Friday, February 26, 2016

29 Days of Bowie: Reality

Released on September 16, 2003 by ISO/Columbia Records, Reality is the twenty-third studio album by David Bowie that has him going into elements of rock and art rock while not yearning for innovations but rather have fun and play music while commenting on the strange aspects of reality. Produced with Tony Visconti, the album would feature the personnel such as longtime collaborators in guitarist Earl Slick, pianist Mike Garson, guitarist/bassist Mark Plati, bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, and drummer Sterling Campbell along with guitarist Gerry Leonard and keyboardist Catherine Russell who would be part of Bowie’s final live backing band as it would reflect an artist feeling vital and happy.

The opening track and leading single New Killer Star is this bopping, riff-based track with some wailing guitar notes, a wobbly rhythm, and Bowie singing abstract lyrics that play into a world being changed by new arrivals as it is one of his most playful singles. A cover of Jonathan Richman’s Pablo Picasso is an upbeat rock song with wailing guitars, driving rhythms, and some warbling electronics that has Bowie singing some strange lyrics that definitely owes a lot to surrealism as it includes some classical-based guitar flourishes. The album’s third single in Never Get Old is a funk-based mid-tempo track led by its melodic guitar and Gail Ann Dorsey’s driving bass line as it features Bowie singing in a wailing vocal for its chorus as it play into the idea of aging in a playful manner as it is one of Bowie’s finest singles.

The ballad The Loneliest Guy is a melancholic track led largely by Mike Garson’s piano, soft guitar textures, and Bowie’s eerie vocals as it is among one of the more simplest songs in an album that is filled with complex material. Notably in the upbeat, funk-based Looking for Water with its array of bopping rhythms, driving guitars, soothing synthesizers, and Bowie’s vocals as it features some very weird yet playful lyrics. She’ll Drive the Big Car is a mixture of electronic-based beats and textures with elements of blues and folk with Bowie playing the harmonica and a 12-string acoustic as it includes Bowie singing in different pitches while singing these offbeat lyrics that add to the album’s odd idea of reality. Days is this vibrant, folk-based mid-tempo piece that is later followed by its steady rhythms and warbling electronics as it features dream-like lyrics that have this imaginative sense of imagery.

Fall Dog Bombs the Moon is a steady, mid-tempo ballad with elements of folk and rock with some guitar flourishes from Earl Slick and Gerry Leonard as it has Bowie singing calmly to these dark lyrics that play into ideas of a world gone wrong. A cover of George Harrison’s Try Some Buy Some is a slow but steady piece that has Bowie sing Harrison’s lyrics while being accompanied by soothing synthesizers, Garson’s somber piano, and Sterling Campbell’s low-key drum fills. The album’s title track is this fast, upbeat rocker that features some crashing beats, driving guitar wails, a bopping bass line, and Bowie singing to these very dark yet strange lyrics that play into the fallacy of reality as he also adds some dark comedy to the lyrics. The album closer Bring Me the Disco King is this mid-tempo jazz piece that feature Garson playing jazz-like pianos with Matt Chamberlain’s smooth yet walloping drum fills and Visconti’s smooth bass while Bowie sings somber lyrics that are very reflective as it’s probably one of Bowie’s best deep cuts.

From the 2003 limited edition bonus disc version of the album are a couple of B-sides, a cover, a remake of a classic song, and a mash-up of two songs while another cover appears in a 2007 deluxe edition as part of a box set of albums from Outside to this album. The two covers in the deluxe edition includes a rock-based cover of the Kinks’ Waterloo Sunset that include some folk elements in its 12-string acoustic guitars as well as some synthesizers in the background while a cover of Sigue Sigue Spunk’s Love Missile F1-11 is one of the most manic as it pays tribute to its warbling synthesizers with some added guitar textures and driving bass lines into the song. The two non-LP B-sides in Fly and Queen of All the Tarts (Overture) as the former is this upbeat and bopping track with Bowie singing fast to some playful lyrics as it include some funky guitar spurts from longtime collaborator Carlos Alomar while the latter is a driving rock song with pummeling beats, melodic guitars, and an array of multi-tracked vocals where Bowie sings strange and surrealist-based lyrics.

A remake of the classic Rebel Rebel starts off with Bowie singing alone to a scratchy guitar and a cowbell as the instruments come full-throttle for the song’s chorus as it is one of Bowie’s finest takes on one of his defining classics. The mash-up of Rebel Rebel and Never Get Old in Rebel Never Get Old is featured in a radio mix and a remix where the radio mix is a very upbeat and playful take on the two songs that how both songs can become one. remix features elements of guitar elements of “Heroes” as well as some more pulsating beats and soft synthesizer wails as another version of the remix is essentially a shortened, edited version.

Reality is a phenomenal album from David Bowie that features an artist not only displaying a sense of enthusiasm but also feel as lively as ever. It’s an album that also features Bowie singing about the warped elements of reality in its darker and comical moments where it’s a lighter album but also a fun one. In the end, Reality is a sensational album from David Bowie.

Studio Releases: David Bowie (1967 album) - David Bowie (1969 album) - The Man Who Sold the World - Hunky Dory - The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - Aladdin Sane - Pin Ups - Diamond Dogs - Young Americans - Station to Station - Low - "Heroes" - Lodger - Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) - Let’s Dance - Tonight - Never Let Me Down - Tin Machine - Tin Machine II - Black Tie White Noise - Outside - Earthling - ‘Hours…’ - Heathen - The Next Day - *

Live Releases: David Live - Stage - Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars - Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby - Bowie at the Beeb - (Live at Fashion Rocks (w/ Arcade Fire)) - (Live Santa Monica ‘72) - (Glass Spider Live) - (VH1 Storytellers) - (A Reality Tour)

Soundtracks: Christiane F. - Labyrinth - The Buddha of Suburbia

Miscellaneous: Peter and the Wolf - Baal - Sound + Vision - (Early On (1964-1966)) - (All Saints) - Toy - (Nothing Has Changed)

© thevoid99 2016

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