Modern Love is a song written by David Bowie and included in their album Let’s Dance.

Lyrics

I know when to go out
And when to stay in
Get things done

I catch a paper boy
But things don’t really change
I’m standing in the wind
But I never wave bye-bye

But I try
I try

There’s no sign of life
It’s just the power to charm
I’m lying in the rain
But I never wave bye-bye

But I try
I try

Never gonna fall for
(Modern Love)
Walks beside me
(Modern Love)
Walks on by
(Modern Love)
Gets me to the Church on Time
(Church on Time)
Terrifies me
(Church on Time)
Makes me party
(Church on Time)
Puts my trust in God and Man
(God and Man)
No confessions
(God and Man)
No religion
(God and Man)
Don’t believe
In Modern Love

Modern Love – David Bowie – Meaning

All the albums talk about the relation of David Bowie with God. And this song continues in that direction.

I know when to go out
And when to stay in
Get things done

The intro, laying the concept that David is a man of the world that has knowledge of things and how to handles that things all by himself.

This words comes across as desperate, as if he’s trying to reassure himself that he has all this things under his control.

The line “I catch a paper boy”, is a statement about the will of David to being up to date.

Familiar with all the news and well anchored in the present.

He knows what the Moder Love is.

 

But things don’t really change
I’m standing in the wind
But I never wave bye-bye
But I try
I try

In life things don’t change so often.

Yes, we want to think about life like something fluid.

But the truth is that is hard to make big changes in our life.

The main way to obtain the results that we want, is by standing in the wind.

The winds are the obstacles that we encounter on our path.

And try and retrying is the way to make big and real changes.

 

There’s no sign of life
It’s just the power to charm
I’m lying in the rain
But I never wave bye-bye

Rain in songs is often used to symbolize the need and will to washing away something.

David here recognize that at the same time that he was washing away the love and belief from his past, he continued to lie to himself and to the world.

In the days of the writing of this song, he was trying to stop, or almost reduce the abuse of alcohol and cocain.

But the difficulties to do this were really big.

Here the line I never wave bye-bye, would be to say that he never lets go of his past.

Again is not easy to really make big changes.

 

Never gonna fall for
(Modern Love)
Walks beside me
(Modern Love)
Walks on by
(Modern Love)
Gets me to the Church on Time
(Church on Time)
Terrifies me
(Church on Time)
Makes me party
(Church on Time)
Puts my trust in God and Man
(God and Man)
No confessions
(God and Man)
No religion
(God and Man)
Don’t believe
In Modern Love

The emotional core of all the song is in the ambiguity between the modern and romantic love, and the love for God.

The sacred and the mundane type of love, here are staying side by side.

David Bowie, don’t trusts of all the two types.

Both are failures to his vision of love and life.

The need to be married leads to a misunderstanding about the real meaning of love.

In the same way the confession and the others things the the Church made, is not what he wants from religion.

David Bowie does not want to be bound.

By this kind of love, romantic, but often false and not genuine.

And he simply refuses to be bound by traditional, restrictive religion.

 

 

Conclusion

A great song that David Bowie plays often in his tour. Great the re-recording with Tina Turner made for a commercial video for Pepsi.

Leave a comment or a different vision of the meaning of this song if you want.

 

 

 

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