David Bowie this morning unveiled his 4th video from “The Next Day,” his first album in nearly a decade. The song about a would-be school shooter fantasizing about his impending spree is one of the more chilling on what is generally a very dark album. Unlike the last couple videos – “The Stars (are out tonight)” which featured Tilda Swinton and “The Next Day” with Gary Oldman – “Valentine’s Day” is a minimalistic clip, with Bowie performing the song in his own slightly demented way, with some subtle imagery that goes to the meaning of the song. One of the most powerful things about the track is the ambiguity at the end – Bowie sings, in a harrowing voice, “It’s in his scrawny hand, it’s in his icy heart, it’s happening today! Valentine, Valentine”. We as the listener don’t know if the shooter is idly boasting to a friend, or is actually going to go through with it, or if the narrator does anything to stop him… it’s left hanging with an ominous sense of dread. Very few can pack the punch of drama that David Bowie can into a 3-minute rock song.
David Bowie – “Valentine’s Day”
from “The Next Day
Bowie will also release a 45 vinyl single version of “Valentine’s Day” in August. The artwork, featuring the song’s lyrics on the cover is below: