ISO / Columbia Records
Thankfully for those of us still listening, David Bowie has been on an even keel for his last few releases. Reality ups the ante from last years Heathen. That one bore the feel of his classic Scary Monsters in places and this one can be compared to Lodger. Like Lodger, Reality is both experimental and full of unexpected twists and turns without forsaking melody and solid songwriting. Highlights include the danceable, cool of Never Get Old, the frustrated narrative of She Drives The Big Car and the driving Looking For Water, but a few other tracks here can easily co-exist with Bowies best. Fall Dog Bombs The Moon is an extraordinary sum from ordinary parts. It feels comfortable and right, easy and meaningful in a beautifully subtle way while the title track is one of the most pumping rockers Bowies released in a decade. This is the story of an older man trying to connect the dots of his life through interaction with tragic youth and this is an area that Bowie knows well. In a lot of ways, Reality is Aladdin Sanes Cracked Actor as seen from the other side. There are also a couple of cool covers thrown in. A jagged version of Jonathan Richmans Pablo Picasso and a luxurious take on George Harrisons Try Some Buy Some work in very different ways, displaying the opposite sides of the fence that Bowie walks. The most startling track on Reality for me is the last one. Bring Me The Disco King is a sparse, jazzy dirge of air. Backed only by the phenom piano of Mike Garson and the drumming of Matt Chamberlain, Bowie looks back. Of course, he cant do it without looking forward. Hes looking toward the end and remembering the glory of wasted time. Its sad and satisfied at the same time. Its maintaining control of ones self in an uncontrollable environment. Its the end of the future. Its pure Bowie.
Chris McKay / concertshots.com