David Bowie is back, but hopefully not for long. The switch-hitting, bisexual, senior citizen from London has resurfaced, this time playing a Jesus-like character who hangs out in a nightclub dump frequented by priests, cardinals and half-naked women.
The video is strewn with characteristic excess: one priest bashes a homeless man, while others are busy hitting on women; self-flagellation is depicted; a dancing gal with bleeding hands makes a stigmata statement; and a customer is served eyeballs on a plate. The lyrics refer to the “priest stiff in hate” and “women dressed as men for the pleasure of that priest.” The song concludes with, “They can work with Satan while they dress with the saints.” In short, the video reflects the artist—it is a mess.
Bowie is nothing if not confused about religion. He once made a public confession: “I was young, fancy free, and Tibetan Buddhism appealed to me at that time. I thought, ‘There’s salvation.’ It didn’t really work. Then I went through Nietzsche, Satanism, Christianity…pottery, and ended up singing. It’s been a long road.” Too bad the pottery didn’t work.
But Bowie didn’t give up trying to figure out who he is. “I’m not quite an atheist and it worries me. There’s a little bit that holds on. Well, I’m almost an atheist. Give me a couple of months.”
Well, Bowie has had more than a couple of months—it’s been ten years since he spoke those words. Not sure what he believes in today (anyone who is “not quite an atheist” is not an atheist), but it’s a sure bet he can’t stop thinking about the Cadillac of all religions, namely Roman Catholicism. There is hope for him yet.