“If I’m Dreaming My Life” has all the earmarks of an album closer: It’s long, it’s grandiose, it builds to a crescendo with an ambiguous sense of finality. But on the hours… CD it is the 4th of 10 tracks and gets a little lost. When the album was finally released on vinyl in 2015, “IIDML” was the last song on the A side, which makes a little more sense.
In fact, now that I think about it, the whole album makes more sense on vinyl. The CD always felt too long, even though at 47 minutes it was hardly one of the longer discs of the era. Two shorter chunks seem more manageable, and ending the A side with “If I’m Dreaming…” and the B side with “The Dreamers” is nicely symmetrical.
The estimable Chris O’Leary says that “If I’m Dreaming My Life” “seems half-finished at times,” and that’s true in more ways than one. It asks a question that it never answers: “If I’m dreaming my life away…” Well, then what, Dave? He never says; you have to decide for yourself. My answer would be “Well, so what if I am? So’s everybody.”
In its vagueness “If I’m Dreaming My Life” fairly cries out for some visual component. One can easily imagine it accompanying another weird-ass domestic video along the lines of “Thursday’s Child” and “Survive.” Or I think it could be used very effectively used in a movie or TV show, but it hasn’t, as far as I know; the only thing I could find is this “lyrics video with AI generated images,” which is… a mixed bag, to say the least.
Parts of it I found charming, parts annoying. When I asked Friend of the Blog Knox Bronson for some help in forming a definitive opinion, his response was “How many synonyms for ‘stupid’ do you know?” I respect that sort of clarity but I’m still not really sure what I think and I’m trying to keep my mind open; there is a lot more of this stuff coming down the pike, and we’re all gonna have to get used to it.
My guess is that Bowie himself would have jumped into AI with both feet. I can easily imagine him creating a Bowiebot that wrote a zillion songs in his style, then claiming the ones he liked. It’s the logical extension of the “Verbasizer” he used to generate lyrics.
There will be more to say on this and related topics, but that seems like a good length for this post. Over and out till next time.