Music Video Monday: David Bowie – “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”

The Thin White Duke spoofs a sad, aging version of himself


If you’re looking for an onscreen avatar for otherworldly, gender-bending rock star David Bowie you couldn’t find a more perfect fit than otherworldly, gender-bending actress Tilda Swinton. The resemblance is so striking it’s like they were separated at birth. But in Floria Sigismondi’s video for “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” the two aren’t siblings or emissaries from an alien race, they’re a fossilized married couple.

In the video for the second single (check out the first one here) from the Thin White Duke’s new album, The Next Day (it doesn’t hit stores unti March 12 but the entire album is streaming on iTunes for free), Bowie plays an aging version of himself and Swinton is his bouffant-topped wife. They’re content with their dull lives in their dull mansion — until they’re tormented by some teenage wildlife. Are the kids in their house or merely in their heads? The video spoofs clichés about Los Angeles, celebrity, and tabloid culture while casting a nostalgic look at the chaos of youth. On a meta-level, it’s also a cautionary tale about an alluring music video paired with an exceedingly forgettable song. In “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” Bowie is shown doing something he’s never done before: asking the neighbors to turn the music down.

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  • jack lope

    “paired with an exceedingly forgettable song”
    – so not true!!! >:-]
    great song! Listent o it more often and you might notice..

  • MJ

    Sounds like China Girl but still cool

  • Los Angeles DJ

    I don’t think the song is nearly as forgettable as Shatkin’s perfunctory, dismissive post. I’ve seen Tweets that were more in depth. It’s not every decade you have the opportunity to comment on a new Bowie release. And at the rate Bowie is going, you may not get the chance again. Editors: Next time give the job to someone who shows more interest.

  • kelvin butcher

    ‘Stars Are Out Tonight’ is an instant Bowie classic, anyone who can’t hear that must have tin ears. Great video too.

  • frans #david Bowie

    His first single “Where Are We Now” was cryptic. Was he literally showing us that the bottle is empty?

    This is my interpretation:

  • shelby cmr

    i listened to the entire album this morning on iTunes, it’s streaming for free. I literally loved it

  • shelby cmr

    I streamed the entire album on iTunes this morning and I could not be more impressed!