David Bowie's forthcoming record ★ (pronounced Blackstar) has been shrouded in mystery for some time now. Its title track and the Johan Renck-directed short film accompanying it were released today, but the mystery remains.
The 10 minute video opens with a long deceased astronaut having his bejeweled skull stolen by a tailed woman for ritualistic worship under the gaze of a massive eclipse. One can't help but wonder if they've just witnessed the fate of Major Tom himself in what would be one of the single most brilliant full-circle moments in music history.
Bowie himself seems to stand as a sort of cult leader presiding, Blackstar bible in hand, over some possessed individuals convulsing along with the stuttering percussion and avante-garde jazz saxophone.
It's clear the fairly straightforward and cheerful days of "Let's Dance" are long gone as the eerie single continues to meander through several ambient highs and lows guided by incantations of "I'm a Blackstar" over visuals of scarecrows wracked by haunted gyrations and a looming, otherworldly fortification that evokes a certain classic Labyrinth shot.
"Take your passport and shoes and your sedatives, boo," Bowie snidely requests. It's not quite clear where we're going yet, but we can't wait to find out.
★ will be released via Columbia Records on David Bowie's 69th birthday, January 8, and you can preorder it here.