David Bowie has debuted his new, ten-minute song “Blackstar” in a short film, and… it’s a whole lot to process. At first listen, it’s one of his strangest and most eclectic tracks to date; it begins and ends as a sort of grand dirge, with a dash of Scott Walker-y spookiness, but there are jazzy passages and a middle section that has what I can only describe as an ’80s soft rock feel.
The visuals are every bit as odd and dark, from the opening eclipse viewed from the vantage point of a rocky, remote planet to Bowie’s bandaged eyes to a circle of women whose movements suggest a sort of demonic possession. But the image that’s going to haunt me all night (at least) is the moment when a young woman with the tail of a mouse opens the visor of a spacesuit and discovers a blackened, bejeweled skull.
As has been the case with Bowie’s recent work, musical and otherwise, there’s a lot in the song and the film that references his past. The overwhelming atmosphere, though, is one of death — something that confirms everything we’ve heard about the upcoming album, ★(also pronounced Blackstar), so far.
There’s plenty more to say about this song and video, and we plan to once it’s all sunken in. In the meantime, watch the “Blackstar” short film below. ★ comes out on Bowie’s 69th birthday, January 8, 2016.