David Bowie’s new album Reality is surprisingly disappointing. The songs aren’t bad, but they’re buried in layers of muddy noise and glazed guitar.
I am still listening to his last few albums, especially Heathen and 1.Outside, which were creatively composed, full of open space, gorgeous instrumentation, and the occasional all-out rocker. This album is almost wall-to-wall rock, but the sound is so echo-filled, so drenched in effects, that Bowie’s brilliant voice is crowded out and the songs eventually numb the ear.
Thus, “Bring Me the Disco King”, the fantastic finale, a long jazz song that Bowie apparently labored over for years, comes not only as a welcome surprise but also as an immense relief. It also seems like it belongs on a different record. The lyrics? They’re typically cryptic.
Outstanding tracks: “Bring Me the Disco King”
In five words or less: Muddled, mediocre, with memorable flashes