Week #17: Life on Mars?

Salutations readers, welcome to another songs post! This weeks (last weeks) song is “Life on Mars?” by singer David Bowie from his album Hunky Dory. This is my favorite David Bowie song which I again discovered on American Horror Story: Freakshow. This song is amazingly written and I absolutely love it because it tells a story from start to beginning. The song opens with a girl feeling isolated. She asks to the movies, “but her mummy is yelling, ‘No!’ And her daddy has told her to go.” In addition, when the girl gets to the cinema, “her friend is no where to be seen.” This paints a picture of the girl’s world. She is alone and isolated from the people, which can be seen even more so when Bowie sings, “to the seats with the clearest view, and she’s hooked to the silver screen.” The girl is alone in the movie theater which contains some symbolism. The theater symbolizes her world, since it is her only escape from her parent’s constant fights and her friends leaving her out. But, even the cinema is a bore to her, since she’s visited it so often to escape her problems. As the chorus starts, the movie begins. The picture contains scenes of violence such as, “the lawman beating up the wrong guy.” Because of these scenes, the girl wonders, “Is there life on Mars?” She seems to be bored and frightened of Earth, as there is so much violence and hate. She wants to escape to a world where she has no worries. The second verse contains my favorite line out of the whole song, “It’s on America’s tortured brow, that Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow.” In this line, Bowie is using satire. He is saying that Mickey Mouse isn’t just an icon anymore, he is used solely for making money. He can be seen all over merchandise in stores. He is so widely known, the image of him has become tainted since he is being manipulated into making cash. The song then continues, but in the perspective of Bowie as he criticizes the media. All in all, this song is about escaping problems that rise due to the corruption found in society. In the end, But the film is a saddening bore, because I wrote it ten times or more. It’s about to be writ again, as I ask you to focus on…” In this, he is saying that escape is impossible, and people will continue to encounter obstacles throughout life. I hope you enjoy listening to this oldie, “Life on Mars?”


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