Watch David Bowie Become a Madman in Music Video for 'Lazarus'

By Ian Holubiak on Jan 07, 2016 10:28 PM EST
Vanity Fair 2007 Tribeca Film Festival Party sician David Bowie arrives for the Vanity Fair 2007 Tribeca Film Festival party at The State Supreme Courthouse April 24, 2007 in New York City. (Photo : Evan Agostini/Getty Images For Tribeca Film Festival)

When news of David Bowie's album Blackstar came out, there was an air of skepticism surrounding the aging musician's capability. His video for the single "Lazarus" proves he is still a contender in pop culture.

In the second video from the album -- the first was for title track "Black Star" and was directed by Johan Renck, who is also behind "Lazarus -- Bowie has reinvented himself both as a musician and performer. "Lazarus," which shares its name with the title of Bowie's off-Broadway musical, has an ethereal quality that helps counteract Bowie's unfortunately aged voice. (The album drops Jan. 8, Bowie's 69th birthday.)

The film opens with Bowie in an asylum of sorts, eyes bandaged with buttons as symbols for sight, all of which establish him as a madman. Yes, this might be true -- Mr. Bowie may be mad as hell, but the song provides a narrative befitting the video's dark and disturbing nuances.

The video recalls David Lynch's 1992 project Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, in which Bowie appeared. His jazz endeavor follows a similar trajectory.

All of these elements are unique and wonderful, sure, but one can't deny that Ziggy Stardust is on another planet and barely visible from the past. His voice, like those of peers Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney, is the victim of age and overuse. It sits well in the top line, but its breathy quality doesn't sound like the Bowie we know and love -- it has lost is bass-like charm.

That isn't to slight the record. The music is profound; the melodies and lyrics embody the aim of the album and are, most importantly, believable.

 Renck, the film's mastermind, said in a statement:

"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."

Watch the video for "Lazarus" below.

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TagsDavid Bowie, Lazarus, Blackstar, Ziggy Stardust

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