I don’t think much of “The Informer” as a song — it plods along for four and a half looong minutes, and the melody is so unmemorable that despite having listened to it about about 15 minutes ago, I cannot at this moment call it to mind. This video isn’t much either: “Random Bowie images thrown together in five minutes,” says the poster.
But there’s an intriguing suggestion hiding in the lyrics, which appear to be written from the point of view of an assassin. Chris O’Leary relates them to In Bruges, the 2008 black comedy that everyone but me seemed to love, though honestly I barely remember it. Maybe I ought to give it another shot.
Meanwhile Momus, the Scottish singer/songwriter who was a prolific commenter on COL’s Bowie blog, has this to say:
The song seems to be an assassin’s death sentence passed on someone who’s betrayed a generation, sold out their aspirations, gone for gold over soul.
And given that the last lines in the song are these:
And I still don’t know
What we were looking for
But it wasn’t you
No, it wasn’t you
I’m imagining a disillusioned U2 fan out to kill Bono. Maybe that Las Vegas residency was the last straw.
For the record, I don’t wish Bono dead. In fact as the years pass I find myself developing a sneaking fondness for the old bugger. Sure, he’s a clown. Jim Morrison was a clown. David Bowie was a clown at times.
Rock’n’roll needs its clowns. The clown is not afraid to be a fool, and this is an essential element of the genre. Fear is paralysis; foolishness is freedom.
But the idea of an assassin pursuing Bono all over Vegas, squeezing off rounds against a backdrop of pyramids, canals, and rollercoasters, is amusing me today. (It could be a movie where Bono pays himself — sort of a music-biz King of Comedy where Bono=Jerry Lewis.) And hopefully it amuses you too. That’s all I’m trying to do, really. I’m a clown too, or at least I aspire to be one.