Through his recent deal with Columbia, David Bowie can issue a new record pretty much whenever he wants.

Through his recent deal with Columbia, David Bowie can issue a new record pretty much whenever he wants. And, based on "Reality" (which comes fairly quickly on the heels of last year's "Heathen"), some might say that is not necessarily a good thing: While there are a few sly lines and flashes of that sinfully cool Bowie attitude (especially on the addictive "She Drives the Big Car," the album's best cut), these songs feel thin and not always memorable. On the eve of his first world tour in more than a decade, he and his touring band created these tracks with the stage in mind. And one feels that: So many of them are propelled by sharp drumming and throbbing basslines. The Sept. 11, 2001-inspired "New Killer Star" and the Modern Lovers cover "Pablo Picasso" should prove exhilarating live. The smoky, set-ending "Bring Me the Disco King," on which Bowie has toiled for more than a decade, is a delight.—WO