Space Oddity

Known for his flamboyant outfits and evolution of style, David Bowie’s death drew tributes from all over the world. As a solo singer, he sold over 140 million records and was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While I didn’t take much time to listen to his songs, one of his songs stood out to me.

“Space Oddity”

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills
and put your helmet on

Ground Control to Major Tom
Commencing countdown,
engines on
Check ignition
and may God’s love be with you

[spoken]
Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Liftoff

This is Ground Control
to Major Tom
You’ve really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the capsule
if you dare

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating
in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

Though I’m past
one hundred thousand miles
I’m feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much
she knows

Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit’s dead,
there’s something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you….

Here am I floating
round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do.

First off, the headphones I have do weird things to this song. I hear mainly vocals and the guitar in the right earphone, while the left has the percussion. I don’t know if the song is intentionally like this but I’m too lazy to grab another set of earphones.

I actually don’t like Bowie’s vocals that much, they’re a bit too gravelly at the beginning for my taste. However, I appreciate the lyrics. While many think this song is about the moon landing in 1969, it was inspired by the movie “2001: Space Odyssey”. The lyrics tell the story of a fictional character, Major Tom, who blasts off to space and becomes lost after losing contact with ground control. The song centers around a loss of control and isolation, Major Tom relinquishing control when he steps out of the “tin can”. From then on, he’s isolated from the rest of the whole since he can longer communicate with ground control. This also mirrors the isolation that Bowie felt at this moment in his life since his evolving costumes often labeled him as odd or peculiar. Although that particular trait would make him stand out from the other musicians, it also kept him isolated.

Fun fact: Bowie was a regular drug user when this song was written, so who knows what the real meaning is.

 

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2 thoughts on “Space Oddity

  1. ES says:

    So there’s a lot of talk about this song being about Bowie’s feeling of isolation from society because of his fame, his fellow artists because of his eccentric style, or pretty much everything because of his drug use, but after some later reflection, I don’t think any of these explanations are entirely valid, assuming Major Tom is an image of Bowie himself, which he has himself affirmed. This was Bowie’s “breakout” song, so to speak, so at the time of writing he was neither famous nor had he established that *unique* image we so often associate with him (ie weird clothes, weird hair, etc.). These aspects of Bowie along with the really heavy drug use didn’t actually show up until “Rise and Fall”… so unfortunately, I’m left even more baffled about this song than I was to start. :/

    Like

  2. Pingback: Comments. | The name of this blog is blowing in the wind.

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