So David Bowie has just released a new CD entitled Reality. Guess what? The reality revealed on this album is that Bowie has slowly transformed from the pioneering rock ‘n’ roll producer and performer of the 1970s into a geriatric, irrelevant classic rock dinosaur in 2003.
Many popular musicians (mostly in the genres of jazz and blues) are able to pull off the nifty trick of aging gracefully, like a fine wine or a really cool grandpa. But, as David Bowie exhibits on Reality, rock ‘n’ rollers tend to age like big-top circus performers; they become more of a gaudy spectacle with each passing year.
Unfortunately, someone forgot to inform Bowie of his current status as a pop music fossil. In the desperate-to-be-hip music and delusional lyrics of Reality, Bowie mistakes himself for some sort of rock ‘n’ roll Dorian Gray. On the song “Never Get Old,” Bowie sings, “There’s never gonna be enough money/ And there’s never gonna be enough drugs/ And I’m never ever gonna get old.” Hey Bowie, here’s a newsflash: check your birth certificate; you’re a geezer.
OK, so maybe I’m a little bit guilty of ageism in this review, but Bowie’s old age has little to do with the fact that the music on this CD is just plain bad. For some reason, he decided to butcher two great songs by doing a robotic cover of the Modern Lovers’ classic “Pablo Picasso” and a sappy tribute to George Harrison with “Try Some, Buy Some.” Both of these songs, and the entire album, are prime examples of overindulgence.
Bowie is officially the wealthiest entertainer in the U.K., and he has no excuse for churning out unnecessary albums like this one. If you are interested in familiarizing yourself with Bowie’s music, pick up a copy of Hunky Dory or Scary Monsters. But as for any of his recent work, I have one message for David Bowie: Ground Control to Major Tom, stop making albums!
[Alex Scordelis is severely allergic to Ziggy Stardust-mites]