Reality

David Bowie

ISO Records, 2003

http://www.davidbowie.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/03/2005

After the success of Heathen, Bowie continued on his songwriting kick with Reality, which predated a long tour. To date, this is the final studio album Bowie has released, and it's safe to say it is among his best.

The sound is difficult to pinpoint to a Bowie era, though the vocal approach and lyrics are closer to the late-70s works my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Station to Station, somewhat disconnected, political and even a bit paranoid. But the music works because Bowie has evolved while staying recognizable, and many of these tunes are catchy, energetic and worth returning to.

"New Killer Star" is not a Ziggy rehash but an anti-bomb note (the title is a purposely-mispronounced 'nuclear,' much like former President George W. Bush would say it), propelled by two chords for most of the piece. "Pablo Picasso" is a fantastic cover of the Jonathan Richman original, with flamenco guitar and echo added everywhere.

"The Loneliest Guy" is one of the saddest, most atmospheric songs Bowie ever wrote, not plastic soul but something more from the heart. "Looking for Water" is fine, "Days" has a bit of folk influence and "Try Some Buy Some" does justice to the George Harrison original. Lastly, "Fall Dog Bombs the Moon" has some of the best melodies and emotion of Bowie's career, although it's hard to decipher what the angry lyrics are about -- I'm guessing discrimination (the fall dog).

The title track is all noise (perhaps the Nine Inch Nails influence from 1995) and the final cut, "Bring Me The Disco King," is a moody Steely Dan-like lounge piece that goes on a bit too long. These two and "Looking for Water" are the most forgettable tracks here, but by no means are they bad songs.

Instead of reinventing himself or trying on new musical styles for the fun of it, Bowie seems to have settled into a groove with this one and Reality. If this is Bowie's final album to the world, it's a great way to close the story.

Rating: B+

User Rating: A


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© 2005 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of ISO Records, and is used for informational purposes only.