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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Review: David Bowie - Reality

I'm exceedingly pleased with Reality, and happy David Bowie decided to work again with producer Tony Visconti, who guided Bowie through the best albums of his career. Bowie's a collaborator with vision, or at least he was until Let's Dance. His ventures into club music only made him look desperate to be relevant. With Heathen (2002) and Reality (2003), maybe Bowie's finally comfortable with himself and his legend, or at least aware of what made him a legend in the first place.

Reality draws from albums as diverse as The Man Who Sold The World, Young Americans, Heroes, Scary Monsters and Outside. His band on this one is high and tight, his stated reason for making the album in the first place. Tony and the band knows what's best for David, and hopefully Bowie knows they're right and continues in this vein.

"New Killer Star" opens the disc and it's Scary Monsters all over again, a good sign. Iggy Pop's crooning is cooler, but Bowie controls his voice better and it's always a pleasure to hear the thin white duke's pipes. The cover of Jonathan Richman's "Pablo Picasso" goes the original one better, lending it a middle eastern dervish last heard on Heroes' "The Secret Life Of Arabia". "Never Get Old" reminds me of Heroes' "Sons Of The Silent Age". "The loneliest Guy" is a bit too much like "After All" from The Man Who Sold The World", but besides that it's ok. "Looking For Water" borrows the glam beat of"Rebel Rebel", which appears on the bonus disc and is a truly superfluous cover version of his own damn song!

"She'll Drive The Big Car" has a clumsy slow drum beat but it's otherwise a great reminder of what made Young Americans so great. The backup singing is masterfully soulful. "Days" employs two acoustic guitars to fine effect, and it has horns like his sessions before Ziggy Stardust. "Fall Dog Bombs The Moon" offers nice guitar leads of the Robert Fripp variety. "Try Some Buy Some" is a George Harrison cover and it does nothing for me (Bowie's worst song is his cover of John Lennon's "Across The Universe"). "Reality" is a real rabble-rouser, a sequel in spirit and power to Outside's "Hallo Spaceboy". "Bring Me The Disco King" closes the disc and it's too slow and moody. I imagine all the lights go out expect for a single spotlight and all of a sudden cigarette smoke fills the room. It's 2AM and welcome to the Bowie Room at Cleveland's beautiful Hopkins International Airport.

All in all a good record with its share of greatest hits material ("New Killer Star", "Pablo Picasso" and "Reality"). Welcome back David, the new teeth look great.


Blogger Robert G. said...

Bowie's had the same problem that besets social novelists: you get older, you get out of touch with the currents and such. His magpie-like musical ways make him particularly susceptible to this, I think.

7:19 PM

Blogger tescosuicide said...

I dig robert's summation... I'll have to check this out.

7:50 PM

Anonymous newt said...

Here we go again, best-since-Scary-Monsters, yawn. Reality ain't that bad (thanks to songs like NKS, Never Get Old & Disco King), but still sucks as much as Tin Machine did. The horrendous title track especially.

Earthling was awesome, Outside a masterpiece (check out Battle For Britain & The Motel from Reality tour DVD, now that's BOWIE at his best). Heathen interesting.

Reality is David desperately trying to be rock & that's just wrong. He never was a rock star - he's so much more than that.

12:44 AM

Blogger Emerson said...

No Newt, here WE go again! Loved you in Aliens (by the way). I visted your site and used my spell checker just for yuks. My computer kicked me in the groin.

11:51 AM


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