Major Tom has been heard from, and he has a nice singing voice. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who’s set to return to earth today following a five-month stint on the International Space Station, has posted a remarkable music video of himself covering David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” in, well, space. Mashable calls the clip “the first-ever music video from space,” but it’s also a refreshingly sincere addition to a song that has already left a wide cultural footprint — from a theatrically pompous William Shatner version to Flight of the Conchords’ “Bowie’s in Space.” Hadfield actually was in space, though we’re afraid he probably can’t answer Bowie’s question about “Life on Mars?.”
Bowie recently released The Next Day, his first album of new material in 10 years. Last week he unveiled a video for the title track, directed by Floria Sigismondi and starring Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard. His publicity campaign got a boost when the video was inexplicably denounced as a “mess” by the head of the Catholic League, a nonprofit that describes itself as a “Catholic civil rights organization” but apparently moonlights in music crit. Hadfield’s video is a fine example of how it’s possible to rise above such earthly bitterness to accomplish something unique and special.