MSNBC News - 16th September 2003

David Bowie's new 'Reality' introspective

Veteran rocker breaks out of character to reveal true self

By Ryan Lenz


David Bowie's "Reality" is an exercise in introspection, where reminiscences are draped in cloudy allusion and the reality of the moment seeming to be the denouement of his life.

It's a change for Bowie on his 26th album to cast an eye inward when characters he's become in performance, namely Ziggy Stardust, have created a barrier between artist and creation.

But on "The Loneliest Guy In The World" and "Never Get Old," a pulsating, defiant song about aging, the subject is undoubtedly Bowie.

"Bring Me The Disco King," a subtle jazzy narrative Bowie has struggled for a decade to record, reinforces the theme. In the lyrics, he begs to be allowed to disappear, blind-sided with the end.

The album is not without its edgier moments, the kind of pump-your-fist rock Bowie can bring. The title track, "Reality," is a charged anthem of youth and unfulfilled expectations.

However, "Reality" isn't a vehicle for commentary on contemporary times. Instead, it describes an artist nearing 60 and finding the world disappointingly clear and never what it seemed. (ISO-Columbia, $18.98)