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Nick Irwin, Online Editor

I was never able to experience the brilliant phenomenon that was David Bowie. In addition to his heyday being far before my time, my first introduction to his music was the day before he passed away in early 2016. In all likelihood, I was probably listening to The Man Who Sold the World for the umpteenth time as he passed away. It wasn’t possible for me to experience any of his music, save for 2016’s Blackstar, in real time. Despite this, I’ve had a soft spot for everything related to David Bowie ever since. I still find myself listening to one of his songs every few days, but I’ve only just scratched the surface of all of Bowie’s music and live shows.

Heroes is the titular single from Bowie’s 11th album, Heroes, released in 1977The song consists of triumphant vocals backed by a mix of drums and synthesizers. Bowie combines synthesizers and oscillators with piano and bass guitar to create a unique and triumphant melody.

Bowie’s vocals begin with the protagonist speaking to his forbidden love. He claims that nothing can drive them away from each other, and they are heroes for being that way. However, the protagonist quickly realizes their lasting love is impossible. “Though nothing, will keep us together / We could steal time, just for one day” After the protagonist realizes that their love will eventually be driven apart, he begins to lament the complexities of human life, wishing they could instead be animals in love.

Though the lyrics come off as a cliche forbidden love story, Bowie actually tells the story of two lovers torn apart by the Berlin Wall. Bowie’s vocals become increasingly raw and emotional, eventually becoming a wail as he describes the two lovers being shot at by guards posted on the wall. The song was written in an apartment Bowie briefly stayed in while living in Berlin, though I personally believe that the song represents more than the divide between East and West Berlin. Bowie has been an openly bisexual man, and I believe the social stigma that existed (and continues to exist) regarding these types of relationships is represented in Heroes.

Overall, Heroes represents Bowie at his finest. The instrumentals are bouncy and triumphant, the vocals are beautifully tragic, and the story told is still significant and important to this day, whether you view the wall as literal or not.