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פ.י.מ.פ.

Analyzing Bowie: Be My Wife

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'Be My Wife' begins with a barrelhouse piano that connects us to the R'n'B of the previous album, and we feel like we are back on more human grounds again. But it lasts for only a few seconds before the piano devolves into violent chords, and the patented Low sound of frenzied, paranoid electro-rock sets in. We are once again in the mood set by 'Speed of Life', and attacking another familiar theme in Bowie's work.

Sometimes you get so lonely
Sometimes you get nowhere
I've lived all over the world
I've left every place

We've heard this before. In 'Can You Hear Me', Bowie was already expressing his disenchantment and fatigue with the lifestyle of constant movement and change he once espoused. But while there it was in the soul settings of Young Americans and the overall mood was optimistic and believing that he can find salvation in a more stable relationship, here what we hear is mainly desolation.

Please be mine
Share my life
Stay with me
Be my wife

For the chorus, the pace is slowed down. In the context of the album that symbolizes optimism, getting away from the crisis and confusion of up-tempo tracks like 'Speed of Life' and 'Breaking Glass' towards the feel of fresh start we get from the mid-tempo 'Sound and Vision' and 'A New Career in a New Town'. The lyrics take us back to 'Stay', in which Bowie was trying to express his wish for a more serious and stable relationship but was unable to articulate it to his sexual partner. Here, finally, he finds the words. He no longer wants to be a Don Juan who hops from woman to woman. Now he wants marriage.

Bowie was married at the time, of course. But his marriage to Angie was more of a convenience marriage, and they've agreed to keep it open and date other people. Bowie, it seems, is no longer satisfied with this arrangement. Now he sounds like he's beginning to see the value of marriage in the traditional sense of the word - fidelity, sharing, building a home together – and sees this as the thing that will save him. Within a year David and Angie will break up for good, and perhaps this was partly the reason.

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