By Jillian Mapes

David Bowie‘s new video for “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” is a gender-bending fever dream, i.e. he’s up to his old hi-jinks.  So it makes sense that his co-star in the clip is androgynous actress Tilda Swinton, Bowie’s female counterpart it there ever was one.

The clip begins like something out of Revolutionary Road, quickly establishing Swinton and Bowie as a mild-mannered couple from decades gone by. After a trip to the market, the two see that they’re they being followed by a young couple of rock’n’roll stars, who are later (sort of) framed as Swinton and Bowie in their early days.

Meanwhile, the couple’s neighbors won’t keep it down with their band, whose singer is a dead-ringer for ’70s-style Bowie. In fact, there are multiple Bowie lookalikes, including one who watches while Bowie experiments sexually. Bowie and Swinton are inspired to change their tired ways, undergo androgynous makeovers and dance wildly. Like we said, he’s back to his old self. Watch below.

The only similarity between this video and the one for recent single “Where Are We Now?” – an ode to his Berlin days – is that Bowie is continually being pulled in the direction of his past. However, the “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” video feels like commentary on Bowie’s life in recent years, during which time he’s stayed far below the radar, firmly enveloped in domestic bliss.

“The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” is the second single from Bowie’s 24th studio album, The Next Day, out March 12. The moody, sleepy ballad “Where Are We Now?” served as the album’s lead single, much to the dismay of those hoping for a more epic comeback song from Bowie. However, “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” shows off Bowie’s ability to rock out, especially its feedback-fueled opening.


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