A near-perfect pop tune by the Pat Metheny group with vocals by David Bowie.

Snowman melting from the inside
Falcon spirals to the ground
So bloody red, tomorrow's clouds

A little piece of you,
the little piece in me will die
For this is not America

It was composed for the soundtrack to the spy/drug thriller movie The Falcon and the Snowman (1985) starring Timothy Hutton (Falcon) and Sean Penn (Snowman). "The true story of a disillusioned CIA employee and his drug pusher childhood friend who became walk-in spies for the Soviet Union".

The statement This is not America can be read in two ways:

1) You are not in the USA: American mores and attitudes may be inappropriate in other parts of the world. America is not (yet) the world, and Americans sometimes need reminding of this. This cuts both ways. For instance, many of us know more about the American legal system from TV and movies than about the laws that we live under.

The movie touches on USA'ian foreign policy in Central and South America (i.e. in America, but not in America), and some of the action occurs in these places.

2) This is not what America is about: What is "un-American"? What could be more representative of the USA to its southern neighbours than drugs, guns and money? Is it American or not American to turn against this?

The movie's plot of stolen documents being sold to the USSR for revenge and drug money are a blighted version of liberty and enterprise.

I loved it because of David Bowie's crooning and yodeling, the subtle melody, complex arrangement, super-smooth playing, slightly melancholic tone and the dry mock of the title line.

It is important to me for another reason. I was in my teens at the time, and a regular listener to the top 20 hit parade on Saturday afternoons. This song charted, but failed to get close to winning the Number 1 position, even though it was clearly better than the other songs on the chart. Thus began my musical sophistication.

For this could be the biggest sky
And I could have the faintest idea

Sources: song lyrics and imdb.

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