Soul Love – Unraveling the Psychedelic Tapestry of Love


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for David Bowie's Soul Love at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. Stone Love: Mourning and the Slogans of Sacrifice
  5. New Love Awakens: The Innocence and Intensity of First Romance
  6. Idiot Love and the Fusion of Folly
  7. Loneliness in the Divine: The Paradoxical Priest
  8. Unveiling the Hidden Heart: ‘And love is not loving’

Lyrics

Stone love, she kneels before the grave
A brave son, who gave his life
To save the slogans
That hovers between the headstone and her eyes
For they penetrate her grieving

New love, a boy and girl are talking
New words, that only they can share in
New words, a love so strong it tears their hearts
To sleep through the fleeting hours of morning

Love is careless in its choosing
Sweeping over cross and baby
Love descends on those defenseless
Idiot love will spark the fusion
Inspirations have I none
Just to touch the flaming dove
All I have is my love of love
And love is not loving

Soul love, the priest that tastes the word and
Told of love, and how my God on high is
All love, though reaching up my loneliness evolves
By the blindness that surrounds him

Love is careless in its choosing
Sweeping over cross and baby
Love descends on those defenseless
Idiot love will spark the fusion
Inspirations have I none
Just to touch the flaming dove
All I have is my love of love
And love is not loving

Full Lyrics

When David Bowie released ‘Soul Love’ as part of his seminal 1972 album ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,’ he invited listeners on a journey through the multifaceted landscape of love. Layered with Bowie’s iconic, gender-bending persona and interstellar mystique, the song became a cornerstone of the glam rock movement, beckoning audiences to explore the universal yet enigmatic experience of love.

The track’s intricate lyricism and lush instrumentation form a sonic collage that both intrigues and confounds, inspiring various interpretations. Yet, to distill its essence is to dive into a deeply personal Bowie narrative, one that challenges conventions and underscores the poignancy, pain, and sheer unpredictability of love’s many forms.

Stone Love: Mourning and the Slogans of Sacrifice

Bowie paints a vivid picture of affection with his opening verse, contrasting the eternal nature of stone with the ephemeral human experience. The kneeling figure before a grave serves as a stark embodiment of love’s capacity for mourning and reverence. This act of visitation is fraught with the weight of societal ‘slogans,’ a possible nod to the empty platitudes often offered in the face of grief.

The intimacy between the mourner and the deceased is palpable, as Bowie intentionally blurs the lines between earthly love and the divine, suggesting a complex relationship where spirituality and love are inseparable in the act of remembrance.

New Love Awakens: The Innocence and Intensity of First Romance

Transitioning from the grief-stricken stone love, Bowie introduces us to the blossoming of new love. Here, the focus is on the unique language shared by young lovers, a dialect understood only by the hearts entwined in it. Through these ‘new words,’ Bowie captures the raw, unfiltered hope that ignites with the dawn of affection.

Yet, despite the sweetness, there is an undercurrent of something fleeting, as if this love, so vibrant and consuming, also bears the seeds of its own demise, sleeping through the ‘fleeting hours of morning.’

Idiot Love and the Fusion of Folly

In Bowie’s universe, love is not just blind but downright ‘careless in its choosing,’ a natural force that ‘sweeps over cross and baby,’ sparing none from its intense grasp. His notion of ‘idiot love,’ possessing the power to spark fusion, points to the irrationality that often accompanies intense romantic endeavors, possibly leading to unexpected consequences and creations.

Bowie’s recognition of his own lack of inspiration, save for the desire to touch the ‘flaming dove,’ signifies a quest for purity amid the chaos – an innate drive for a connection unmarred by love’s inherent complexities and contradictions.

Loneliness in the Divine: The Paradoxical Priest

Diving deeper into the spiritual aspects of love, Bowie introduces a priest, an intermediary between the divine and the mundane, who ‘tastes the word’ of love. Ironically, this priestly figure is encompassed by ‘loneliness,’ a jarring juxtaposition that grapples with the notion of spiritual love falling short in the face of human isolation.

As love is declared to emanate from God ‘on high,’ Bowie’s priest becomes an enigmatic symbol of the blindness inherent in human comprehension of love, spirituality, and the divine – a love that is perpetually sought after yet never fully grasped.

Unveiling the Hidden Heart: ‘And love is not loving’

The song’s recurring whisper, ‘And love is not loving,’ serves as perhaps the most perplexing and memorable utterance within ‘Soul Love.’ This contradictory statement encapsulates the complex duality at love’s core – the idea that the very nature of love can negate itself, becoming something detached from the intrinsic warmth and nurturing it’s expected to provide.

Bowie’s lyrics, ever open to interpretation, challenge listeners to redefine their own experiences of love. With these words, he posits that love, in all its glorified chaos, may only sometimes carry the benevolence it promises, leaving us to reckon with its colder, more indifferent side.

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