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David Bowie: The Stars (Are Out Tonight) (2013)

David Bowie's official music video for 'The Stars (Are Out Tonight)'.

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David Bowie's official music video for 'The Stars (Are Out Tonight)'.

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27 February 2013 (USA)  »

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a fantastic video for one of the great late-era Bowie songs
11 January 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The unfortunate passing of David Bowie - just days after the release of what is his final album - had me go back to celebrate and revisit a number of his albums, and one of them was the penultimate one, from 2013 The Next Day. It's not a perfect record, but it has several songs that you can listen to repeatedly. One of those got made into a long-form music video by Fiora Sigismondi (of The Runaways), and it's one of those videos where the characters are reflective of an image of 'ho-hum' middle class malaise. To put it another way, the stylistic choice here is to put David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust and Jareth the Goblin King, in a sweater-vest and similar zipped-up and dressed down clothes for Tilda Swinton.

It's a great deal of fun to see these two in these clothes and this setting, but the direction is what takes it to another level; the shots last for a long period of time (it may even be some unbroken shots, whether they're joined by CGI it's hard to tell). The rhythm and momentum of the song is what drives forward the images, and the satire of the look of the video is balanced out by the drive and power of the sound, Bowie's 'hmm-hmm-hm-hmm's in the choruses. It understands how to find the point now, in the 21st century to subvert the Bowie image is to make Bowie (and by proxy Swinton, also someone who dresses and looks in a way that is iconoclastic and unmistakably original) as square as possible. It is a great big hoot and an unironically magnificent track.


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