Behind the Lyrics - David Bowie - "Let's Dance"



(Photo Credit - Janet Macoska)


Once again, I find myself seeking answers and solace in music. I am sure I am not alone. Since it was David Bowie's birthday on the 8th, I found myself listening to his music in depth. This is interesting because even just a few years ago, I didn't think I was a Bowie fan. ...I know, crazy. But, hear me out.

So, I am a big Lady Gaga fan. Say what you will, but I do like her music, or at least the majority of it. I feel like out of all the pop singers today, she is the most real, and she has quite a voice. I was watching a documentary on her, and she kept going back to David Bowie and how he was a role model for her. I shared this with my husband, and he said, "There is no way you don't like Bowie."


I shot him a look, and said, "Air control to Major Tom? Right?"

He nodded, adding, "And so much more." He began playing other songs, and I realized I had loved Bowie and never realized it, which is strange for me because I am so analytical when it comes to music.

Bowie had this way of just committing to music that he felt was real, and that is a message I can get behind, absolutely.

This week had so much falsehood and terror - I needed to go back to Bowie to be reminded that there are people out there fighting to push the story of truth. I many times wish I could be that courageous, and I try, I really do.

This "realness" is highlighted in the song "Let's Dance". Let's look at the lyrics.

Let's Dance - David Bowie

Let's dance

Put on your red shoes and dance the blues Let's dance To the song they're playin' on the radio Let's sway While color lights up your face Let's sway Sway through the crowd to an empty space

If you say run I'll run with you And if you say hide We'll hide Because my love for you Would break my heart in two If you should fall into my arms And tremble like a flower

Let's dance Let's dance For fear your grace should fall Let's dance For fear tonight is all Let's sway You could look into my eyes Let's sway Under the moonlight, this serious moonlight

And if you say run I'll run with you And if you say hide We'll hide Because my love for you Would break my heart in two If you should fall into my arms And tremble like a flower

Let's dance Put on your red shoes and dance the blues Let's sway Under the moonlight, this serious moonlight Let's dance Let's dance Let's dance, dance, dance

Now, I'm sure many of us have seen the music video, so I am sure it will not be surprise when I note the producer of the album Nile Rodgers said, ""When David wrote those lyrics, he was talking about the dance that people do in life; the conceptual dance of not being honest. He sings, 'put on your red shoes and dance the blues.' Like you're pretending to be happy but you're sad" (Mojo).

And ya know, when I thought about it, while the song definitely has a groove that makes you want to move, I would never say it is a "happy" song. There is just this tone to it of somberness, especially lines like "If you say run, I'll run with you." Even in the video, Bowie stands still, staring into the camera, almost screaming his words in that direction. Is that what our society has fallen to? That we must run to be our genuine selves? That we must scream to be heard?

Bowie was definitely onto something. Now, it is our turn musicians to carry the torch onward. To let humanity know, there is a place for you. Until next time.

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