Great Lyrics: ‘Quicksand’ by David Bowie

Hunky Dory Quicksand

To commemorate the passing of a true musical genius (and I use that word only for like 25% of all geniuses), here is a song that up until today I had no idea was a Bowie song. It’s called “Quicksand” and it’s just terrific. Like melancholic and sad and give-uppy, but also empowered. It’s an amazing song, really, and one, especially now that I know its genesis, that has spawned lots and lots of Gen-X feelings that really define a generation of people like myself who at heart are altruistic and hard-working, but also self-loathing. Get your Reality Bites out of my Breakfast Club! Of course, Bowie was in no way a Gen-Xer. He was square in the baby-boom generation, only a couple months younger than my mom. So when I heard J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. sing this song on the Whatever’s Cool With Me EP back in 1991, I was like “man, this guy — a guy who is still several years older than me, but was definitely of my generation attitude-wise — really gets it.” Turns out, not so much. It was instead the chameleon himself, David Bowie, who penned the original tune and the original lyrics on which the Dinosaur Jr. song was based. A guy who could change with the times and always remain as cool as he wanted to be no matter the decade. Of course there was that little dalliance into embarrassment in 1985 with Mick Jagger with that “Dancing in the Street” video (see way below), but every genius is allowed one fuck up — especially if it happened in 1984 or 1985. Otherwise, enjoy the tune and read the lyrics below. They’re very cool, just like him.

Lyrics: David Bowie Version

I’m closer to the Golden Dawn

Immersed in Crowley’s uniform
Of imagery
I’m living in a silent film
Portraying Himmler’s sacred realm
Of dream reality
I’m frightened by the total goal
Drawing to the ragged hole
And I ain’t got the power anymore
No, I ain’t got the power anymore

I’m the twisted name on Garbo’s eyes
Living proof of Churchill’s lies, I’m destiny
I’m torn between the light and dark
Where others see their targets, divine symmetry
Should I kiss the viper’s fang?
Or herald loud the death of Man
I’m sinking in the quicksand of my thought
And I ain’t got the power anymore

Don’t believe in yourself , don’t deceive with belief
Knowledge comes with death’s release
Aah-aah, aah-aah, aah-aah, aah-aah

I’m not a prophet or a stone-age man
Just a mortal with the potential of a superman
I’m living on
I’m tethered to the logic of Homo Sapien
Can’t take my eyes from the great salvation
Of bullshit faith
If I don’t explain what you ought to know
You can tell me all about it on the next Bardo
I’m sinking in the quicksand of my thought
And I ain’t got the power anymore

Don’t believe in yourself , don’t deceive with belief
Knowledge comes with death’s release
Aah-aah, aah-aah, aah-aah, aah-aah

Don’t believe in yourself , don’t deceive with belief
Knowledge comes with death’s release
Aah-aah, aah-aah, aah-aah, aah-aah

Lyrics: Dinosaur Jr. Version

I’m closer to the Golden Dawn
I can’t believe the wagon’s gone
It’s history
I’m living in a callous realm
Where others seem to dig it
Just too much reality
I’m frightened by the total goal
I’m drawing to the ragged hole
And I ain’t got the wagon anymore
No, I ain’t got the wagon anymore
I’m the twisted name on Uma’s eyes
I’m living proof of Cindy’s lies
Of destiny
I’m drawing between the light and dark
Where others see their targets
I can’t see anything
Should I leave the engine on
To listen to that mountain song
Sinking in the quicksand of my thoughts
And I ain’t got the wagon anymore

Don’t believe in yourself
Don’t deceive with belief
The knowledge comes with death’s release
Oh, oh, oh, oh

Not too stable
Hanging by a string
Can’t face the thoughts
No wheels will bring
I gotta go
It’s bad enough being at home
Without a way to leave the damage
Is gonna show
If I don’t explain
What you oughta know
You can tell me all about it
At the next ball show
I’m sinking in the quicksand of my thoughts
And I ain’t got the power anymore

Don’t believe in yourself
Don’t deceive with belief
The knowledge comes with death’s release
Oh, oh, oh, oh

Don’t believe in yourself
Don’t deceive with belief
The knowledge comes with death’s release
Oh, oh, oh, oh

Don’t believe in yourself
Don’t deceive with belief
The knowledge comes with death’s release
Oh, oh, oh, oh

 

 

 

 

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