We Can Be Heroes 

By Sophia Christensen 

David Bowie acts as my superhero with the infamous song “Heroes.” Blasting Bowie’s song allows for the freeing feeling of my head and arms sticking out the sunroof, with my hair blowing in the wind while my friend drives under a tunnel of beaming yellow lights. Bowie constructs a passionate song longing for the feeling of freedom and love brought by being with his “queen” even if it’s “just for one day.” He strongly believes their love can overcome (heroes!) any challenges (the villain!). 

“I, I will be king

And you, you will be queen

Though nothing will drive them away

We can beat them just for one day”

Comparing his life to royalty—a fantasy—through king and queen, Bowie fantasizes experiencing a passionate love with his queen despite the world trying to keep them apart. He dreams of freedom as king where he can live in his own world, away from the repressive society that tells him what to do, how to act, and even who to love. 

“We can be heroes just for one day”

Bowie recognizes the love he longs for will never work. However, he offers that, “just for one day” they can defy all odds against them and be together in happiness. Knowing their togetherness will never last, they can only be heroes for one day. 

“And you, you can be mean

And I, I’ll drink all the time

’Cause we’re lovers, and that is a fact

Yes, we’re lovers, and that is that

Though nothing will keep us together

We could steal time just for one day

We can be heroes for ever and ever

What d’you say?”

Bowie acknowledges each of their personal flaws and reasoning for why their love will never work, yet he continues to recount that at the end of the day they have strong love for one another that will never die. In his heart and soul, he knows their lovers, despite their personal flaws and the obstacles society throws their way. He suggests that even if they can only be together for one day, that would be enough to satisfy his longing for love. 

“I, I wish you could swim

Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim

Though nothing, nothing will keep us together

We can beat them, for ever and ever

Oh we can be Heroes, just for one day”

The dolphin imagery creates a feeling of freedom with the wide ocean full of hope and possibilities. Bowie recognizes the lack of repression in swimming in the open ocean. 

“I, I can remember (I remember)

Standing, by the wall (by the wall)

And the guns, shot above our heads (over our heads)

And we kissed, as though nothing could fall (nothing could fall)

And the shame, was on the other side

Oh we can beat them, for ever and ever

Then we could be Heroes, just for one day”

Bowie confidently sings that their love is strong enough to defeat the repression and obstacles they face by being together. He longs for foreverness with his lover and claims they can be heroes by defying and overcoming (“beating”) the odds that are stacked against them.

“We can be Heroes

We can be Heroes

We can be Heroes

Just for one day

We can be Heroes”

They can overcome the flaws and obstacles in their way of love!

“We’re nothing, and nothing will help us

Maybe we’re lying, then you better not stay

But we could be safer just for one day

Oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh, just for one day”

Bowie’s hope dies down, and he comes to the realization that being with his lover will never work out. He assumes they might not be right for each other anyway and maybe their love for each other was a lie. However, he ends with a hopeful note fantasizing the possibility of being with each other in love and togetherness “just for one day.”