|1. New Killer Star|
|2. Pablo Picasso|
|3. Never Get Old|
|4. The Loneliest Guy|
|5. Looking For Water|
|6. She'll Drive The Big Car|
|8. Fall Dog Bombs The Moon|
|9. "Try Some, Buy Some"|
|11. Bring Me The Disco King|
In recent years Bowie has had a frustrating tendency to handle his own past with varying degrees of bemusement--whether to suffer it, stroke it, spit on it or merely borrow from it (some of Reality's best tracks, the quasi-political "Fall Dog Bomb the Moon" and the electronic punk of "New Killer Star", both shadow his past while exploring the neurosis of our post-9/11 world) while, in a manner most unbecoming of one of rock's most eminent pace-makers, he's chased juvenescent pop fads like some Botox-injecting fashionista. However, Reality, much like its immediate predecessor, the highly-regarded Heathen (Tony Visconti remains at the production helm), finds Bowie reacclimatising to his muse and his life--both as an Englishman in New York and as a doomed rider on the proverbial storm of existence--just beautifully. There are home truths and cognitive mirror gazes on the title track, a sleazy roughed-up diamond with Johnny Rotten-ish cackles and squawky guitars on which he casts a conciliatory glance towards his previous rock & roll personae and despairs at how he "hid amongst the junk of wretched highs" whereas the equally excellent and morbidly cheery "Never Get Old" (musically, imagine a more flippantly sing-along "Sound and Vision") is as comically fatalistic as a two-fingered salute from a retirement home window.
Despite cracking a wicked smile on a rampant strut through Jonathan Richman's "Pablo Picasso", Reality favours brooding philosophising over light-hearted chuckles--see "Looking for Water", the dramatic grand piano and images of dislocated metropolitan topography on the 'Loneliest Guy" and the sullen dying breath of "Bring Me the Disco King"--but Bowie admits to being just like the rest of us in not having the answers. Still, Reality consolidates Bowie's artistic rehabilitation and ranks as another fine album from a man still willing to ask questions of himself. --Kevin Maidment
This is not the case with Reality, however. From the moment that 'New Killer Star' beings with it's classic Bowie sound reminiscent in places of Rebel Rebel and Jean Genie, through the spanish guitar laden insanity that is Pablo Picasso and onwards, there is not a bad moment to be heard. Throughout the 90s, sometimes it seemed that Bowie was trying just too hard to be trendy, hip and different. But the good work on Heathen has been continued, and to my mind this IS his best album in certainly 20 years, perhaps longer. It's certainly the one that has impressed me most after just two or three listens - probably more so than anything since Heroes.
This album deserves to be heard, and it deserves to be loved. If there's any justice, it will outsell all the TV manufactured rubbish in the charts, and give Bowie the incentive to carry on making music this good for another 35 years.
For me, the best songs are New Killer Star (buy the dvd single), Reality, Never Get Old, Pablo Picasso, Fall Dog Bombs The Moon and Bring Me The Disco King (maybe the Underworld Soundtrack version is even better).
P.S.: The song in the french advert was Never Get Old, and not Lookin For Water. You can watch the advert in www.davidbowie.com
A complete contrast to 'Heathen', occupying a different imaginative space entirely, this is a textured and tantilizing, immensely varied album. Pretty much what you expect from David Bowie.
And it makes you want to dance.
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