Celebrity Tribute to David Bowie’s “Changes” Doesn’t Go as Planned

Zendaya, Willow Smith and Kiernan Shipka all took part

David Bowie mural
A mural depiciting the iconic singer David Bowie is pictured near Broadway Market, London on March 30, 2019.
Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Saturday would have been David Bowie’s 75th birthday, and it wasn’t surprising to see a host of tributes to the iconic singer and actor across the internet. But just because something has the best of intentions behind it doesn’t mean that it comes across as intended. Case in point: a star-studded rendition of Bowie’s “Changes,” assembled by W Magazine and posted to Instagram.

The video finds Zendaya, Willow Smith and Kiernan Shipka each singing lines from the song. On paper, this seems perfectly fine. In practice, it doesn’t work. Each of the three opts for a very different approach to the material, and while that might have been intended as a nod to Bowie’s stylistic range and expansive influence, it doesn’t exactly click.

As Page Six reports, the reception to the clip has not exactly been glowing — including some people making comparisons to the Gal Gadot-led cover of “Imagine” that hit the internet in the bygone days of 2020.

To be fair to the trio of stars appearing in the current video, covering Bowie is not an easy task; offhand, I can think of all of two artists who have pulled it off, plus Philip Glass’s symphonies inspired by Bowie’s work. And cutting between multiple versions of these covers would also not do the artists in question any favors.

As for Bowie’s originals, those are unlikely to vanish from the public consciousness any time soon – especially after the blockbuster sale of his back catalog earlier this year. Changes, indeed.

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