On the allmusic.com website, this album was likened to capturing the sound that "Heroes" through Scary Monsters explored between '77 and 1980; Heathen was apprently the rekindling of music between Hunky Dory and Low. I really fail to see that connection. While I understand that Bowie was more melodically-minded on Heathen - I think motivated and anchored by what seemed to be a need to prove himself as an energetic and tight songwriter - and thus may have appealed to a more Ziggy-minded, glammy audience, I think he was aiming to convey a certain peacefulness (or even softness). His early '70s works, I would argue, don't take that road. They don't really try. Reality does, however, speak of the sonic raucous that Bowie was flexing within Heroes (especially tracks 1,2,4,5), parts of Lodger (tracks 3,9), and Scary Monsters (tracks 1,3,6,7,8). There's a more treble-oriented scraping in the foreground with a lot of tracks on Reality, which at times struck me as a kind of purposeful distraction from some of the smoother undertones. His singing, while more appealing and adventurous on Heathen, is no less impressive (outstanding on "Try Some, Buy Some", "Fall Dog Bombs the Moon", "Reality", and the highlight "Bring Me the Disco King"), as he hits dead on all the right notes (and perfectly lands the wrong ones- something I've always admired about his singing).
Absolutely worth buying, this album is good for much exploration on the listener's part.