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There’s a Starman….

If your response to the title was to say “waiting in the sky.” You are the target audience for this blog post. And even if you didn’t say that, you are still the target of this blog. Starman by David Bowie is one of my all time favorite songs. This song is probably the only reason David Bowie appeared at number five on my Spotify wrapped this year. I mean don’t get me wrong, I like Bowie, I just can’t think of any other songs of his I listened to that much this year.

Since we’ve already established my obsession with Lady Gaga, it makes sense I like David Bowie as well. Gaga’s love and adoration for Bowie is well known, even having the infamous cover of Aladdin Sane tattooed on her rib cage. While my devotion to Bowie is definitely not on the same level as Gaga, I still feel like Starman is an underrated masterpiece, and that’s what I’m here to talk about today.

As per most Bowie songs, Starman is littered with intergalactic references and vibes. The chorus of the song goes like this.

“There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
‘Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
He told me
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie.”

At first glance, the song is just about an alien who is curious about Earth, but fears what would happen if he did. While that is definitely a possibility, I don’t think that is exactly the case. I think this “alien” is someone Bowie fans are already well acquainted with. I think the alien Bowie mentions is our good old friend Major Tom.

While Ashes to Ashes is the only confirmed follow up to Major Tom’s adventures, that doesn’t mean we never hear from the lonely cadet ever again. Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) is the album where Ashes to Ashes appears, the album where we learn Major Tom fakes his death to live among the stars. Starman however, is on Bowie’s famous 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars which predates Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) by eight years. If we assume that Bowie’s songs take place at the same time they are released, Major Tom has been officially “dead” for three years. Word of his miraculous survival has not yet reached Earth. Through the rest of the song we learn that Bowie is getting weird messages on the phone and even trying to pick up this mysterious signal on the TV.

While it’s possible this is an alien trying to communicate with Earth, think about it. Is it more likely that this is an extra terrestrial communication or that Major Tom wants to communicate back with Earth? Major Tom would already have the knowledge and capabilities to communicate with his home planet, for aliens this would be a lot more difficult. Also what would aliens gain by playing “hazy cosmic jive” on the radio? Also the voice on the radio says “Lotta soul” and of all messages an alien could send to Earth, why that one? Wouldn’t they just try to get a message about their existence or try to explain who they are? Also if these aliens have not yet made contact with Earth how are they speaking in a language Bowie can understand?

Also the message of being afraid to “blow our mind” would make more sense if coming from Major Tom. Major Tom has been surviving in outer space for three years, so he would realize the chaos word of his survival would chaos us Earthlings.

The real meaning of this song we will never know since Bowie tragically passed away in 2016. And so to Bowie, wherever you are, I hope now you can finally visit the stars with Major Tom.


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