Wake up, you sleepy head
Put on some clothes, shake up your bed
Put another log on the fire for me
I've made some breakfast and coffee
Look out my window, what do I see
A crack in the sky and a hand reaching down to me
All the nightmares came today
And it looks as though they're here to stay

What are we coming to?
No room for me, no fun for you
I think about a world to come
Where the books were found by the golden ones
Written in pain, written in awe
By a puzzled man who questioned
What we were here for
All the strangers came today
And it looks as though they're here to stay

Oh, you pretty things (oh, you pretty things)
Don't you know you're driving your
Mamas and papas insane?
Oh, you pretty things (oh, you pretty things)
Don't you know you're driving your
Mamas and papas insane?
Let me make it plain
Gotta make way for the Homo Superior

Look out at your children
See their faces in golden rays
Don't kid yourself, they belong to you
They're the start of the coming race
The earth is a bitch
We've finished our news
Homo Sapiens have outgrown their use
All the strangers came today
And it looks as though they're here to stay

Oh, you pretty things (oh, you pretty things)
Don't you know you're driving your
Mamas and papas insane?
Oh, you pretty things (oh, you pretty things)
Don't you know you're driving your
Mamas and papas insane?
Let me make it plain
Gotta make way for the Homo Superior


Lyrics submitted by magicnudiesuit

Oh! You Pretty Things Lyrics as written by David Bowie

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Oh! You Pretty Things song meanings
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44 Comments

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  • +6
    General Comment

    I firmly believe that to know what this song means you must be familiar with the philosophy of "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" and Nietzsche's superman. The "homo superior" is a euphemism for this superman, the most conspicuous quality of whom, according to "Thus Spoke Zarathustra," was his contempt of the common man's morality. A superman is somebody who doesn't take in society's morals as his own, but rather somebody who creates his own morality through his own inner strength and clarity of vision. An example of this clarity of vision? In Zarathustra, the seer proclaims that, though he loves peace, he is happy when he sees war. Why? Because the idiots who fight are killing themselves, which will ideally eventually result in a purified world where those who are left are peaceful and lack the destructive urge to dominate their fellow man. Now, compare this attitude to the attitude of the anti-war masses during Vietnam. Their position that all war is inexcusable was and is dreadfully simple-minded and untenable.
    Now, for Bowie this "advancement" to being supermen might just mean sexual liberation, since this was his coming out/flaming homosexual debut. Regardless, at least he knows his philosophy. Btw, the Nieitzschean imagery is ALL OVER this album, and this is why it's one of my all time favorites, even though his fervent homosexuality consistenly creeps me out.

    jtatfsuon January 16, 2006   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    i think that this song is about adults who realise they are no longer the generation of today, but the generation of yesterday, and they are being replaced by their children the "homo superiors". that would make sense out of: "hand reaching down to me" -they feel like they are being taken away too soon. "no room for me, no fun for you" is them being pushed out of the light. and thats why they're driving their parents insane too. but the most obvious part is "Look at your children See their faces in golden rays Don't kid yourself they belong to you They're the start of a coming race The earth is a bitch We've finished our news Homo Sapiens have outgrown their use" yeah its pretty obvious to me thats what this is about.

    rammsteingirlon August 15, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I am nearly certain that he does mean a superior human when he speaks of "Homo Superior"...One must remember that at the time of writing Hunky Dory, Bowie was beginning to get involved in the occult, magick, brain-change etc.

    There are many groups out there that take the stance that we are entering a new age, and therefore a new set of humans will come about as well. He also talks in this song of "the coming race", but they are still your children, and you must see them in "golden rays" which is another bit of magickal symbolism.

    Even in the first verse there is a bit of a prophesy of an apocalypse. I just think Bowie is from another planet and is here to help everyone out.

    You can find alot of Occult symbolism on Hunky Dory, actually.

    rainbowofpromiseon August 04, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I love how this song starts out nice and quietly with jus Bowie and a piano, then outta nowhere it's just BAM! alllll youu prettyy thiiings. sweet ass song. I think it's more about a new race of mutated superior humans, but Bowie deffinately knew what he was doing when he wrote the "homo superior" part. Nice way to mess with peoples' heads. haha

    JackWhites7thSonon September 27, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Since everyone else has already discussed the lyrics seriously, I just wanted to say that I can't read these lyrics without thinking of the X-Men. "Homo superior," forsooth.

    Yeah, I'm a geek.

    innocentsmithon January 20, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Just look up the plot to Arthur C. Clarke's - "Childhood's End"

    As in: End of Discussion

    kyopon May 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    It's about either the replacement of men with the Nietzschean "Homo Superior" or Ubermenchen - or it's a reference to the failed flower power generation, with a jab at the most commercial sixties band ever, "The Mamas and the Papas" as in, we the new glam kids will drive you hippies insane.

    taverneron September 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I'm with the 'Nietzsche' interpretation. I'm not sure that Nietzsche himself ever actually used the phrase 'homo superior', but it is a term that anyone would associate with him. As for the Arthur C. Clarke connection, obviously Bowie had some interest in science fiction, but Clarke himself was probably drawing on Nietzschean themes, so the two interpretations are not mutually exclusive. Nothing to do with homosexuality, of course.

    DavidBon January 13, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This song, for me, was about teenage exploration, and more importantly, about the "parental unit(s)" dealing with that inevitable launch from the nest. I hear Bowie understanding what it must be like, from a parent's perspective, to find a teen, in bed long after he/she "should be up". Wake up, shake it off, i've made breakfast. The crack in the sky, is the friends reaching down to the child, he/she is lost to the parent, they are here to stay, those that will take your little one away. It's the realization moment that your precious little child is (maybe) gone, off into the "real world." Don't you know you're driving your Mothers and Fathers insane? To me, It's that "let go" moment, when teens become adults and there isn't a f'ing thing you can do about it.

    kevmson February 20, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    This song is about the profound and drastic change that occurs when one's sense of reality and continuity is challenged by an alien invasion.

    Bowie is taking the stance of both the invaded and the invader. He acts as a translator, who understands both sides, and came to the conclusion that this invasion cannot be stopped. He translates this invasion for us, in the image of a mother/father figure looking down on us, so we can accept it.

    It leaves us with a feeling of disorientation and sadness, for what we thought real and stable is now loss, but also with a strange confidence in the fact that what is coming next is simply more evolved.

    We kidded ourselves for a long time, but since the strangers came down from that crack in the sky, we have to make way.

    jeansebastienon November 11, 2015   Link

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