Life on Mars?
David Bowie Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

It's a God-awful small affair
To the girl with the mousy hair
But her mummy is yelling "No"
And her daddy has told her to go

But her friend is nowhere to be seen
Now she walks through her sunken dream
To the seat with the clearest view
And she's hooked to the silver screen

But the film is a saddening bore
For she's lived it ten times or more
She could spit in the eyes of fools
As they ask her to focus on

Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man! Look at those cavemen go
It's the freakiest show
Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man, wonder if he'll ever know
He's in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?

It's on America's tortured brow
That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
Now the workers have struck for fame
'Cause Lenin's on sale again
See the mice in their million hordes
From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads
Rule Britannia is out of bounds
To my mother, my dog, and clowns
But the film is a saddening bore
'Cause I wrote it ten times or more
It's about to be writ again
As I ask you to focus on

Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man! Look at those cavemen go
It's the freakiest show
Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man, wonder if he'll ever know




He's in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?

Overall Meaning

"Life on Mars" by David Bowie is a song that has a fascinating structure and storyline. The song begins with the description of a girl who is going through a turbulent phase in her life, where her parents are not supportive of her actions. Despite this, she chooses to watch the movie, drawn to the silver screen, as an escape from her reality. The lyrics suggest that the movie is not fulfilling her expectations, and she is disappointed. She has lived the movie ten times or more and knows that it is predictable, repetitive, yet she is nonetheless hooked on it.


The second verse introduces another character- a writer who thinks about the film that he has written ten times or more. The song then becomes self-reflexive, and the writer asks the listener to focus on the sailors fighting in the dance hall, cavemen, and the wrong guy being beaten up by the lawman. This part of the song seems to be juxtaposing current events with the visual culture of the mid-20th century. It goes on to mention Lenin, Mickey Mouse, and other historical figures. The song then culminates in the question of whether there is life on Mars, leaving the listener to ponder its meaning.


Line by Line Meaning

It's a God-awful small affair
Life can feel insignificant and overwhelming


To the girl with the mousy hair
The song's protagonist is an ordinary girl, not a glamorous heroine


But her mummy is yelling "No"
Her mother disapproves of her choices


And her daddy has told her to go
Her father believes she should leave and find a better life


But her friend is nowhere to be seen
She lacks support or companionship


Now she walks through her sunken dream
She's feeling hopeless and aimless


To the seat with the clearest view
She's trying to gain perspective on her life


And she's hooked to the silver screen
She's using movies to escape reality


But the film is a saddening bore
Even the fantasy world is disappointing and unfulfilling


For she's lived it ten times or more
She's stuck in a rut, unable to move on


She could spit in the eyes of fools
She's smart and articulate, and doesn't tolerate fools


As they ask her to focus on
People are demanding her attention or asking her to conform


Sailors fighting in the dance hall
The surreal imagery suggests chaos and confusion


Oh man! Look at those cavemen go
People can be primitive and barbaric, even in modern times


It's the freakiest show
The world can be strange and unsettling


Take a look at the lawman
Authority figures can abuse their power


Beating up the wrong guy
There is injustice in the world


Oh man, wonder if he'll ever know
It's uncertain whether the perpetrator will face accountability


He's in the best selling show
The spectacle of violence and sensationalism sells and fascinates


Is there life on Mars?
Is there a better, more fulfilling existence beyond Earth?


It's on America's tortured brow
America is plagued by its own societal problems


That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
Even beloved icons can become corrupted, commodified, or irrelevant


Now the workers have struck for fame
Regular people aspire to celebrity and material success


'Cause Lenin's on sale again
Even revolutionary ideals are marketed and consumed


See the mice in their million hordes
The masses can be mindless and unthinking in their consumption and conformity


From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads
This applies to both exotic and mundane locations


Rule Britannia is out of bounds
The song critiques nationalistic pride and imperialism


To my mother, my dog, and clowns
The artist disavows traditional symbols of loyalty, love, and happiness


But the film is a saddening bore
The song repeats this line to emphasize the artist's dissatisfaction


'Cause I wrote it ten times or more
The singer is self-aware and reflective, and perhaps implicates himself in society's problems


It's about to be writ again
The cycle of banality and disappointment will continue


As I ask you to focus on
The artist implores the listener to pay attention and question the status quo




Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Written by: David Bowie

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

@pedrorau6394

Fun Fact: You love this song.

@asaplucky6164

Fun Fact: That’s true .

@janeth4356

How did you know ???????

@abigailcruz1977

How did you frikin know?!

@nexus9803

Nope... I’ve never heard it before😅 but I found it after Ilon Musks flying to Mars Tesla soundtrack)))

@inkosi9260

nope, i have a music project about this.

458 More Replies...

@markzane8542

1971: 'Wow... this song is amazing!'
2022: 'Wow... this song is amazing!'
3143: 'Wow... this song is amazing!'

@alansmithee419

20123: "The hell's a song?"
"I dunno but this one's amazing!"

@markzane8542

@@alansmithee419 😃

@pearl9374

That’s if humanity still exists after global warming but Ik what u mean

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