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Day 354 | You Feel So Lonely You Could Die

Of all the Bowie songs about death, this is the only one I can think of in which the narrator apparently wishes the death of another.  Who?  That’s not clear, but whoever it is is a  sneak.  I have read that the song has an espionage theme.  Maybe that’s in there, but maybe it’s a cheating lover.  Maybe it is a drug addict stealing from friends and family.  The emphasis on loneliness belies the espionage theory.  In any case, the song’s narrator imagines horrible visions of the song’s subject- being shot on the street, hanging from a beam, moaning in the next room while slowly dying.  This is pretty horrible imagery, but the most devastating line is, “death alone shall love you.”  Shortly after that near-final line, Bowie inverts the repeated lyric that “you feel so lonely” and sings, “I feel so lonely.”  Who is he talking about? Is the whole song really about the narrator? Has the narrator been betrayed and now wishes death upon his personal Judas? There is least the remote possibility that this song is really about self-disappointment from a narrator who leads some sort of double life.  That could have an autobiographical kernel – at this point in his career, Bowie presented a warm, accessible public face but continued to write weird, disturbing songs like this that speak to some inner turmoil.  If that is the case, if he was thinking about himself while writing this song, he misread his situation.  From all accounts, Bowie died with his friends and family near.  In his later life, Bowie seems to have known personal love and appears to have loved in return.  Death alone does not love him.  The outpouring of public mourning that continues to this day and will reach a peak in less than two weeks speaks to anything other than loneliness.  Album: The Next Day

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