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David Bowie - Reality CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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3.38 | 130 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Reality' - David Bowie (6/10)

Is this the last album from David Bowie? Releasing some of the most inspired and memorable pop and art rock from over the past few decades, the man has been a shaker of modern music; a man whom it would be safe to say to label as a genius. In any case, as far as swan song records for a career like his go, there would have certainly been worse ways to go. 'Reality' is a mature, albeit somewhat tame record from this man, and although 'Reality' does not see Bowie breaking any new barriers of music, it is clear that the artistic fire has not left this man and his work.

For the work of a man who had already gone through decades of work before, Bowie's 'Reality' is surprisingly diverse, coming from a number of different styles, moods, and sounds. 'New Killer Star' is an upbeat track that shows some interesting use of electronics, and 'Pablo Picasso' shows some quirky sampling and studio knitting of acoustic guitars. Clearly, Bowie never meant to stick to one style, and even as late as 2003, he still keeps moderately experimenting with new things. Although the album may not be so great in its execution, I can easily applaud Bowie for that much.

The songwriting here is a little less consistent and successful than I may have liked, although there are more than enough different styles to keep a listener interested throughout, and even a few songs here that I would consider excellent. The first two tracks show 'Reality' opening with a flair for electronics, and the way these songs are arranged are intriguing, although the songwriting itself isn't the best as far as powerful chord progressions or inspiring melodies go. 'The Loneliest Guy' gets some real emotion across however, and although being fairly minimalistic save for the melancholic vocals of Bowie, there is a lot of sincere feeling there. 'Never Get Old' or 'She'll Drive The Big Car' are rather bland tracks by my ears, but the song that really caught my ear was the laid-back closer 'Bring Me The Disco King'. Although Bowie is known best for glam rock and art pop, the final song shows him going into a bout of vocal jazz, crooning as if he were Frank Sinatra over some tasteful piano. Perhaps its just that Bowie felt like he wanted to invest more soul into a style he had not done much with before, but it works brilliantly, and Bowie's distinctive voice works perfectly for the jazzy feel of the track.

'Reality's strength is in the way these songs were put together, and Bowie's voice is incredible here. While the songwriting does show signs of weakness and being bland (especially towards the middle of the album), there is enough good stuff here for a fan of the man's work to check this out and feel satisfied.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |


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