As the World Falls Down

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"As the World Falls Down"
Song by David Bowie from the album Labyrinth
Released 1986
Recorded 1986
Length 4:51 (Album Version)
3:40 (Edit)
Label EMI
Writer David Bowie
Labyrinth track listing
Hallucination
(6)
"As the World Falls Down"
(7)
The Goblin Battle
(8)

"As the World Falls Down" is a song written by David Bowie in 1986 for the soundtrack of the film Labyrinth.

The song is the backdrop for an illusion which Jareth the Goblin King (Bowie) builds around Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) through the use of an enchanted peach. The illusion is of a masquerade ball inside a bubble. Sarah is the only character in this scene without a mask, though Jareth removes his mask earlier in the scene.

Interpretations[edit]

The scene coupled with the song has been interpreted many ways. Some believe that the illusion is an attempt by Jareth to win Sarah's love; others believe he is trying to seduce her to distract her from the 13-hour time limit she has to rescue her brother Toby.[citation needed] or the third choice that it could be a double intention, as in Jareth is trying to do both.

Yet another theory is that the crystal ball represents everything Sarah wants and what Jareth is promising her; endless parties, dancing, glamor, fame, attention from a King, beautiful friends and adoration from all. As the scene becomes more sinister and she sees things for what they really are, however, Sarah is overcome with the realization that the world of the crystal is superficial, frightening and bizarre and not what she wants after all. Jareth's professed love for Sarah may be, in fact, a trap to turn her into a goblin. It is with this realization that she smashes the crystal ball and returns to the world of the Labyrinth for Jareth's last attempt to divert Sarah from her goal of rescuing Toby before he is turned into a goblin.

Another theory is that Jareth represents adulthood. If Sarah goes with him and chooses to be with him she will be giving up her childhood.

Music video[edit]

A video for "As the World Falls Down" was mooted for a Christmas 1986 single release, with a 3:40 edit and a video made by Steve Barron. However, for reasons that are still largely unknown, the single release was canceled. The music video was later included on the second disc of the Best of Bowie compilation DVD.

The music video includes new footage mixed with clips from the film. It begins by showing an older Sarah (Charlotte Valandrey) relaxing in an office as a photocopier prints multiple images of Jareth's face. Meanwhile, Jareth is seen performing the track in an elegant room with Hoggle as his sole companion. A portrait of Sarah hangs on the wall. At one point the portrait crashes to the ground, prompting Jareth and Hoggle to look to the door as they falsely believe there is someone on the other side. The doorway is empty, and Jareth is seen staring ahead grimly upon realizing no one was there. Both Sarah and Jareth appear to want to go to the other, although neither of them are willing to take the first step.

Other releases[edit]

  • Released as a bonus track on the Virgin Records re-release of Tonight in 1995.
  • The video is included on the DVD version of Best of Bowie released 19 November 2002.

Cover versions[edit]

  • Ce Ce Zen – Spiders from Venus: Indie Women Artists and Female-Fronted Bands Cover David Bowie (2003)
  • Flutter – .2 Contamination: A Tribute to David Bowie (2006)
  • Girl in a Coma - "Adventures in Coverland, Vol. 2" [Vinyl] (2010)

External links[edit]