One of the most criminally overlooked songs of all time is, in my opinion, one of Bowie’s finest. He doesn’t even remember recording this album, ‘Aladdin Sane’, which makes this song’s genius even more mystifying.
The lyrics seem to be arranged solely for alliteration, but soon a pattern emerges that let’s you into Bowie’s warped vision of time. Time is the subject of the song, and is referred to in the 3rd person throughout. Bowie is accusatory and relentless in his attack on anyone who thinks they can avoid this beast.
The piano plays a central role, and is the basis for the variations that gives the song it’s changes of pace and melodic flourishes. Mick Ronson’s guitar takes a back seat for the first half, rare for this stage in Bowie’s career, but at 2:23 he begins to show why his skills added so much to Bowie’s music.
At the same point in the song, Bowie battles back with a lyrical set that has NEVER failed to send a shiver down my spine, even as I sit here on the tube listening and writing this very passage of words. This closing salvo, coupled with the guitar line that grows with it, brings us to an emotional climax that Bowie probably doesn’t want to remember, even if he could.
“When all I have to give, is guilt for dreaming.”