Young Americans

Performers David Bowie

Virgin | June 5, 2007 | Compact Disc

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David Bowie had dropped hints during the Diamond Dogs tour that he was moving toward R&B, but the full-blown blue-eyed soul of Young Americans came as a shock. Surrounding himself with first-rate sessionmen, Bowie comes up with a set of songs that approximate the sound of Philly soul and disco, yet remain detached from their inspirations; even at his most passionate, Bowie sounds like a commentator, as if the entire album was a genre exercise. Nevertheless, the distance doesn't hurt the album -- it gives the record its own distinctive flavor, and its plastic, robotic soul helped inform generations of synthetic British soul. What does hurt the record is a lack of strong songwriting. "Young Americans" is a masterpiece, and "Fame" has a beat funky enough that James Brown ripped it off, but only a handful of cuts ("Win," "Fascination," "Somebody up There Likes Me") comes close to matching their quality. As a result, Young Americans is more enjoyable as a stylistic adventure than as a substantive record. [In 2007, Young Americans joined the pack of EMI's expanded double-disc reissues of classic Bowie albums. Here, the first disc is devoted to a slightly expanded CD of the original album, while the second is a DVD with bonus video material and surround mixes of the album. Music-wise, there aren't many bonus tracks -- just three, two of them previously released ("John, I'm Only Dancing [Again]," the legendary disco re-recording of the glam classic "Who Can I Be Now?") and a previously unreleased version of "It's Gonna Be Me" containing strings. The DVD contains Bowie's legendary appearance on The Dick Cavett Show from December 1974, containing his interview with Cavett plus performances of "Young Americans" and "1984."] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: June 5, 2007

Genre: Art Rock

Style: Rock & Pop

Number of Discs: 2

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Originally Released: 1975

Label Name: Virgin

UPC: 094635126020

Found in: Art Rock, Art Rock

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Young Americans

Young Americans

Performers David Bowie
Guest Artist(s) David Sanborn, Earl Slick, John Lennon, Luther Vandross, Mike Garson
Engineer Eddie Kramer, Harry Maslin

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: June 5, 2007

Genre: Art Rock

Style: Rock & Pop

Number of Discs: 2

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Originally Released: 1975

Label Name: Virgin

UPC: 094635126020


Title Track Time
1.Young Americans --
2.Win --
3.Fascination --
4.Right --
5.Somebody Up There Likes Me --
6.Across The Universe --
7.Can You Hear Me --
8.Fame --
9.John, I'm Only Dancing (Again) --
10.Who Can I Be Now? --
11.It's Gonna Be Me - (with Strings) --

Editorial Notes

David Bowie had dropped hints during the Diamond Dogs tour that he was moving toward R&B, but the full-blown blue-eyed soul of Young Americans came as a shock. Surrounding himself with first-rate sessionmen, Bowie comes up with a set of songs that approximate the sound of Philly soul and disco, yet remain detached from their inspirations; even at his most passionate, Bowie sounds like a commentator, as if the entire album was a genre exercise. Nevertheless, the distance doesn't hurt the album -- it gives the record its own distinctive flavor, and its plastic, robotic soul helped inform generations of synthetic British soul. What does hurt the record is a lack of strong songwriting. "Young Americans" is a masterpiece, and "Fame" has a beat funky enough that James Brown ripped it off, but only a handful of cuts ("Win," "Fascination," "Somebody up There Likes Me") comes close to matching their quality. As a result, Young Americans is more enjoyable as a stylistic adventure than as a substantive record. [In 2007, Young Americans joined the pack of EMI's expanded double-disc reissues of classic Bowie albums. Here, the first disc is devoted to a slightly expanded CD of the original album, while the second is a DVD with bonus video material and surround mixes of the album. Music-wise, there aren't many bonus tracks -- just three, two of them previously released ("John, I'm Only Dancing [Again]," the legendary disco re-recording of the glam classic "Who Can I Be Now?") and a previously unreleased version of "It's Gonna Be Me" containing strings. The DVD contains Bowie's legendary appearance on The Dick Cavett Show from December 1974, containing his interview with Cavett plus performances of "Young Americans" and "1984."] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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