Review: Reality

by Russel Baillie / New Zealand Herald

2003

He’s wasted no time in following up last year’s Heathen, the first album of his in an age, where the bold concepts which overbaked and quickly dated much of his 90s output didn’t get in the way.

It was a David Bowie album on which he sounded like David Bowie without trying too hard, having found a way to balance his artistic legacy, his position as spry but mid-fiftysomething music veteran, his lateral way with a song – his or someone else’s – and it showed he wasn’t tired of rock’n’roll.

It worked. It even sold a million copies to fans who may have finally forgiven him the sins of his 80s.

And here, it sounds like Bowie has figured it’s a trick worth repeating.

Reality would seem to be very much Heathen’s sequel and nearly its equal. Though it’s not as cohesive, and it does sound more like Bowie-and-band, with his regular live backing group – the ones he’s rumoured to be bringing to Western Springs in February on a world tour which is concentrating on his greatest hits – helping to give this a funky, wired feel reminiscent in parts of 1975’s soul set Young Americans and 1980’s Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) .

….It all makes for an intriguing set. One that may not have quite the focus of Heathen, but shows the Bowie of the noughties is making better albums than the erratic output of his previous two decades. (Herald rating * * * *)

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