... with a random Beatles reference. At least I think it's a Beatles reference. The lyric that David Bowie wrote for "Life on Mars?" is famously cryptic. As such, context doesn't help you determine whether he sings, "Lennon's on sale again" or "Lenin's on sale again." For the purposes of this post, we'll go with the former. And what a song "Life on Mars?" is. Anthemic, impassioned, and laced with obscurities ("Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow"), the Hunky Dory cut transports listeners to a far-off yet intimate place. As British pop critic Neil McCormick wrote when he declared "Life on Mars?" the greatest song of all time:
A quite gloriously strange anthem, where the combination of stirring, yearning melody and vivid, poetic imagery manage a trick very particular to the art of the song: to be at once completely impenetrable and yet resonant with personal meaning. You want to raise your voice and sing along, yet Bowie’s abstract cut-up lyrics force you to invest the song with something of yourself just to make sense of the experience. And, like all great songs, it's got a lovely tune.
"Life on Mars?":
(If the video is removed, go here.)