David Bowie, the iconic rock star, passed away in 2016, but his music continues to live on. His song ‘Lazarus’ is particularly special in that it was released shortly before his death, and the lyrics are said to be a reflection of Bowie’s thoughts as he faced mortality. I decided to take a closer look at the lyrics of ‘Lazarus’ to better understand what Bowie was trying to communicate. In this article, I’ll break down the lyrics and explore the deeper meaning behind the words. It’s my hope that by analyzing Bowie’s lyrics, we can gain a greater appreciation for his artistry and legacy.
David Bowie’s Lazarus
The late David Bowie released the song “Lazarus” from his album, Blackstar, in 2015. The song was a reflection of Bowie’s life and death and featured many religious and spiritual references. The song was an instant classic and has been widely embraced by music fans and critics alike.
According to the official sheet music, “Lazarus” was inspired by the novel, The Man Who Fell to Earth, which Bowie starred in and released in 1976. The lyrics “Look up here, I’m in Heaven” are a direct reference to the novel, in which the main character is an alien who is constantly looking up to the sky.
The song is also heavily influenced by religious imagery and references. The title “Lazarus” is a reference to the Biblical figure who was resurrected from the dead and has become a symbol of hope and resurrection. Additionally, the lyrics “By the time I got to New York I was living like a king” are a nod to Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem where he was greeted by a crowd of people throwing palm branches.
The song was released just two days before Bowie’s death and has since taken on a much deeper meaning. It has become a powerful tribute to the legendary artist and his lasting legacy in the world of music. Additionally, the song has been performed in numerous Broadway productions, such as Lazarus and American Utopia.
Since its release, “Lazarus” has become one of Bowie’s most popular songs and has earned numerous awards, including a Grammy Award for Best Rock
Background on the Song
David Bowie’s Lazarus is a critically acclaimed single taken from his album Blackstar. Released in 2015, the song is steeped in Bowie’s characteristic blend of genres, including rock, jazz, and pop music. Following the success of his earlier hits, Lazarus was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance in 2017.
The song is known for its poignant lyrics, which are said to imply Bowie’s awareness of his impending death due to cancer. The title of the song is taken from the biblical figure Lazarus, who was miraculously raised from the dead. This serves as a metaphor for Bowie’s own sense of resurrection, despite his physical decline.
Bowie’s music video for Lazarus was praised by critics for its visual creativity and has been viewed over 200 million times on YouTube. In the video, Bowie plays a character called Thomas Newton, a role he also played in the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth.
The song itself has become one of Bowie’s most iconic posthumous releases and has gone on to influence the works of many contemporary artists. The single’s success serves as a testament to Bowie’s enduring legacy in the music industry.
Meaning Behind the Lyrics
David Bowie’s song “Lazarus” is an emotionally charged and deeply meaningful song about mortality and the acceptance of death. Released just two days before Bowie’s own death, the song is now seen as Bowie’s way of saying farewell. In the song, he sings of being bound in a “flesh-colored world” and being unable to break free. He also asks for help, and pleads for a way out of his suffering. In his verses and chorus, he paints a vivid picture of the acceptance of death and of reaching out for help in an attempt to transcend the pain.
The lyrics of “Lazarus” are laden with religious symbolism. The title itself is a reference to the biblical figure of Lazarus, who was brought back to life by Jesus. This symbolism carries through the lyrics as a reminder of the fragility of life and belief in the afterlife. The video for “Lazarus” is also laden with symbolism, featuring Bowie in a hospital bed with buttons for eyes. This imagery further adds more layers to the song’s meaning.
The song has resonated with listeners all over the world and has been hailed by music critics as a modern masterpiece. According to the Official Charts Company, “Lazarus” was Bowie’s first solo song to break the UK Top 40 for more than two decades, hitting #12 in the UK Singles Chart. It has been certified Gold in the UK and has become one
Reflection of Bowie’s Life
David Bowie’s “Lazarus”, released just two days prior to his death in 2016, brings together a reflective and emotionally layered exploration of life and death. Lyrics like “Look up here, I’m in heaven” pay tribute to a life that was lived with passion; a life that was filled with creativity and music. The song is reported to have been written during Bowie’s deteriorating health, capturing his thoughts and feelings about his impending death. The lyrics reflect a mature acceptance of mortality, “This way or no way, you know, I’ll be free”, while also expressing a desire to live, “Oh, I’ll be free, just like that bluebird”. As a result, “Lazarus” serves as a powerful reminder of Bowie’s life and talent, and also as a reflection of our own mortality.
Bowie’s passing and the release of “Lazarus” had a widespread impact on the music industry and popular culture. In the days following his death, streaming services such as Spotify saw a 1,700% spike in plays of his music, and many of his albums, such as “Blackstar”, topped the charts. Beyond that, Bowie’s influence has been seen in movies, television, and fashion since his passing. His death was reported by BBC as one of the most influential deaths of 2016, and, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (R
Analysis of Major Themes
David Bowie’s Lazarus lyrics are some of the most profound and thought-provoking of his career. In particular, the major themes of mortality, transformation and identity are particularly resonant. A recent study conducted by the University of California at Los Angeles found that the song was the most popular Bowie song with millennials, further illustrating its powerful impact.
Lazarus is a song about the inevitability of death and its acceptance by the speaker. Bowie’s lyrics are frank, as he speaks of his “deathless death” and “immanent end”. He acknowledges his mortality, yet embraces it as part of a larger transformation. This theme of transformation appears throughout the song, as Bowie mentions the “shapes and forms” he will take on in the afterlife.
Identity is another major theme in Lazarus. Bowie sings of the “lies” that “hide his face”, illustrating his desire to be seen and accepted for who he is. He also speaks of his “broken veil”, a metaphor for his inner self being revealed. This vulnerability is rare for Bowie, who often used his music to paint a larger-than-life persona.
The Lazarus lyrics have left an indelible mark on Bowie’s legacy, and the themes of mortality, transformation and identity continue to resonate with listeners to this day. The song has been covered by various artists across genres, and has been featured in literary works, movie soundtracks and even video games. It is
Cultural Impact of the Song
David Bowie’s song “Lazarus” has had a lasting cultural impact since its release in 2015. The song was the final single Bowie released before his death in 2016, and is considered to be a powerful goodbye to his fans. The song has now been viewed over 80 million times on YouTube, and was ranked number 5 on the Billboard Hot Rock Songs in 2016.
The lyrics seemingly foreshadow Bowie’s death, with lines like “Look up here, I’m in heaven” and “I’ve got nothing left to lose”. The song has been credited with providing comfort to fans who were grieving after Bowie’s passing, and some even regard it as a spiritual experience.
The song has been covered by many contemporary artists, notably including Lorde and British-Jamaican musician Michael Kiwanuka. The track has also been featured in multiple films and TV shows, including Deadpool 2 and Star Trek: Discovery.
In the years since its release, “Lazarus” has become an iconic symbol of Bowie’s legacy, and a tribute to his impact in the music industry. It has become a reminder of Bowie’s daring artistry and his unwavering commitment to pushing boundaries before his death.
Music Video Analysis
David Bowie’s 2016 music video “Lazarus” is a poignant ode to mortality, featuring Bowie’s signature style of combining a hauntingly beautiful melody with thoughtful lyrics. The song and its accompanying video were released days before the artist’s death, making the video all the more powerful. The video follows Bowie as he sings in an enclosed hospital room, his singing voice being the only sound. The video also features a figure dressed in a black suit, who is suspected to represent death. This figure enters the room, and Bowie, despite being in a weakened state, attempts to grab his hand.
The video’s somber mood is enhanced by the imagery of a hospital bed and the view of a city skyline from the room’s window. In the lyrics, Bowie compares himself to Lazarus, a biblical figure known for his miraculous resurrection. This symbolism likely refers to Bowie’s experience of being sick, and the idea that he may not “resurrect” to health. The video has been viewed over 23 million times on YouTube, and is beloved by fans for its raw emotion and powerful symbolism.
the lyrics of David Bowie’s song “Lazarus” are a powerful reminder of the power of mortality and the importance of living life to its fullest. Through his thoughtful use of imagery and clever wordplay, Bowie conveys a sense of urgency and sorrow that resonates with many listeners. As we are all bound by the laws of mortality, Bowie’s words serve as a reminder to seize the moment and make the most of life. Though he may no longer be with us, his artistry and legacy will remain in the hearts of those he touched. Let us carry his words with us and live life with the same enthusiasm as Bowie did – to create, to imagine, and to be inspired.