Bowie maybe the only man that can overact wearing a blindfold and lying in bed. I’m so glad I listened to Lazarus before I saw the clip as the song reaches much further entering your ears before your eyes. But this problem I have with what I call ‘visual corruption’ might be directed towards Bowie for other reasons – I’ve seen his films and I struggle with his acting.
The Man Who Fell To Earth, Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, The Hunger, Baal, bits of Labyrinth, these are the films I’ve seen. Bowie like many Rock stars has difficulty crossing over from musician to a character not of his own invention. It’s okay if he is singing as them, portraying them in his own musical concept but as soon as he has to be a fictitious character not of his own making he seems unconvincing. I have a theory, I think it’s his speaking voice that can’t get behind a dramatic character. This is unexpected because his singing voice is assured, controlled, dominant, versatile but as an actor his London boy pitch lacks gravitas.
He’s also always unnecessarily over choreographed, he has the moves without the input of some highly paid dance teacher consulting on his videos. I feel like he sometimes forgets that being him is enough and he does this because he has spent a lifetime playing somebody else through his songs – I blame Lindsay Kemp.
I would like to point out some fascinating possible influences for the creepy mask in the video, the album title Black Star and the the song title Lazarus. It turns out there is a UK doom band called Lazarus Blackstar that features almost identical creepy eye masks. Coincidence? Check this out and see if you agree Bowie was influenced by this:
Not sure is this is for real (but I think it is because it’s posted on davidbowie.com), but just for fun , here is another little playful possible nod from Bowie to Jimmy Fallon in the Lazarus video: