Having gained our undivided attention with the the drip feed of teasers, tracks and videos, David Bowie will finally release his new album, ★ (Blackstar), today. But before the grand unveiling, Bowie has dropped one finally teaser in the shape of a new video for his track Lazarus, which appears on the album.
Following on from the debut video release from ★, the video for Lazarus has the same unsettling aesthetic as the clip for title track Blackstar, and is also directed by Breaking Bad’s Johan Renck. At a mere four minutes, the track has less of the “opus” about it than the ten intense minutes that comprise Blackstar. But with the same colouration and imagery, the clip has the same disturbing oddness that seems to characterise Bowie in his current guise. Featuring a familiar button-eyed bandage, Bowie is bed-ridden and stalked by an eery figure. In true Bowie style, any discernible references to the original Lazarus story are either well hidden or subverted.
The track itself also continues in a similar vein to Blackstar, with industrial beats and easily identifiable jazz and electronic influences. Launching with a slightly mournful saxophone atop synth riffs, there are some lyrical throwbacks in Lazarus as Bowie sings about getting back to New York wth a particularly familiar key change. Much like Blackstar, older incarnations of Bowie are completely discernible as elements within this new feel. Showing his mischievous side last month as Michael C. Hall assumed the character of Bowie with a few ch-ch-changes, his own tongue-in-cheek words pretty much sum up Blackstar Bowie.
Speaking about the clip in the press release, it’s clear that director Renck takes some pride in the collaboration; “One could only dream about collaborating with a mind like that; let alone twice. Intuitive, playful, mysterious and profound… I have no desire to do any more videos knowing the process never ever gets as formidable and fulfilling as this was. I’ve basically touched the sun.”
As the album drops today, we can only dream about how much further into his universe Bowie will take us.