It's the darkest hour, you're twenty two
The voice of youth, the hour of dread
The darkest hour and your voice is new
Love is lost, lost is love

Your country's new
Your friends are new
Your house and even your eyes are new
Your maid is new and your accent too
But your fear is as old as the world

Say goodbye to the thrills of life
Where love was good, no love was bad
Wave goodbye to the life without pain
Say hello
You're a beautiful girl

Say hello to the lunatic men
Tell them your secrets
They're like the grave
Oh, what have you done?
Oh, what have you done?
Love is lost, lost is love

You know so much, it's making you cry
You refuse to talk but you think like mad
You've cut out your soul and the face of thought
Oh, what have you done?
Oh, what have you done?

Oh, what have you done?
Oh, what have you done?

Lyrics submitted by SongMeanings, edited by Allusi0, dastedden, tompaw, 1847

"Love Is Lost" as written by David Bowie


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Love Is Lost song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentThe woman adressed in this song seems to have experienced a great change in her life — new country, new friends, a house with a maid, and so on. It could be a model, an actress, or a singer who became a star overnight, or someone who married into high society. But obviously the change is not good for her, she seems to live in an illusory world and is in need of psychotherapy.
    Bowie holds back important information that could help to decode the song. Why 22? Why "new eyes"? Why does she think so much, but refuses to talk? What does she fear? Maybe Bowie reacted to a news story or had a concrete person in mind. Is the song meant as a riddle? Anyway, it makes me feel uncomfortable — like "The Next Day", where a tortured man gets the hymnical refrain: "Here I am not quite dying, my body left to rot in a hollow tree..." Great music, but very strange lyrics...
    dasteddenon March 22, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commentvery interesting...this song in my experience of it is that someone has died and everything they once knew One soul/ you like, has a new body and experiencing all new things except one - fear - that remains over from the past life and continues to haunt this new life. (Tendencies and predilections remain habitual from life to life if they are not shifted...if you like).

    As far as ‘love is lost’, to me she has lost her heart and true will somehow, just as she had in the previous life (my extrapolation), due to fear, and it persists in this new life. She marries (or due to lust, simply has sex as was going on the entire video) with someone ‘above’ her (“greater men”) , all the wrong reasons, thus love is lost and now she has a child (“Say hello, your beautiful girl”) and her world is no longer carefree (“wave goodbye to the life without pain”). Her early life was carefree because she was born wealthy (“Your maid is new...”), now “what have you done”....everything changes and will probably impact her greatly, why the uncomfortable mood as, dastedden (below) observed.

    (i like the reconstituting bodies in the beginning, like electronic reincarnation until a final body and form appears, but then even those bodies appear fractured (fractured emotions, fractured mind, fractured love...) once formed, monotone is lost. brilliant. sad...)
    suomynonaon November 14, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat is the song about?

    Here's my personal take.

    The song is about making a mistake that essentially changes your life.

    Knowing and recognizing that mistake, essentially transform you, into a beautiful girl/boy as the song says. It increases your beauty so to speak, in the eyes of the artist that is painting the subject (I picture the song taking place between an artist and his or her subject). The artist, being an artist, sees the beauty in his subject as he is painting. That's what some artist are taught to do. Unfortunately, at the end of the song, the subject of the song does not want to believe this. The song indirectly says that this is the real mistake. To believe that you're not worthy. That you're not beautiful. That's where the real mistake/s come/s in.

    Heck. Maybe the artist is the subject. And vice versa. And maybe the artist is the interpreter of the song. Ok, now I'm going on a tangent. But you get my point.
    Gabson November 26, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIs very easy understand him, I think it is about a very young girl in particular, maybe kind a rebel girl she leaves home and killed himself at the end... Bowie is talking about the pain and the loss of a loved one. Love is Lost, Lost is Love, what have you done?!... Beautiful song, most beautiful video.
    Grabuston March 26, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAny possibility that this refers to Iman, who came from east africa when she was a young woman (post college age, so 22 would fit) having been very privileged in Somalia, then suddenly a penniless exile (in Kenya) picked up to become a model and whisked to America and riches... a 'bad marriage' and a daughter.... before starting again (and marrying Bowie) and trying to get it right the second time around.
    Equally a lot of possibilities to play with the fact that Bowie, too, had a wild youthful marriage (and a son from that) before crashing and reinventing himself (and marrying Iman) and trying to get it right the second time around...
    rustybucketon May 31, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationHearing this for the first time it sounds like a letter to his younger self at age 22, the year he broke up with the love of his life and threw himself into fame and career.

    Bowie would have been 22 in 1969, the same year he broke up with the love of his life, a dancer named Hermione Farthingale (see song "Letter to Hermione"). He's described this in interviews as a major and devastating event, but that a lot of artistic fuel came from their split. His career starts to take off around this point.

    New house, maid, accent... he described himself as someone who could adopt accents quickly and he moved often. "You are a beautiful girl" might refer to his old love, or perhaps suggesting a female narrator is a way of making the song less autobiographical. After all he has spent a career inventing characters to do just that.

    The video shows David Bowie dressed very simply and washing his hands, then peering into a dark room where a puppet version of his past selves (the clown from Ashes to Ashes and Thin White Duke) are lit by a spotlight and an image is projected around the room. I think it's a reference to his real self vs the hollow public self.

    My interpretation is that this is an older man looking back in regret at a turning point when he let himself grow bitter after a loss, and threw his soul into artistic greatness which, I suppose, is still empty at the end of the day compared to the real love whose loss sent him reeling.

    "Say hello to the greater men
    Tell them your secrets they're like the grave
    Oh what have you done, oh what have you done
    Love is lost, lost is love"
    millivanilliscoopon October 05, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about making your self inconfortable in your own skin becouse of stupid fears that push you away from who you realy are, from things you love and your own thoughts. It's about cutting your self in two peaces, first is fear, second is trouth( about yourself) , and than comes the moment you got lost. Song is truly about that moment.
    owlsarenotwhattheyseemon January 16, 2017   Link

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