Song Of The Day 11/25/2013: David Bowie - "Valentine's Day"

Favorite Songs Of 2013: There are three, maybe four, songs from David Bowie's The Next Day that are scattered amongst my favorite songs of the year. Bowie hadn't really made a straight-up bad album since Never Let Me Down. But even given that his albums from 1997 and 2003 were much better than I originally gave them credit for, I didn't expect The Next Day would be both the rewarding sentimental journey and the frightening, sad and bellicose pulse-taking that it was. It made me feel triumphant about the music of my youth and its resurrection in the present day. I have these same warm fuzzies about Hall & Oates, but everyone's sick of my talking about Hall & Oates.

"Valentine's Day" might be a little ill-timed, since on the surface it's about someone planning a school shooting, but it's the furthest thing from exploitative. Rereading the lyrics, I'm now not sure who's the narrator. I always heard it as the would-be criminal, with "Valentine" being the undefined force that's guiding his thoughts and actions. Then I thought "Valentine" was the name the singer gave to the barrel of his gun ("It's in his tiny face/It's in his scrawny hand"). But now I see the possibility that the singer is a friend of the person planning the assault, whose name is Valentine. Ah well, if we wanted easy answers from our pop music, we wouldn't have listened to Bowie in the first place. We'd have stuck with John Denver and been done with it.

Post a Comment

Popular Recent Posts