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David Bowie - Young Americans CD (album) cover

YOUNG AMERICANS

David Bowie

 

Prog Related

2.61 | 106 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Judging from this album's cover it looks like David has ditched his glam-progressive rock bi-musical personality and given us the ultimate sex album that we all knew he was capable of. It's a pretty funny tongue-in-cheek cover with soft air-brushed ciggerette smoke, spectral highlights on his bracelet, some kind of nuclear explosion behind his hair and David's fetching come hither look. So the question is, can David step into the ring with lover's RnB greats like Marvin Gaye and Barry White, can he take on Isaac Hayes, the master of progressive musical sex odysseys. The answer is not quite. There are some great RnB songs on here that deliver on the promise hinted at on David's faux centerfold album cover, then there are some other songs that probably should have been on another album.

Win is probably the best song on this album. Lush is the best word to describe this aural equivalent of a soft core porno movie. The strings and David Sanborn's late night sax playing are the icing on this delicious bit of sweet ear cake. Other songs that fit well with this theme of sensual RnB include Right and Can You Hear Me. There are some other RnB songs on this album, but they are a little more upbeat and funky. Some of these songs would include Young Americans, Somebody Up There Likes Me and Fascination. These six songs could work well on an album together, but then there are two other songs that kind of throw the whole mix off.

First of all there is Across the Universe, which is Bowie's plodding version of an already plodding John Lennon song. David tries to make the song more 'soulful' with his overwrought singing and it used to seem like it fit back in the day, but this song hasn't aged well and it no longer sounds like it belongs on this album. The other sore thumb is Fame. Fame is a great song on it's own, but it doesn't fit the rest of the album. It's too weird and harsh to fit with the other smooth RnB songs.

We are all too familiar with Fame now, it has been played to death on the radio, but there was a time when it would turn heads and either shock people or make them laugh. This song was on the cutting edge of the exploding mid-70s funk scene with it's hard post-James Brown rhythms, dissonant guitar chords and weird art-rock vocals and it gave Bowie access to a whole new audience. I can remember one evening in the mid-70s, I was chillin with my dance music loving girlfriend and the TV show Soul Train was playing in the background when all of a sudden I about fell over because there was 'Space Oddity' Bowie talking to Don Cornelius and the dancers about his love for soul music. Oh David.

OK, there isn't any 'prog-rock' on here, but if you want to expand your collection a bit, this might be better to put on the next time your significant whatever comes over instead of all seven movements of your favorite rock opera/symphony.

js (Easy Money) | 3/5 |

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