not worried about it

words

ain’t that close to love?

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It’s funny what paying attention to the lyrics can do for you.  I had a religious experience on the 6 train today just from finally noticing that David Bowie isn’t singing, “I was the young American,” but, “I want the young American.”  This changes everything.

So there I am, eyes glazed over like a drunken hobo, realizing that a song I have listened to several dozen times over the past few weeks isn’t an aggressively catchy piece of American nostalgia but an aggressively catchy work of pointed cultural criticism.  And sweet Jesus, the lyrics: “He kissed her then and there/She took his ring, took his babies/It took him minutes, took her nowhere/Heaven knows she’d have taken anything,” “We live for just these twenty years/Do we have to die for the fifty more?”  “Well, well, well, would you carry a razor/In case, just in case of depression?”

And the last verse, which absolutely destroys:

“I got a suite and you got defeat
Ain’t there a man who can say no more?
And ain’t there a woman I can sock on the jaw?
And ain’t there a child I can hold without judging?
Ain’t there a pen that will write before they die?
Ain’t you proud that you’ve still got faces?
Ain’t there one damn song that can make me break down and cry?

To answer Bowie’s question: probably not, but this one comes damn close.

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Written by Tim

May 5, 2009 at 2:52 am

Posted in Music

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