Dollar Days – Unraveling the Enigma of Alienation and Desire


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for David Bowie's Dollar Days at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. I’m Dying to: The Eternal Struggle with Mortality
  5. The Lure of the English Evergreens: Nostalgia and The Unattainable
  6. Survival Sex and Stretching Tails to Necks: The Power Plays
  7. We Bitches Tear Our Magazines: The Hidden Meaning
  8. The Memorable Lines that Echo the Soul’s Cry

Lyrics

Cash girls suffer me
I’ve got no enemies
I’m walking down
It’s nothing to me
It’s nothing to see
If I’ll never see the English evergreens
I’m running to
It’s nothing to me
It’s nothing to see

I’m dying to
Push their backs against the grain
And fool them all again and again
I’m trying to
We bitches tear our magazines
Those oligarchs with foaming mouths phone now and then
Don’t believe for just one second I’m forgetting you
I’m trying to
I’m dying to

Dollar days, survival sex
Honor stretching tails to necks
I’m falling down
It’s nothing to me
It’s nothing to see
If I’ll never see the English evergreens
I’m running to
It’s nothing to me
It’s nothing to see

I’m dying to
Push their backs against the grain
And fool them all again and again
I’m trying to
It’s all gone wrong but on and on
The bitter nerve ends never end
I’m falling down
Don’t believe for just one second I’m forgetting you
I’m trying to
I’m dying to

I’m trying to
I’m dying to
I’m trying to
I’m dying to
I’m trying to
I’m dying to
I’m trying to
I’m dying to

Full Lyrics

In the lexicon of pop culture, David Bowie stands as an enigmatic figure whose music carved out new spaces for artistic expression. Amongst his chameleonic phases and musical explorations, the song ‘Dollar Days’ from his final album, ‘★’ (pronounced Blackstar), remains one of his most mystifying and poignant offerings. Released just days before his untimely departure from this world, the song is a reflection of mortality, legacy, and the human condition.

While many have pondered the ruminations and motifs Bowie imparts in this dream-like melody, the riddle of ‘Dollar Days’ is not one to be solved — it is to be experienced. The song teeters between Bowie’s complex personal reflections and broader societal commentaries, exploring themes of longing, disillusionment, and the ceaseless pursuit of something beyond reach.

I’m Dying to: The Eternal Struggle with Mortality

The repetition of ‘I’m dying to’ juxtaposed with ‘I’m trying to’ acts as a powerful motif throughout ‘Dollar Days.’ It speaks to a twofold interpretation: it is both the literal acknowledgment of Bowie’s awareness of his failing health and a metaphorical nod to the ceaseless human effort to achieve, to strive against the norms. Bowie is aware that time is fleeting, and there is an urgency in his voice that conveys a desire to leave an indelible mark.

The gravity of mortality is woven seamlessly with the artist’s creative process, making the song not just an exploration of end-of-life thoughts but also a commentary on the eternal artist’s urge to create, to change, to push ‘their backs against the grain.’

The Lure of the English Evergreens: Nostalgia and The Unattainable

Throughout ‘Dollar Days,’ the English evergreens — a symbolic representation of Bowie’s homeland — stand as silent witnesses to the passage of time and the change it brings. The refrain ‘It’s nothing to see’ might resonate with a sense of indifference; however, it’s more likely a defense mechanism, an attempt to downplay the nostalgic ache for the familiar and the safe. The ‘English evergreens’ evoke not just a physical space but also a phase of life and identification that Bowie recognizes he may never return to.

This recurring theme is a poignant reminder of the elusive search for the past and perhaps the serenity and innocence lost – a staple of human experience that Bowie encapsulates in his haunting melodies.

Survival Sex and Stretching Tails to Necks: The Power Plays

In ‘Dollar Days,’ Bowie confronts the listener with the raw imagery of ‘survival sex,’ unflinchingly portraying the depth of desperation and the imbalance of power in society. These lyrics reflect the often-harsh realities that individuals face as they struggle to maintain dignity amidst degradation. Bowie challenges us to consider the commodification of human life in a world that seems driven by finance and superficiality.

Meanwhile, the surreal ‘honor stretching tails to necks’ could be Bowie’s way of depicting how mankind contorts itself in reach of honor or status, again grappling with societal expectations and norms in a delicate dance of defiance and submission.

We Bitches Tear Our Magazines: The Hidden Meaning

Perhaps one of the most vivid lines spoken with an air of dismissiveness, ‘We bitches tear our magazines,’ speaks volumes about the state of the modern individual. It is a seemingly straightforward expression of frustration and rebellion against the establishment, media, and trivialities that bombard everyday life. However, it subtly hints at a deeper disillusionment, a weariness with the system and the false promises it peddles through glossy pages.

In this cryptic declaration, Bowie positions himself and the listener as fellow victims and perpetrators in a consumerist culture, implicating everyone in the destructive cycle while simultaneously challenging it.

The Memorable Lines that Echo the Soul’s Cry

Although ‘Don’t believe for just one second I’m forgetting you,’ may resonate as a personal message to loved ones, it also communicates with the audience, extending the bond between artist and listener beyond the confines of mortality. It’s a reassurance and a testament to the eternal impact of Bowie’s work on his fans. Such lines transcend the personal, standing as a universal cry for connection and remembrance.

In its melancholic beauty, ‘Dollar Days’ serves as a reminder that Bowie, while fully aware of his imminent mortality, was equally focused on the enduring nature of his art. It’s this complex layering of meanings and emotions that renders the song both heartbreaking and deeply affecting.

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