorry miss, I was giving myself an oil-job

The Shadow
(wild eyed peoploid)
09/08/03 10:11 PM
Rodney's English Disco new [re: Queen_Bitch_101]  

In reply to:

Who is the Disco King?


It's about the late Rodney Biggenheimer, isn't it?

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?
The Shadow knows


Publius Enigma
(wild eyed peoploid)
09/09/03 09:17 PM
Re: Rodney's English Disco new [re: The Shadow]  

Who is Rodney Biggenheimer?

Listen. Read. Think. Communicate.

Queen_Bitch_101
(kook)
09/10/03 05:25 AM
Re: Rodney's English Disco new [re: Publius Enigma]  

If I'm not wrong, it's a DJ

Riley, thanks for your serious answer (even though the others brought a smile on my face, I knew it would happen wiith such a title ). Good idea indeed. I wonder if Bowie will bother to enlighten us one day...

Well, anyways I would also like to know what you guys think of my interpretation... Not bad, stupid, nonsense?!

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

kisch
(crash course raver)
09/11/03 09:18 AM
Re: Who is the Disco King? new [re: Queen_Bitch_101]  

it's a song about the death isn't it ?!

but mostly I agree with your interpretation.

kisch


poorsoul
(cracked actor)
09/11/03 10:09 AM
Re: Who is the Disco King? [re: Queen_Bitch_101]  

EJSunday, apparently.

Who sucks you while you're sleeping

zigbot
(kook)
09/11/03 12:24 PM
Re: Who is the Disco King? [re: Queen_Bitch_101]  

Brilliant interpretation. I've not heard this song yet, and now can't wait. Excellent job.

Zigbot

Queen_Bitch_101
(kook)
09/12/03 05:26 PM
Re: Who is the Disco King? [re: zigbot]  

Thanks very much!!

Kisch, you said you agree "mostly" with my interpretation. With what do you disagree? I'm interested...

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


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