Yahoo! Launch - 30th September 2003


By Ken Micallef

Miserable over 9/11 and facing the looming ravages of age that even a superstar must accept, David Bowie bares his heart and soul on Reality. Bowie lives in Manhattan's Soho neighborhood just blocks from Ground Zero, that eerie closeness filling Reality with sadness, contemplation, and righteous anger. Bowie will never completely let his guard-guise down, but Reality is easily one of his most emotionally transparent albums. It also shows the Old White Duke continuing a string of excellent albums that began with 1997's Earthling, the run a stunning achievement considering that his contemporaries are gone to seed with their cash, kids, and oldies tours.

"These blackest of years, that have no sound, no shape, no depth, no underground" from "Fall Dog Bombs," well describes the music industry, but most of Reality is self-directed, as in the Station To Station funkiness of "Never Get Old," the ethereal weariness of "The Loneliest Guy" and the raging, Clash-worthy firestorm, "Looking for Water." "Days" sounds like folk-pop introspection from the late '60s (with Mellotron, Ringo-ish drumming and harmony vocals); "Reality" sums up Bowie's journey from "planet X to planet alpha" with blistering guitar and massive melodic hooks. So nostalgic is Bowie, he even covers Jonathan Richman's hyper "Pablo Picasso" and George Harrison's "Try Some, Buy Some" lending both a whimsical, yet certain, sadness. "Bring Me The Disco King" closes Reality like a smoky, slow waltz, Bowie asking to be "stabbed in dark," singing "memories flutter like bats out of hell." Reality begins and ends with 9/11, but its powerful music leads to the future, not the past.