David Bowie – My Top 100 Favorite Songs: 78

david bowie 78 time vinyl junkies vj niall colgan

I recently witnessed the biggest David Bowie fan I know count down his top 100 favorite songs. These were private posts, meant solely for his Facebook family and friends. Something really cool happened over those 100 days.

I’d like to share that countdown with you. Read along, embark upon Niall Colgan’s personal journey while he narrates some of the most intimate aspects of his life with his undying passion for the art of David Bowie. The vid below is a short intro, scroll directly beneath to read the countdown.

Number 78: Time

Taken From: Aladdin Sane (1973)

The sniper in the brain, regurgitating drain…

David’s clever use of lyrics is in full evidence here. Bowie places time as the central God, to which we exist in never ending servitude.Time cannot be escaped, no alternative exists. The existential nature of the song is treated with humor, despite the clear feelings of angst contained in the lyrics.

Alternately, is Bowie just referring to stage fright?  The implication seems to be there.Upon returning to the UK from his first American tour, David seemed changed by the experience. The lyrics to Time reveal some clues.

Time – He’s waiting in the wings
He speaks of senseless things
His script is you and me boys

Again, metaphor is used to reflect Bowie’s fear of death, through a character waiting to take the stage.

Time – He flexes like a whore
Falls wanking to the floor
His trick is you and me, boy’

We are all fucked, whores to its every whim.  Bowie reduces humanity (his?) to the role of something that’s tricked out and used.

Time – In quaaludes and red wine
Demanding Billy Dolls
And other friends of mine
Take your time

Here, Bowie references the overdose death of Billy Murcia from the New York Dolls, who he’d met and partied with during his visit to America. He references more friends who fell to the same fate, urging a slower pace.  While we can’t cheat death forever, David implores us not to run towards it.  Ultimately, this was advice he failed to heed for himself, as clearly documented by his subsequent move to America, the following year.

The sniper in the brain, regurgitating drain
Incestuous and vain, 
and many other last names
I look at my watch it says 9:25 and I think 
“Oh God I’m still alive”‘

Another reference to the fragile nature of mental health. It is the sniper within the brain, on a constant loop of thoughts which drain him of everything yet lead nowhere. While there is no proof of Bowie having personally suffered from schizophrenia, the repeated lyrical references point to a rather intense fear of losing control of his mind.  While expressing gratitude for still being around, 9:25 is a reference to a Chuck Berry song, “Reelin’ And Rockin'”.

Breaking up is hard but keeping dark is hateful
I’ve had so many dreams
I’ve had so many breakthroughs
But you my love were kind
But love has left you dreamless…

Themes of death, remorse, and mental health resurface.  These are lyrics which resonate quite deeply with me.  Breaking up often turns love to hate, the line between the two is often razor thin. Dreams and breakthroughs often turn sour, leaving pain and loss in its wake, which can further spiral us into a life which reveals no hope.

READ 100, 99, 9884, 83, 82, 81, 80, 79

Time – He’s waiting in the wings
He speaks of senseless things
His script is you and me boys
 
Time – He flexes like a whore
Falls wanking to the floor
His trick is you and me, boy
 
Time – In Quaaludes and red wine
Demanding Billy Dolls
And other friends of mine
Take your time
 
The sniper in the brain, regurgitating drain
Incestuous and vain,
and many other last names
I look at my watch it say 9:25 and I think
“Oh God I’m still alive”
 
We should be on by now [x2]
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la [repeat]
 
You – are not a victim
You – just scream with boredom
You – are not evicting time
 
Chimes – Goddamn, you’re looking old
You’ll freeze and catch a cold
‘Cause you’ve left your coat behind
Take your time
 
Breaking up is hard, but keeping dark is hateful
I had so many dreams,
I had so many breakthroughs
But you, my love, were kind, but love has left you
dreamless
The door to dreams was closed.
Your park was real dreamless
Perhaps you’re smiling now,
smiling through this darkness
But all I had to give was the guilt for dreaming
 
We should be on by now [x5]
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la [repeat]
 
Yeah, time!…….