The opening shot of David Bowie’s video for “Where Are We Now?” — his first single in 10 years — is of a seemingly misplaced diamond, laying on its side on the floor of a prop room.
Where Are We Now
Much like the diamond, Bowie’s verses (which occasionally show up onscreen, in sing-along fashion) are intriguingly lost. Throughout the video, grainy film footage of Berlin, Germany accompanies Bowie’s ambling, lyrical excursion around a few of the city’s destinations (Google “KaDeWe” and “Potsdamer Platz”). Inside the prop room, the heads of Bowie and a woman — possibly the object of the singer’s affectionate third verse — are somewhat disturbingly transposed onto the heads of a conjoined, Tim Burton-esque dummy, and the errantly placed props scattered across the room reflect the song’s feeling of displacement.
Though subtle and decidedly low-budget, the visuals of director Tony Oursler perfectly complement Bowie’s wonderfully nostalgic ballad. This “film,” as it is named in the closing credits, is a bizarre and heavily symbolic effort for an equally strange and esoteric song, but it’s still ridiculous to expect anything conventional from the creator of Ziggy Stardust.
“Where Are We Now?” is a fascinating new direction for Bowie, whose career has taken innumerable paths in its 46 years, and an intriguing taste of what’s to come on his upcoming album, The Next Day, which will hopefully join the ranks of classic Bowie LPs upon its March 8 release.