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Bowie's "Reality" is a real triumph.

Old 09-21-03, 04:44 PM
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Bowie's "Reality" is a real triumph.

Like the thread title, I learned how to write reviews from Gene Shallat .

Anywho, I just finished listening to this album, and I can safely say this is one of the best of 2003. While, that may not seem like glowing praise, 2003 is not even close to over, I can count the number of albums from this year that I like on one hand.

I have not heard his previous "comeback" album, Heathen. However, as any rock fan can tell you, it's usually the album after the one that the critic's dub a comeback, that finds the artists hitting a creative strive (read: Bridges To Babylon and Love and Theft).

Before hearing Reality, I thought Bowie was washed up. And to an extent he is. Like most aging rockers, his new material may be great, but they will forever be carrying their back catalog tunes like a ball and chain or security blanket (depending on how you look at it.)

In this album, Bowie seems to be searching for the same things as always, love, truth and a celestial bond with the cosmos. However, they sound sincere coming from a man who has been around the block more than his fair share of time as compared to a twenty-something in full makeup and unisex body stocking. I have never been a huge Bowie fan - I find his career to be wildly uneven and perhaps too avant garde - but his latest offering speaks to me a on a general level.

Is it too general this new appeal? Die hard fans may think so, since he spent some time co-writing some of the songs with production team, The Matrix. Best known for penning some of Avril Lavinge's songs, I think that The Matrix may have distilled Bowie somewhat. It doesn't matter though, since songs are still great. Truly his new album shows that this artist's continued longetivty is something of a Reality.

My favorite songs:
New Killer Star
Pablo Picasso (Cover)
Never Get Old
Fall Dog Bombs The Moon
Try Some, Buy Some
Reality
Bring Me The Disco King

Last edited by Brain Stew; 09-21-03 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 09-21-03, 05:34 PM
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I don't think Bowie has ever been "washed up," although he's certainly had his low points, but even mediocre Bowie such as "Tin Machine" is still better than most acts out there IMHO. Bowie takes chances and my favorite kind of artists are the ones who don't try to repeat themselves over and over again. "Wildly uneven" is another way of saying "unafraid of change" IMHO, but that's just me. And "too avant garde" is more of a compliment in my eyes than anything else.

Anyway I really am enjoying "Reality" so far, but I'm not going to get on the bandwagon that always seems to declare Bowie's latest his "best since 'Scary Monsters'" or somesuch -- the whole point of Bowie is not comparing his work so much to what came before. If that makes any sense.

Back to "Reality" -- it continues some of the same lyrical thoughts and musical tones set in "Heathen," I think, they very much come off as companion albums. Right now I still like "Heathen" slightly more bt I think that's because I'm more used to it. "New Killer Star" is a fantastic track, as is the "Pablo Picasso" cover and "Bring Me The Disco King." Also love "Fall Dog Bombs The Moon" (what a typical Bowie title that is!). Not quite as nuts about "Reality" and "The Loneliest Guy" but they may grow on me. Bowie CDs are very much living experiences for me, I grow and change with them and so I find it very hard to set one opinion on a Bowie album and have it stay fixed.

Stew, if you dig "Reality," you should really check out "Heathen", I think you'd like it too.
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Old 09-21-03, 06:36 PM
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Originally posted by Sierra Disc
...I'm not going to get on the bandwagon that always seems to declare Bowie's latest his "best since 'Scary Monsters'" or somesuch...

...Stew, if you dig "Reality," you should really check out "Heathen", I think you'd like it too...
I won't say that it is his greatest either, it's good though .

I will probably pick up Heathen sometime soon, I haven't thought about Bowie in a while, but after I borrowed this from a friend, I realize I need to do some investigation.
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Old 09-21-03, 07:06 PM
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Heathen was excellent. He was smart to re-team with Visconti as a producer. I think Bowie has released some really strong albums in recent years, especially the underrated Outside (sequel, David? please? Eno is on the phone) and he's never been 'washed up' in my opinion. So I hope Reality is more of the same--good new stuff from the Thin White Duke.
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Old 09-22-03, 09:21 AM
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I'm not very impressed with Reality. I loved Heathen. Pablo Picasso may be the worst Bowie recording I have ever heard.
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Old 09-22-03, 10:15 AM
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I will say that I think Heathen is not only his best since Scary Monsters, it may be his best EVER. Reality, to me, seems like a b-sides collection from Heathen. Which is not a bad thing. I find it growing on me more and more as I listen, which from past experience I know to be the hallmark of a great album. The track "Never Get Old" is an instant classic.

Be sure to pick up the 2-CD version with three bonus songs, all of which are tops, including a great new redux of "Rebel Rebel".
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Old 09-22-03, 02:23 PM
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Originally posted by Numanoid
I will say that I think Heathen is not only his best since Scary Monsters, it may be his best EVER. Reality, to me, seems like a b-sides collection from Heathen. Which is not a bad thing. I find it growing on me more and more as I listen, which from past experience I know to be the hallmark of a great album. The track "Never Get Old" is an instant classic.

I agree... to me, Reality is to Heathen as Radiohead's Amnesiac was to Kid A. of the same material, but not quite up to par as the predecessor.
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Old 09-28-03, 11:05 AM
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Just a quick FYI for those or you that haven't picked this up: It's being offered for $9.99 at Tower Records as part of a 3-day sale which ends today. I picked it up last night and have played it a few times already. Great to hear him working w/Earl Slick again. He has always had a knack for choosing an interesting guitar player.
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