ISO / Columbia Records


David Bowie - Reality Cover.jpg (60490 bytes)

 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 year’s 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 Bowie’s 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 Bowie’s 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 Sane’s “Cracked Actor” as seen from the other side. There are also a couple of cool covers thrown in. A jagged version of Jonathan Richman’s “Pablo Picasso” and a luxurious take on George Harrison’s “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 can’t do it without looking forward. He’s looking toward the end and remembering the glory of wasted time. It’s sad and satisfied at the same time. It’s maintaining control of one’s self in an uncontrollable environment. It’s the end of the future. It’s pure Bowie.

Chris McKay / concertshots.com