Reality (David Bowie album)
|Studio album by David Bowie|
|Released||16 September 2003|
|Recorded||The Looking Glass Studios, New York City|
|Label||Iso Records, Columbia|
|Producer||David Bowie, Tony Visconti|
|David Bowie chronology|
|Singles from Reality|
Recording and production
The album was recorded and produced in New York's Looking Glass Studios and co-produced by Bowie and Tony Visconti. Consisting mostly of original compositions, the album also includes two cover songs, The Modern Lovers' "Pablo Picasso" and George Harrison's "Try Some, Buy Some". These two tracks were originally slated for Bowie's never-recorded Pin Ups 2 album from the early 1970s.
Bowie started writing the songs for Reality as the production for his previous album Heathen was wrapping up. Some songs he wrote quickly: "Fall Dog Bombs the Moon" was written in 30 minutes. Other songs, such as "Bring Me the Disco King", was a song Bowie had tried his hand at as early as the 1970s and had tried again with 1993's Black Tie White Noise as well as the Heathen (2002) album.
Bowie and Visconti produced both the stereo and 5.1 mix in the studio as the album was recorded.
On the album's title, Bowie said:
I feel that reality has become an abstract for so many people over the last 20 years. Things that they regarded as truths seem to have just melted away, and it's almost as if we're thinking post-philosophically now. There's nothing to rely on any more. No knowledge, only interpretation of those facts that we seem to be inundated with on a daily basis. Knowledge seems to have been left behind and there's a sense that we are adrift at sea. There's nothing more to hold onto, and of course political circumstances just push that boat further out.
A contemporary review of the album by the BBC called the album "a proper album, with a beginning, a middle and an end. It's direct, warm, emotional honest, even and the surfeit of pleasingly deceptive musical simplicity allows the irony of the central concept – that there is no such thing as reality anymore – an opportunity to filter through. It's also rather lively and convincing." The same review called this and his earlier album Earthling Bowie's "best album since Scary Monsters."
Over the promotional period, the album was released in a variety of formats. The standard release was a single jewel case CD version, followed by the CD with a three track bonus CD in digipak format. The album was then released as a multichannel hybrid SACD, and then reissued with a bonus live DVD recorded in London.
Bowie took the album on tour in 2003 and 2004 on what was originally planned to be a 7-month tour.
All songs written and composed by David Bowie, except where noted.
|1.||"New Killer Star"||4:40|
|2.||"Pablo Picasso" (Jonathan Richman)||4:06|
|3.||"Never Get Old"||4:25|
|4.||"The Loneliest Guy"||4:11|
|5.||"Looking for Water"||3:28|
|6.||"She'll Drive the Big Car"||4:35|
|8.||"Fall Dog Bombs the Moon"||4:04|
|9.||"Try Some, Buy Some" (George Harrison)||4:24|
|11.||"Bring Me the Disco King"||7:45|
- "Bring Me the Disco King" was originally recorded by Bowie back in 1992/93 during the studio sessions for his album Black Tie White Noise, but for reasons unknown was not released until it made an appearance on this album (in re-recorded form).
- Limited edition bonus disc
|2.||"Queen of All the Tarts (Overture)"||2:53|
|3.||"Rebel Rebel" (2002 re-recording)||3:10|
- Limited DVD tour edition
The DVD features a promotional concert where the whole album was played live track by track. It was recorded at the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, London on 8 September 2003. On the regular CD a recording of The Kinks' song "Waterloo Sunset" was released as a bonus track. On the Canadian reissue, the live DVD was truncated down to five tracks.
- DualDisc edition
A DualDisc edition was released initially in the Boston and Seattle regions of the US only. The CD side contains the album, whereas the DVD side contains the album in 5.1 surround sound and bonus material (photo gallery, lyrics, biography, and discography). Of most interest is the otherwise unavailable Reality film featuring full length videos of "Never Get Old", "The Loneliest Guy", "Bring Me the Disco King" and "New Killer Star". About half a year later this edition was released countrywide in the US and Canada.
The original test marketed DualDisc version differs in packaging and in the design on the inlay card from the version that was later released countrywide.
- David Bowie – vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion, saxophone, stylophone, synthesiser
- Sterling Campbell, Matt Chamberlain – drums
- Gerry Leonard – guitar
- Earl Slick – guitar
- Mark Plati – bass guitar, guitar
- Mike Garson – piano
- David Torn – guitar
- Gail Ann Dorsey – backing vocals
- Catherine Russell – backing vocals
- Additional personnel
- Matt Chamberlain – drums on "Bring Me the Disco King" and "Fly"
- Tony Visconti – bass guitar, guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Mario J. McNulty – additional percussion and drums on "Fall Dog Bombs the Moon", additional engineering
- Carlos Alomar – guitar on "Fly"
- Greg Tobler – assistant engineer
|2003||Czech Album Chart||1|
|Danish Album Chart||1|
|Austrian Album Chart||3|
|French Album Chart||2|
|German Album Chart||3|
|Greek Album Chart||2|
|Italian Album Chart||4|
|Portuguese Album Chart||2|
|Russian Album Chart||2|
|Norway Albums Chart||2|
|UK Albums Chart||3|
|Billboard 200||29|
|Euro Albums Chart||1|
- Easlea, Daryl (2002). "David Bowie Reality Review". BBC. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
- Caroline Sullivan (12 September 2003). "David Bowie, Reality". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
- Buskin, Richard (October 2003), "David Bowie & Tony Visconti Recording Reality", Sound on Sound, retrieved 30 July 2013
- Reality (Review), metacritic, retrieved 16 January 2013
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Reality – David Bowie". Allmusic. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
- "Reality – Blender". Blender. Retrieved 16 June 2009.[dead link]
- Eric Carr (16 September 2003). "David Bowie: Reality". Pitchfork. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
- Edna Gundersen (15 September 2003). "Listen Up (David Bowie: Reality)". USA Today. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- (Portuguese) Ivan Claudio (24 September 2003). "Jovialidade sem botox". Retrieved 13 November 2010.
- David Wild. "Bowie's Wedding Album". Rolling Stone (21 January 1993): 14.