Bowie releases two good albums in a row! Shocking, I know - Reality
follows the formula of Heathen
to the letter, although it highlights the latent rocker in Bowie more than the quiet elegance of Heathen
So Bowie is back to rock - throw in a couple of choice covers plus a couple of quiet elegant meditations, and that's Reality
- another strong album from the man.
Bowie works with Tony Visconti again, and bar one or two pieces of filler, Reality
certainly delivers. The album really doesn't have a lot of weirdness or indeed anything 'out there' to discuss - it is what it is - eleven songs from one of the elder statesmen of rock.
I've listened to the album over a hundred times, so I can safely say I like it a lot. It's just such an easy album to listen to, but a track I'd not really picked up on before is one I've only just got into. It's one of the stranger tracks in a way, the closer "Bring Me the Disco King". Running to nearly 8 minutes, it has literate and clever lyrics, a soft-brushed Jazz atmosphere, hints of Scott Walker circa Plastic Palace People
, and some lovely piano touches. The track had previously escaped me, which is weird, but I guess I focused on the more obvious material such as the opening "New Killer Star", a fine upbeat rock'n'roll opener, yet a song that doesn't surprise at all and is really just Bowie-by-numbers, albeit very fine numbers.
Of the two covers, George Harrison's "Try Some Buy Some" falls somewhat flat, although Bowie certainly gives the song a finely-tuned respectful vocal. The real gem is "Pablo Picasso", serving a similar purpose to The Pixies "Cactus" on Heathen
. You've got to love Bowie singing asshole
and going wow
, plus the wonderful guitar throughout the track.
"Days", "The Loneliest Guy", and "Never Get Old" all reflect on the past and present life of Bowie, varying from downright melancholic to smart upbeat pop music. All three are strong compositions. In contrast, "Fall Dog Bombs the Moon" and "She'll Drive the Big Car" are the lesser moments, not bad as such just slightly clumsy. Rated:
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews