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This slice of neo-psychedelia finds Bowie lamenting a shellshocked war veteran. Producer Tony Visconti explained to Rolling Stone: "'I'd Rather Be High' is about a soldier who's come out of the war and he's just burnt out, and rather than becoming a human being again, I think he laments, 'I'd rather be high. I don't want to know. I'm trying to erase these thoughts from my mind."
The desert setting suggests contemporary conflict, as the poor beaten up combatant curses his situation. "I'd rather be flying," sings Bowie, "I'd rather be dead, than out of my head and training these guns on those men in the sand."
Bowie sings a new version of this song in an renaissance-inspired advert for French fashion house Louis Vuitton. The short film, which is titled L'Invitation Au Voyage
, stars American fashion model Arizona Muse and is directed by Romain Gavras, the man behind the clips for M.I.A.'s "Born Free
" and "Bad Girls
" plus Kanye West and Jay-Z's "No Church in The Wild
English creative director and graphic designer Tom Hingston directed the video for the song's Venetian Mix, which appears on the expanded release, The Next Day Extra. The anti-war clip pairs vintage footage of wartime battle and celebration with close up shots of Bowie's distorted face. Hingston's London-based design studio has worked with a number of artists, including include Massive Attack, Lady Gaga and The Rolling Stones.
Hingston explained the thinking behind the video: "In early conversations, Mr. Bowie and I discussed exploring archival footage that brought to life another side of war - footage that featured soldiers celebrating; young servicemen and women, in moments of jubilation - drinking, dancing and partying," he said. "These moments of total euphoria, juxtaposed with extreme violence, hopefully serve as a powerful reminder of the futility of war."
Don breaks down "Hotel California" and other songs he wrote as a member of the Eagles. Now we know where the "warm smell of colitas" came from.
Mark Arm of Mudhoney
When he was asked to write a song for the Singles
soundtrack, Mark thought the Seattle grunge scene was already overblown, so that's what he wrote about.
Go beyond the Wall of Voodoo with this cinematic songwriter.
Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"
With the band in danger of being dropped from their label, Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith co-wrote the song that started their trek from horror show curiosity to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.