Last night, David Bowie released “Blackstar,” a 10-minute mini-movie that also acted as the premiere of the first single from his forthcoming album of the same name. It’s the platonic ideal of a David Bowie video: Visually compelling, impossibly detailed, and deeply weird.
It’s a testament to Bowie’s savvy as an artist (and, perhaps more pointedly, as a marketer of himself) that even though he was nearly two decades into his career by the time MTV first launched, he has still has a phenomenal body of video work. Bowie has spent his entire life thinking as a futurist ahead of the curve, so he was making promotional videos in the ’70s before there was ever a true outlet for them. Lots of artists did this, but while most of those clips were simply performances run through a video toaster, Bowie’s early experiments had a next-level vision. Ever the visual stylist, Bowie was born for the video world, and the narrative possibilities of his music have led to some deeply fascinating clips.
Honestly, David Bowie has never made a bad video (though “China Girl” and its cringe worthy slant-eyed bits is not a good look), but here are 10 of the best entries from a near-perfect body of work.