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BowieTalk
   >> Interpretation
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guiltpuppy
(stardust savant)
04/03/08 08:14 PM
1984  

For my 1984th post, I thought I would do an interpretation of the song with the same title.

It's my opinion that this song is based on the classic George Orwell novel, Animal Farm. See these lyrics for reference:

Someday they won't let you, so now you must agree

I think this song occurs in the context shortly after the revolution. It's a foreshadowing to the way that the pigs in the novel will one day control opinion - the line "so now you must" is meant to ironically indicate that they already do, because the other animals (like horses and ducks) are too sheepish to form their own opinions. Keep in mind that during this period Bowie was completely in support of fascism so this is probably intended to be a good thing (which explains the upbeat and happy music.)

The times they are a-telling, and the changing isn't free

Revolution always has a cost! I can't remember what the cost was in the book though, I think the animals ate a man.

You've read it in the tea leaves, and the tracks are on TV

This is a reference to the prognosticating monkey Ivan from a rare early edition of Animal Farm, who foretold the revolution by reading tea leaves and watching television. This was removed from the final version of the book because it did not make sense for a monkey to be on a farm (and television didn't exist yet anyway), but Bowie stumbled across one of these expensive and rare editions and thought it was the regular one (he was so coked-up and wealthy that he didn't even notice)

Beware the savage jaw
Of 1984


This is a reference to the dogs that the pigs and monkeys used to assert control over the other animals (horses and ducks). The dogs had very scary jaws. The year 1984 was a reference to the five-year plan (the book was set in 1979 - Five Years from this song's 1974 release date, also referenced by the Hunky Dory outtake of the same name). Basically it means that "hey, if you guys don't get all this work done by 1984, the dogs are going to bite you! I mean it!"

They'll split your pretty cranium, and fill it full of air

This is meant metaphorically. The ruling class of animals (pigs I think) are using propaganda to (metaphorically) empty the minds ("fill [your cranium] with air") of the other animals (horses and ducks mainly).

And tell that you're eighty, but brother, you won't care

I have no idea what this line means.

You'll be shooting up on anything, tomorrow's never there

Late in the book the pigs begin administering the drug soma (an opiate) to their subordinates in order to keep them all peaced out and easily controlled. "Tomorrow's never there" refers to how you don't even care about tomorrow when you're on a drug like that, you're just like whatever. (While Bowie himself only used more positive drugs like cocaine and supermeth, which made you think a lot about the future, it makes sense that he would advocate the use of the opposite class of drugs among the lesser peoples of the world.)

Beware the savage jaw
Of 1984


This is a reference to the dogs that the pigs and monkeys used to assert control over the other animals (horses and ducks). The dogs had very scary jaws. The year 1984 was a reference to the five-year plan (the book was set in 1979 - Five Years from this song's 1974 release date, also referenced by the Hunky Dory outtake of the same name). Basically it means that "hey, if you guys don't get all this work done by 1984, the dogs are going to bite you! I mean it!"


CHORUS
Come see, come see, remember me?
We played out an all night movie role


Bowie found something very cinematic about fascism. The masses (actors) played out the parts scripted for them by the ruling class (directors/writers/producers), and if everybody played their part correctly society began this wonderful spectacle they could all appreciate (the film). This is also correlated by Animal Farm, which was later made into a movie (but starring people).

You said it would last, but I guess we enrolled
In 1984 (who could ask for more)
1984 (who could ask for mor-or-or-or-ore)
(Mor-or-or-or-ore)


In an individualist society, everyone is always clawing over each other trying to get "more." But in a fascist society, only the people in power worry about that, and all the other animals (horses and ducks) are too drugged up to care, and are like "more? who wants that? I don't even know what more means because I'm a fucking horse on smack."

I'm looking for a vehicle, I'm looking for a ride
I'm looking for a party, I'm looking for a side
I'm looking for the treason that I knew in '65


Filler lyrics.

Beware the savage jaw
Of 1984


This is a reference to the dogs that the pigs and monkeys used to assert control over the other animals (horses and ducks). The dogs had very scary jaws. The year 1984 was a reference to the five-year plan (the book was set in 1979 - Five Years from this song's 1974 release date, also referenced by the Hunky Dory outtake of the same name). Basically it means that "hey, if you guys don't get all this work done by 1984, the dogs are going to bite you! I mean it!"



TW's Top Fag!

Shelle
(stardust savant)
04/03/08 10:01 PM
Nun teen ate a foe new [re: guiltpuppy]  

Ooo, look who is trying to impress, my fave fuck receptacle.

Personally, I prefer posts where you talk about masturbating in front of the mirror, but that's prolly just me.

shelle, you're my only friend in the world Too Dizzy

guiltpuppy
(stardust savant)
04/04/08 03:43 AM
Re: Nun teen ate a foe new [re: Shelle]  

I love you.

TW's Top Fag!

to_dizzy
(cracked actor)
04/05/08 10:53 AM
Re: Nun teen ate a foe new [re: guiltpuppy]  

I love the beginning of this song. The funky rhythm reminds me of the paranoia drenched top 40 of songs of the very early seventies like "Smiling Faces" and "The Backstabbers."

One of the themes of Diamond Dogs is that rock and roll is leading to extreme decadence and is harming society. In addition to the climactic line in Future Legend, Bowie sings: "People will hold us to blame" in the song We Are The Dead.

In 1984 Bowie continues this theme: "The times they are a-telling and the changing isn't free."

In 1984 Bowie is singing of a future where rock stars are tortured, tried, and held responsible for ruining a culture. They are so filled with fear that they are "shooting up on anything" and "Lord I'd take an overdose if you knew what's going down."





to_dizzy
(cracked actor)
04/05/08 12:34 PM
Re: Nun teen ate a foe new [re: to_dizzy]  

What, no one has anything to say? Cat got your tongue? Why is there silence from the peanut gallery?

During the time of the song 1984, John Lennon was hounded and tormented by the Nixon Administration who at this time has admitted they were trying to drive him in fear out of the country.



Edited by to_dizzy on 04/05/08 12:35 PM (server time).



to_dizzy
(cracked actor)
04/05/08 12:39 PM
Re: Nun teen ate a foe new [re: to_dizzy]  

It was during this time that Bowie appeared in photos, handcuffed, nude, and draped in an American flag.

In the song Dodo, Bowie sings, "Can't you wipe your nose my child/ without them sliding in your file a photograph?

In 1984, when Bowie sings "Beware," truly he is singing of a time when rock stars are hounded, tried, pursued, tortured, and arrested.

Indeed not long after this, Keith Richards was writhing in anguish, withdrawing from heroin after a mysterious informant turned him in for possession.



to_dizzy
(cracked actor)
04/07/08 10:01 AM
Re: Nun teen ate a foe new [re: to_dizzy]  

I own this thread. I'm king of the hill.



Shelle
(stardust savant)
04/12/08 06:16 PM
Just like the films new [re: guiltpuppy]  

In reply to:

I love you.



Tongues back atcha, pups.

Tell me this though, does your love for me fly over mountains and laugh at the ocean just like the films? Cuz I think mine for you does, first class.


shelle, you're my only friend in the world Too Dizzy

Shelle
(stardust savant)
04/12/08 06:20 PM
Re: Nun teen ate a foe new [re: to_dizzy]  

In reply to:

I'm king of the hill.



So be it.

Tell me this diz. I know you're a religious being. Are you a member of the one true church, the Catholic church? Or one of those other heretic sects that are going straight to Hell?

shelle, you're my only friend in the world Too Dizzy

to_dizzy
(cracked actor)
04/14/08 04:28 PM
Re: Nun teen ate a foe new [re: Shelle]  

In reply to:

Tell me this diz. I know you're a religious being. Are you a member of the one true church, the Catholic church? Or one of those other heretic sects that are going straight to Hell?


No, I'm not a Catholic. Think back to a time in the first century, before denominations, when followers of Christ simply became "Christians."

That's what I'm proud to be.

Now let's get back to this thread, before "shelle" (power2charm) hijacked this thought. Does anyone know the Stones' song, Fingerprint File?" That song, also from 1974, also captures the mood of Bowie's 1984.



Shelle
(stardust savant)
04/15/08 11:46 AM
We have sullied pup's great thread beyond repair! new [re: to_dizzy]  

In reply to:

Think back to a time in the first century


Wow. Knew you were behind the times, but a full 2000 years? Hardcore!

You're still going to Hell though. The Bible is quite explicit on this point.

shelle, you're my only friend in the world Too Dizzy

dymondog
(mortal with potential)
05/01/10 02:15 AM
Re: 1984 new [re: guiltpuppy]  

Okay, is this a joke, or is everyone just too nice to mention that '1984' is the name of a novel by George and that Bowie had planned to perform a musical version of the book '1984' back 73', but was prevented from doing so by Orwell's wife who would not give permission.

The album after that was Diamond Dogs which had several cuts clearly taken from the proposed musical. Needless to say one of them was 1984.




schizophrenic
(acolyte)
05/01/10 12:13 PM
Re: 1984 new [re: dymondog]  

It's a joke. And you ruined it. Forever.




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