Now that everyone is talking nice things about David Bowie, I have to say that I did not like him very much when I was young. I rediscovered him a few years ago with album The Next Day I ended up buying the vinyl, at a time when I no longer buy Compact Disc, It is something I reserve for those albums that exceed my expectations when listening on streaming.

After listening to Lazarus few days before his death, the news did not surprise me and verses of the song took on its full meaning.

Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now
Look up here, man, I’m in danger
I’ve got nothing left to lose
I’m so high it makes my brain whirl
Dropped my cell phone down below

This weekend, listening to the album Blackstar, I wanted to do my little tribute with this brief analysis of his lyrics.

The Data

I have developed a Python script that accesses AZLyrics, and, with it, I have compiled the lyrics of 254 songs and 25 albums:

album year
David Bowie 1967
Space Oddity 1969
The Man Who… 1970
Hunky Dory 1971
The Rise And Fall… 1972
Pin Ups 1973
Aladdin Sane 1973
Diamond Dogs 1974
Young Americans 1975
Station To Station 1976
“Heroes” 1977
Low 1977
Lodger 1979
Scary Monsters 1980
Let's Dance 1983
Tonight 1984
Never Let Me Down 1987
Black Tie White Noise 1993
Outside 1995
Earthling 1997
Hours… 1999
Heathen 2002
Reality 2003
The Next Day 2013
Blackstar 2016

What about his songs

This is the wordcloud of his entire career:

Amd this of the album Space Oddity:

Do you see Major Tom to Ground Control calling?

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

And this of his latest album Blackstar:

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)

Words through the years

I will now show some important words in their lyrics and their frequency over the years: god, love, time, star, live & die

God & Love

Check ignition and may God’s love be with you — Space Oddity

Time & Star

Time, he’s waiting in the wings
He speaks of senseless things
His script is you and me, boys
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
‘Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile

Die & Live

In the two last albums die appears more than before…

Here I am
Not quite dying
My body left to rot in a hollow tree
Its branches throwing shadows
On the gallows for me
And the next day
And the next
And another day
The next day


This chaos is killing me
This chaos is killing me
Yeah bye, bye love
Bye, bye love
Sweet, sweet love
Bye bye space boy
Bye, bye love
Moon dust will cover you
Moon dust will cover you
Moon dust will cover you
Moon dust will cover you
Moon dust will cover you
Hallo spaceboy


Document in R (rmarkdown) to reproduce this analysis can be found following this link