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NoGame
(stardust savant)
12/04/03 08:37 AM
Titles and Lyrics, Lyrics and Titles  

Inspired by Strawman's thread TW's Observational skills

Some of the great wealth of David Bowie songs have titles that are not directly explained in the song lyrics. In some cases it's pretty obvious, like with Alabama Song. In other cases, you may wonder why, for instance with Seven Years in Tibet, was named that way. I guess some of the not understanding why may come from being not a native English. In other cases, well... in this thread I want to collect all your visions to what you think made Bowie call a song this or that. Out of my head I combined a list of the songs, like Strawman intrumentals and Outside segues are not included. If I have forgotten songs, or placed songs on the list that shouldn't be there, please correct me.

(in alphabetical order)

* A Small Plot of Land, Alabama Song;
* Battle for Britain (the Letter), Betty Wrong, Bombers;
* Chant of the Ever-Circling Skeletal Family, Conversation Piece, Cracked Actor, Cygnet Committee;
* Eight Line Poem;
* Future Legend;
* Heathen (the Rays);
* LAW (earthlings on fire), Letter to Hermione;
* Memory of a Free Festival;
* Queen Bitch;
* Repetition;
* Seven Years in Tibet, Song for Bob Dylan, Space Oddity, Sunday;
* The Motel, The Revolutionary Song, The Wedding Song, The Width Of A Circle;
* Untitled No. 1

I think that's it. Feel free to pick one and elaborate on why you think Bowie named that song in that way.

NoGame
A Look Back at A Legendary Event: Berlin 2003

poorsoul
(stardust savant)
12/04/03 11:57 PM
Do Your Homework new [re: NoGame]  

A Small Plot Of Land was originally a line in the lyrics, which found itself cut from the final form.

Alabama Song was written by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.

Bombers mentions the topic of bombing often enough not to be considered in this grouping.

Cracked Actor is about an actor addicted to cocaine.

Eight Line Poem is an eight line poem, inspired by a quote from Kalil Gibran.

Law (Earthlings On Fire) features both terms in the chorus.

Letter To Hermione is a letter to Hermione, his mime lover (or something).

Song for Bob Dylan is a song for Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman).

The Wedding Song was written for his wedding.

The Fantastic Voyages Of Elaine, The Happy Athenian Pillar

zigbot
(electric tomato)
12/05/03 01:34 AM
Re: Do Your Homework new [re: poorsoul]  

Yes, and "Untitled No. 1" was the first time he couldn't be bothered to "name that tune." It will surely be followed by "Untitled No. 2," "Untitled No. 3," and, perhaps one day, we can look forward to the compilation CD "Bowie: Best of the Untitled Series."

Zigbot

NoGame
(stardust savant)
12/05/03 08:31 AM
Prick, you! new [re: poorsoul]  

Well, I'm glad someone got all the easy ones out of the way. Of course some of the songs are very obvious titled in a way that needn't any reference in the lyrics, like The Wedding Song and Cracked Actor. You are right about Alabama Song, that isn't a Bowie composition and shouldn't have been on the list.

I suggest you do your homework too, because the title Law (earthlings on fire) only has the 'earthling on fire' bit in the lyrics. But where does the 'law' bit come from then? Looking more closely at the lyrics page of TW (here), I couldn't find it. For the same reason I included Battle for Britain and Heathen. The (letter) and (the rays) are more obvious, but how about the important part of the title?

I thank you for the trivia about A Small Plot of Land, I didn't know that piece of information. Question is, why did he maintain the title? Obviously Bowie still thought the title had a meaning for the song, even though that particular line has been cut from the final version.

Anyone care to take on the more difficult ones?

NoGame
A Look Back at A Legendary Event: Berlin 2003

ermacowns
(wild eyed peoploid)
12/05/03 12:58 PM
Re: Titles and Lyrics, Lyrics and Titles new [re: NoGame]  

Chant of the Ever-Circling Skeletal Family
...because the song is just that. An eternal, haunted chant...maybe a reference to Saint-SaŽns "Danse Macabre", which involved dancing skeletons...

Future Legend
Because it serves as an introduction to a serie of tales and legends from the future?

Memory of a Free Festival
I don't see anything difficult with that one. Bowie is relating his souvenirs from what seems to be a village celebration....a huge party.

Repetition
Not sure. Because it is a repetitive boring song?

Wedding Song
the sung version of the instrumental piece composed for his wedding to Iman methinks.

I am very curious about Width of a Circle....anybody has a guess?

--------------------------------------
Music is the best.

NoGame
(stardust savant)
12/05/03 02:27 PM
Closer and closer new [re: ermacowns]  

In reply to:

Repetition
Not sure. Because it is a repetitive boring song?


I thought this too. Well, not that it is a boring song, because I think it is a wonderful song! But the bass sound of the song is indeed repetitive, and so maybe Bowie dedicated a song for a part to the music, instead of the lyrics.
Lyricwise, I think Repetition stands for Johnny, who repeatedly keeps hitting his wife. That suggestion is made anyway.

In reply to:

I am very curious about Width of a Circle....anybody has a guess?


I personally am very curious to the meaning behind the title Sunday. Width of a Circle is a difficult one too.

NoGame
A Look Back at A Legendary Event: Berlin 2003

SysiyoModerator
(thunder ocean)
12/05/03 03:19 PM
Re: Prick, you! new [re: NoGame]  

In reply to:

I suggest you do your homework too, because the title Law (earthlings on fire) only has the 'earthling on fire' bit in the lyrics. But where does the 'law' bit come from then? Looking more closely at the lyrics page of TW (here), I couldn't find it.


It is sung (yelled) in the backround through-out the song. Listen to the song on a walkman, and it becomes quite evident.

KArt | Project Michelangelo | LiveJournal

SysiyoModerator
(thunder ocean)
12/05/03 03:26 PM
Re: Prick, you! new [re: NoGame]  

And as for A Small Plot Of Land, Strange Fascination, pages 501-502 on the 2001 edition:

"Reading through A Thousand Plateaus, it is impossible to miss the connections between Bowie's songs and some Deleuze and Guattari's concepts, in only on the most superficial levels: 'A book exists only through the outside and on the outside... in short, we think that one cannot write sufficiently in the name of an outside... try out continuums of intensities segment by segment, have a small plot of new land at all times. [my italics]' I wonder if Duncan, then reading for a Ph.D. in philosophy in the States, had been sharing some of his academic obsessions with his dad?"

KArt | Project Michelangelo | LiveJournal

poorsoul
(stardust savant)
12/06/03 00:03 AM
Re: Prick, you! new [re: NoGame]  

In reply to:

For the same reason I included Battle for Britain and Heathen. The (letter) and (the rays) are more obvious, but how about the important part of the title?



Which is why I left them alone for serious consideration. I'm sure there are more you could add but that would require constructive thinking and I couldn't be bothered with that right now.

The Fantastic Voyages Of Elaine, The Happy Athenian Pillar

Shoes
(mortal with potential)
12/06/03 01:37 AM
Re: T..aking a stab at width of a circle. new [re: ermacowns]  

the words width of a circle could be in kahil gibran. Subjectively thinking however; as the song's about when you're young you think different and not so much in a straight line (road) as when more set in ways and ; also it's a bit trippy (i mean talking to blackbirds and them saying kahil gibran?), seeing dragons and god (who if is wearing a leather belt around his hips and invisible could be the 'circle') turning into a snake and sending them to hell, and doing the full circle, ie being compris mendi after all that fuking around : also an example of distorting reality as well as experiencing reality - circles are normally thought of in terms of radius and circumference - looking head on at a two dimensional circle, there is only one width that is equal two radii (unless one moves either the paper or one's eyeline), but at each stage of the rest of the circle there could be a measured width of another size as width is defined as distance or measurement from side to side and i'll peter out here ...




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