David Bowie Meaning

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Covers If one were asked to describe David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” with a single adjective, it is probable that – regardless of their specific musical tastes – they would do so with the word strange. This is so for two reasons: one, the style of the music is markedly different from much contemporary music, with interesting combinations of instrumentals and vocals (more on that in a moment); and two, the lyrics are quite cryptic, relating a strange and very incomplete tale whose meaning is not explained, and whose participants are not fully described. An analysis of the lyrics reveals that this is so. The narrator of the song speaks of encountering an apparent stranger in passing, whereupon the two speak of “was and when,” with the stranger saying that the narrator “was his friend” (Bowie). This “came as some surprise” to the narrator, who “wasn’t there” and who proceeds to speak into the stranger’s eyes, saying “I thought you died alone, a long, long time ago” (Bowie). To this…show more content…
In some cases Bowie’s voice is quite raspy: it is only a slight exaggeration to say that he sounds as if he is choking or in need of clearing his throat. At other points, especially during the chorus, it is stronger and clearer, if not perfectly so. At various junctures a strange sound can be heard in the background, a sound similar to that made by running the end of a drumstick across a washing board or stepping on a creaky, old wooden board (Bowie). The ending features deep but subdued vocals mingling together vigorously to produce a sort of operatic sound which endures for approximately the final minute and which creates a high and flying sense of excitement and expectation similar to that which is created by such energetic pieces as Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” (albeit with far less aesthetic beauty and
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