David Bowie – My Top 100 Favorite Songs: 94

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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 94:  Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)

Scary Monsters was the first Bowie record I purchased; you can well imagine the impact that such an album sleeve would make on an 11 year old boy! I immediately took to learning the lyrics by heart as I stared at the album jacket; it’s a ritual I remember fondly and enjoy to this day.

Music journalist and Bowie author Chris O’ Leary describes title track as

“a corrupter corrupted: a contemporary Clarissa and Lovelace. A man plays havoc with a fragile girl, drumming up her insecurities, inciting her worst fears, making her dependent on him. She winds up broken, out on the street talking to herself and chased by demons, but by now he’s obsessed with her. Whatever depths she plummets, he’ll fall with her, hand in hand.”

O’ Leary’s take on “Scary Monsters” is both concise and powerful, but I’d like to put forth my belief that David was also singing about drugs and the occult.  It’s been strongly suggested that Bowie witnessed a a life changing incident, during his stay in America in the mid seventies. it’s a subject that I will return to often during this countdown as it remains an unsolved, significant piece of Bowie history.  While this life changing event has only ever been hinted at, it shook him so deeply I believe he left us clues in his songs.  Many songs in his catalog hint strongly at Bowie having experienced some form of drug induced psychosis which coincides with this period in his life. I wonder if we will ever find out?  Are clues all we have left to try and piece it together ourselves, or does anyone know the full story? In the case of “Scary Monsters”, is Bowie referring to an actual woman or the effect of a cocaine binge?

She had an horror of rooms she was tired you can’t hide beat
When I looked in her eyes they were blue but nobody home
She could’ve been a killer if she didn’t walk the way she do, and she do
She opened strange doors that we’d never close again

She began to wail jealousies scream

Bowie never overtly explained the meaning of his lyrics, but they paint a terrifying scenario. Who is she? David’s fascination with the occult, during that period of his life, has been well documented in various biographies. Did “she” appear to him during during some occult ceremony or was he just fucked out of his head on drink and drugs? The “strange doors” he refers to would never close again, but what happened exactly?  Does he deliberately sing “Scary Monsters” in his mockney London accent to throw us off the trail?

She began to wail jealousies scream waiting at the light know what I mean…

Was “she” present during this incident that so terrified him? Was “she” the actual spirit or is Bowie referring to someone present who served as a host, through which the spirit communicated?

She opened strange doors that WE’d never close again

While many attribute the meaning of these lyrics to David singing about a relationship gone sour, the darker sub context reveals something significantly more life altering for him. While Bowie isn’t telling us directly, he’s leaving hints.

She asked me to stay and I stole her room, she asked for my love and I gave her a dangerous mind

Did she attempt to take him deeper into this conjuring and how well did she succeed?  Did he come away with her experiences now forever bound to his own? Was she as obsessed with him as he became with her? WHO WAS SHE?

Now she’s stupid on the streets and she can’t socialise…

What became of her? Was David the cause for her having lost her mind and her home? Did he once love her and does he blame himself for her collapse? Yes. Yes he does. He’s been terrified into keeping this dark secret and has been running from it ever since.

I can personally relate to the terror which such an experience can inflict.  During the mid 90’s a bad acid trip had me utterly convinced that I’d brought Beelzebub into my home, so much so that I began speaking to him while my friends watched.  It was a raw experience which terrified everyone present; they worked furiously to bring me back to my senses. While it would be logical to attribute the entire experience to shitty acid,  I can still very clearly recall how real the entire experience felt. I suppose you can only arrive at theories about songs like “Scary Monsters” when you’ve personally lived these situations yourself. More about this, further in the countdown.

READ 100, 99, 98, 9796, 95


Scary Monsters

She had an horror of rooms she was tired you can’t hide beat
When I looked in her eyes they were blue but nobody home
She could’ve been a killer if she didn’t walk the way she do, and she do
She opened strange doors that we’d never close again
She began to wail jealousies scream
Waiting at the lights know what I mean
Scary monsters, super creeps
Keep me running, running scared
Scary monsters, super creeps
Keep me running, running scared
She asked me to stay and I stole her room
She asked for my love and I gave her a dangerous mind
Now she’s stupid in the street and she can’t socialise
Well I love the little girl and I’ll love her till the day she dies
She wails
Jimmy’s guitar sound jealousies scream
Waiting at the lights know what I mean
Scary monsters, super creeps
Keep me running, running scared
Scary monsters, super creeps
Keep me running, running scared
Scary monsters, super creeps
Keep me running, running scared
Scary monsters, super creeps
Keep me running, running scared
Oh oh woh-oh
Oh, oh-oh-oh oh
Oh oh oh, oh oh
Oh oh woh-oh
Oh, oh-oh-oh oh
Oh oh oh, oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh