A Very Bowie Christmas: Dec 23rd

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It’s already Christmas Eve Eve. Well, ain’t that grand?¬†

TRY SOME, BUY SOME: REALITY (2003)

Reality, as an album, is very much like Aladdin Sane, in that it is a continuation of the sound and music of its predecessor, in this case, Reality is the similar, younger brother of Heathen, though I’d consider Reality to be a softly nostalgic album. Many of the songs seem to be reflective of David Bowie’s long and illustrious career, be they referring to his past glories, or of the music that he grew up with or listened to.

Reality was the last album Bowie recorded for 10 years, as Bowie would become somewhat of a recluse after health issues, and quitting touring in the 2000’s, making this the end of Bowie’s output in the 2000’s, and it is a strong decade in terms of quality of music, rather than quantity.

My choice for the best song on the album is actually a cover, I really like the original songs, but I find the cover song on this album; a song recorded for the aborted Pin Ups 2, to be the best song. I guess this brings us full circle from me not choosing a song for Pin Ups. The cover is of the George Harrison song; ‘Try some, Buy Some’, recorded for his 1973 album, Living in the material world, after being written for Ronnie Spector. So Bowie covered the work of an artist, who technically covered their own work after it was recorded by another artist that wasn’t them?

Thematically, there are a lot of interpretations you could have with this song. Some consider it to be about addiction to drugs and using god as a means to escape from that lifestyle. Having listened to Harrison’s album, however, and the general theme of that, I consider it to be about the general dissatisfaction that one who lives in opulence¬†has, and looking to find greater meaning in life. Maybe that’s just the same interpretation of the song as the drugs and god idea, but I am going with my interpretation.

Bowie’s cover is actually very true to the original recording, which is both good and bad. I think a good artist takes a song and makes it theirs, but I don’t think of this song as being Bowie’s in the same way I listen to Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails, but it is close. Bowie’s cover is very good, and I personally rather enjoy it.

Reality is a proper album, with a beginning, a middle and an end. It’s direct, warm, emotionally honest, even and lets the thematic concept of the album- that there is no such thing as reality anymore – an opportunity to filter through. It is a good album that I would consider it to be very underrated, much like I feel Lodger was. I hope people can find this album and give it a try because it is a great gem.

 

 

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Ben

Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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