Watch: Silly Boy Blue Roams the Prague Subways in the Video For ‘The Riddle’
If one were choosing a nom de guerre as an encomium to David Bowie, surely The Jean Genie, or for something a bit more celestial, Moonage Daydream would seem the more obvious choices (or perhaps Queen Bitch?). But young French songstress Ana Benabdelkarim went full obscurantism in taking the artistic moniker Silly Boy Blue – which is actually a little known early Bowie tune from 1968, well before Ziggy Stardust made his first glittery appearance.
“It all goes back to my school days,” she recalls. “When we first heard ‘Changes’ by Bowie, it surprised us so much that we were in hysterics all day. From this starting point, music became a trail. Every important moment of my life has its own soundtrack. Music offered me the possibility to emancipate myself from two older brothers, and to develop my own identity. I built myself on music.”
Her new single ‘The Riddle’ is a melancholy bit of lush, letter-perfect ’80s-style synth pop (think A-ha, Propaganda), with deeply self-reflective lyrics about loss and regret (“It could be easy, and it could be fast / But I still carry all the questions I never asked”). The accompanying video was moodily but captivatingly filmed in the Prague subway system, with its haunting, sepia-toned Cold War aesthetic.
“We shot it at night, so we didn’t really sleep for two days,” she says. “It was kind of magical, but also really hard – exactly the way you feel at the beginning of a love story, when you don’t sleep at all, and just to talk to the person on your phone all night. Also, the video is slowed down, but the escalator speed was so fast that we thought we wouldn’t be able to shoot. So I practiced the night before, and everything ended up well.”
The track is the follow up to her dreamily infectious previous single ‘Goodbye,’ released last November.