Ground control to Major Tom: David Bowie just released a new video for his single, "Blackstar," from his upcoming album of the same name, and the video is an ode to the weird science fiction trippiness expected of the musician.
The extended video, in its 10 minutes of glory, begins with a dead astronaut, but then introduces an alien female, complete with tail, who opens up the astronaut's helmet and removes his jewel-covered skull.
Eventually, the skull becomes an object of worship of sorts as people dance around it in a jerky motion. Meanwhile, David Bowie sings the song while costumed as a blind man.
The video is signature David Bowie, weird and wonderful, without making a lot of sense. This is the man, after all, who isn't just a musician, but has also appeared in some trippy movies, including Labyrinth and Man Who Fell To Earth.
Of course, his most psychedelic work revolves around his own music, including Blackstar and his full-length feature film for Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
The song itself also has a science fiction vibe, with heavy use of synthesizers and a strange jazz drum kind of rhythm. Melodically, it sounds almost as if Bowie is chanting something of great importance at times, perhaps a message from the prophet he portrays in the accompanying video.
Bowie's inspiration for the song came from a drama series called The Last Panthers, directed by Johan Renck, who also directed the video for "Blackstar." Renck stated that every detail in the video received careful attention.
"The [inspiration for the actors'] shaking is funny," said Renck to Rolling Stone. "David sent me a YouTube clip from a very old cartoon, I think it was Popeye. With those early-days animations, they sort of drew frame by frame on top of the film. So what happened is the characters would be like ... " he mimicked a herky-jerky motion. "David said, 'I'd like something like this.'"
However, Renck insisted that the video doesn't mean anything, in particular, and that it's up to viewers to discover their own meaning while viewing the short film. For example, many Bowie fans would assume that the dead astronaut refers to the character in Bowie's Major Tom song.
"Most things like this are for the eyes of the beholder, you know?" said Renck to Vice. "You make of it whatever you want. What I can say, on one side of things there is no deliberate, underlying, firm quest to have any references to past times. On the other side of things, a lot of these ideas have been conglomerative of David and I chatting."