Keywords: Bowie, music, realism, postmodernism, Sillitoe, Waterhouse


This article analyses David Bowie’s lyrics emphasizing their social commitment ad their concern for history’s dispossessed. It first focuses on some songs from the album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980) and then moves to later songs from the 1980s and 1990s; finally, it looks back on Bowie’s beginnings and the more narrative compositions of that period, where he was influenced by working-class writers such as Alan Sillitoe and Keith Waterhouse. This aspect of Bowie’s output is often neglected by scholars, unlike his iconic stature as a gender-bender and the postmodern, fragmentary quality of his lyrics revolving on inauthenticity. I here argue that his social commitment, far from clashing with his postmodern style, exemplifies how constructedness can work as an instrument of political criticism. With regard to this, the present article makes use of Maurizio Ferraris’s category of New Realism and its criticism of the reactionary parable followed by postmodern paradigms.

Author Biography

Pietro Deandrea, Università degli Studi di Torino
Dipartimento di Lingue e Letterature Straniere e Culture Moderne


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How to Cite
Deandrea, P. (2016). SECRET THINKER SOMETIMES LISTENING ALOUD: SOCIAL COMMITMENT IN DAVID BOWIE’S LYRICS. RiCOGNIZIONI. Rivista Di Lingue E Letterature Straniere E Culture Moderne, 3(5), 99-110.

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