In the February 2013 issue of Bright Lights Film Journal, I use the new Bowie/Oursler song and video as a propagational device, spilling into Sandy Hook, lapsed religion, virology and Betrand Russell though not necessarily in that order.
With five absent years stuck on our eyes times two, the new David Bowie single and video “Where Are We Now?’ struck with a quiet vengeance in the wee hours of January 8, 2013, the performer’s 66th birthday. The entire music world, rail-thin from a diet of Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars, devoured the event. Overdetermination and clue-sifting began in earnest. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a ten-day cease-fire until all facts on the ground could be assessed. I thought I’d get a jump to pitch a few thoughts.
The song fulfills its primary task as a communiqué from a long-lost correspondent. Bowie is sentient. Few chord structures could spoil this news. Thus, poring over musical hooks and bridges on such an auspicious occasion seems akin to criticizing the color scheme of an alien spacecraft. We’ll not go there here. Profuse audiophilia will commence in earnest when the full album arrives in March.
Besides, the video in many ways provides the more evocative leg of this particular Bowie outing, not so much for its technical feats as for its savvy depiction of artistic intent and that whole kibosh known loosely as life itself. Director Tony Oursler does a great job shepherding the metaphysics through while keeping up appearances…
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