The Claypool Lennon Delirium celebrated the release of their new LP Monolith of Phobos Friday by premiering the bizarre video for “Bubbles Burst,” the Sean Lennon-penned track about his experience hanging out with Michael Jackson and his pet chimpanzee Bubbles in the Eighties.
The surreal video, directed by Les Claypool, features The Mighty Boosh‘s Michael and Noel Fielding in the roles of the King of Pop and his pet chimp. The song and its video recount Jackson’s adoption of the unique pet and the singer’s childlike treatment of Bubbles, including how the duo would wear matching sequined gloves and feast on candy. After its creepy black-and-white opening, the video explodes into colorful Claymation for its second half.
Despite the somewhat grotesque portrayal of Jackson and his relationship with Bubbles, Lennon insisted in an interview with NPR that the song itself is “sincere and harmless.”
“I think it’s important that even if people don’t believe me or are angry about the way Michael is portrayed in the video, that the truth is my intention is very sincere and harmless, and I’m just making a song,” Lennon said. “I’m not trying to take him out or anything, or put him down. I was just trying to have fun and talk about an odd situation in a way that makes it art. It’s like a parallel dimension, and it’s a dark, comedic manifestation that comes more out of the song and not out of real life. It’s like a reflection of a reflection.”
“Childhoods end / And Bubbles burst,” Lennon sings on the track’s chorus. “We didn’t understand / Dancing with Peter Pan / What would be the result when we / Turned into young adults.”
“I just thought it was an interesting metaphor for what happened to a lot of Michael’s friends who were my age. It felt like there was something odd going on, and I still don’t know what it was,” Lennon said of the lyrics. “Nothing ever happened with me in an illegal way, but the whole place just felt like I was in some Peter Pan fantasy land. And there was a sense that when Bubbles got too old, he’d have to be gotten rid of, because chimpanzees turn into angry adults or dangerous adults.”
The Claypool Lennon Delirium kick off a summer tour in support of Monolith of Phobos on Saturday in Orlando, Florida. Oddly, this isn’t the first time in the past year that Bubbles inspired a new work as a biopic about the chimp is currently kicking around Hollywood.