David Bowie has released the title track from his new album ‘The Next Day’, directed by Floria Sigismondi, featuring Gary Oldman as a debauched priest, and Bowie himself as a medievally-robed prophet/rock god-figure onstage, inducing stigmata in an attendant prostitute.
The clip – and it really is a clip, with the second half of the best track on ‘The Next Day’ frustratingly edited out (possibly for future expansion) – has already inspired the criticism from the church, ex-archbishop Geroge Carey calling Bowie ‘juvenile’ (pot-kettle, anybody?), but more interestingly: ‘I doubt that Bowie would have the courage to use Islamic imagery – I very much doubt it’.
While the video to lead off track ‘Where Are We Now’ was reflective and quite nostalgic, and the Hilda Swintoned second clip ‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’ was cult-of-celebrity critique, this time Bowie truly returns, referencing The Da Vinci Code, Lord Of The Rings (Bilbo’s ring moment) and In The Name Of The Father; all pulled together and spat out in his most vital, post-modern pagan idiom. Bowie looks truly pissed off with the hypocrisies of organised religion, which he has been sporadically writing about all through his career – but the power that the man has is of the true artist – to make the viewer’s jaw drop, and be thankful for returning rage.