Sunday Independent - 7th September 2003
The hazard of being David Bowie in 2003, and having influenced everyone worth influencing in living memory, is that when you open your new album with a track like "New Killer Star", rather than sounding like your own "Fashion", instead it sounds like "Girls And Boys" by Blur. What Bowie has realised, it seems, is that if everyone else is allowed to reference his backcat, he may as well have a piece of the fun too. Whereas his previous effort, the much-lauded Heathen, tried perhaps a little too hard to be everyone's idea of a classic Bowie album, Reality is an altogether more playful take on his past (and present). The cover of Jonathan Richman's "Pablo Picasso" ("Well some people try to pick up girls, they get called assholes/This never happened to Pablo Picasso") is comically callous in a way Bowie hasn't been since Scary Monsters. Conversely, "Bring Me The Disco King" and "The Loneliest Guy" are as beautifully lost and world-weary as he's sounded since Low, an intelligent middle-aged man's alienated and fascinated view of modern life. Which is all we can possibly expect. SP (4/5 stars).
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