5.0 out of 5 stars
Bowie Better Than Ever, April 24 2004
It always baffles me when, going to a Bowie concert, the fans stomp and yell for all of the old hits and then hardly acknowledge the greatness of Bowie's work over the past 15 years. Bowie is now better than he has ever been, and REALITY is a perfect example. The lyrics range from the heart-rending ("Days", "Loneliest Guy") to the triumphant ("Never Get Old") to the bittersweetly elegant ("New Killer Star", "Fall Dogs Bomb the Moon"). With both Reality and Heathen, Bowie has given us the best poetry of his life.
Musically, the album is equally rich. The melodies are more interesting, the harmonies more challenging, and the orchestrations more rich, than on any of the much more generally vaunted 70s albums. His music has never been this good, which is an astounding proclamation given that his music has been so consistently excellent for the past three decades. In another two decades, we can fully anticipate that Bowie's albums will so approach divinity that the mere listening thereto will cause mortal heads to spontaneously explode.
But Enough Generalities...
NEW KILLER STAR: "All the corners of the buildings... who but we remember these?" is one of those perfect lines to listen to with one's beloved, where Bowie captures the true fragile beauty of the passing of time in the company of another being. Plus, the song rocks...
PABLO PICASSO: One of the covers on the album. Bowie's inflection here is great, as is the rhythmic sense of the piece.
NEVER GET OLD: There is one part in here where David Bowie says "Never gonna get enough SEX" that instantly liquefies the knees of every female I know, my wife included... it is a musical testament to Bowie's insanely immaculate virility.
THE LONELIEST GUY: A song about a man trapped with the electronic creations of his fantasy, so much so that he is paralyzed in his attempts to communicate with the world. A shudderingly timely piece.
LOOKING FOR WATER: At first, this seemed Average to me, but now it is among my favorites, suggesting the grasping arid cityscapes of Heathen that made that album so very very good.
SHE'LL DRIVE THE BIG CAR: A great idea for a song, detailing the desperately monotonous ways that people try and "grasp life", only to fall into more wearing cliches than they were originally experiencing. "She'll turn the radio way up high/find a station playing sad sad songs/just a little bit louder now/just a little bit angry now."
DAYS: If you can look at your loved one while this song is playing and not burst into tears, you are not a human being.
FALL DOG BOMBS THE MOON: Classic melody with awesome lyrics. One of the best.
TRY SOME, BUY SOME: Cover of an old Harrison song. The only real track on the album that I could do without, but a number of the professional reviewers seem to like it, so who knows...
REALITY: A little bit Earthling, a little bit Suffragette. A nearly perfect fusion of old and new.
BRING ME THE DISCO KING: If you happen to be in the right atmosphere, this is the greatest song ever, one where you can just picture this desperate lounge act melting into nothingness.