David Bowie Releases New Single 'The Stars (Are Out Tonight)', Video Features Tilda Swinton

David Bowie in the studio

David Bowie’s first album in a decade, The Next Day, comes out on March 12. You knew that already because we’ve written about this release zealously. Today, Bowie not only drops his second single, “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” from that album, but its accompanying video featuring Tilda Swinton. It’s a doozy.

Noisier than “Where Are We Now?,” Bowie’s first single from The Next Day, this second release looks at the cult of celebrity and a rabid public stalking its heroes. Along with name-checking “Kate and Brad” in his lyrics, Bowie includes dead celebrities as part of that obsession. As an icon who has been a public figure longer than People and TMZ have been in existence, Bowie is well informed on the pitfalls of stardom. His lyrics to “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” are a stiffly rendered satire on the relationship between the stalker and the stalked, especially when you take into consideration the new single’s video in which roles are reversed and several stars-and-starlets gaze hungrily at Bowie and his on-screen missus while they shop for groceries, sleep, and spend a night in front of the television wearing cardigans and house dresses.

What truly sells the new song is its video, a mini-movie by Floria Sigismondi with Bowie co-starring with his most notorious doppelganger, Tilda Swinton, and several young musician types that who also resemble Bowie during his Station to Station/The Man Who Fell to Earth period. That 1976 film also lends “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” some of its most memorable imagery, from seeing Bowie staring at himself in the corner of a gossip magazine to Swinton decked out in a plastic visor and a cheap yellow track suit just like Candy Clark wore in The Man Who Fell To Earth.

Bowie is two-for-two when it comes to reminiscing on The Next Day. That first ballad, “Where Are We Now?”, took a look backwards at his Berlin period. Then of course there is the cover of The Next Day that all but lampoons his 1977 album Heroes with its Post-It Note graphics.

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Photo: Jimmy King
Video ©2013 ISO Records / Columbia Records

Posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2013