Well, here I am, a day after posting my “final thoughts” on Adam Steiner’s book about Scary Monsters now posting a demo of “Because You’re Young,” from that album. More accurately, this song might have been called “Because I’m Young,” because that’s how the refrain goes, and its part of the collection of Scary Monster demos collectively known as Vampires of Human Flesh.
The lyrics here are significantly different from the final version. I mentioned yesterday that Scary Monsters doesn’t contain any songs directly about time, but this demo comes close. Bowie sings that he’s young and should be older. He sings that it takes— not exactly clear what it is, but it takes a million to years. Bowie might have just been plugging worlds into the music he already came up with, but something was on his mind.
You might notice he recycles a line— “look into my eyes, nobody home,” and exports it to the title song, “Scary Monsters,” as, “Her eyes were blue, but nobody home.” But the usage in this case is more personal— the narrator’s eyes reveal an empathy vessel, who could be happy dead or alive (late in the song, Bowie sings that people he knows could be happy if he were dead or alive). Whatever character was inhabiting Bowie at this stage of the song’s development was broken.
The song was clearly not finished. In parts, Bowie is simply singing “la-la-la.” He didn’t quite know what to say. He seems to have been playing with concepts on this song that found homes elsewhere (For instance, “Sam” in “Scream Like a Baby” might be the broken man narrating this version of “Because You’re Young”). I can’t say this version is better than the final— it’s clearly a work in progress — but it’s an interesting artifact.