Thursday, March 30, 2017
Throwback Thursdsay: Young Americans, by David Bowie
In 1975 pop rock sensation David Bowie underwent yet another transformation in terms of sound and appearance. For the past few years he had been the glam rocking gender bending Ziggy Stardust, but when he made the Young Americans album he entered the next phase of his creative journey by transitioning into the R&B/soul singing well dressed and groomed Thin White Duke. Although many people were shocked to see him go such a direction, they stayed with him because Bowie is awesome no matter what he does.
Young Americans is definitely heavily influenced by the popular R&B music of the early-mid 70's. Bowie had become fascinated by it in '74 while touring and decided that was what he wanted to do next, but with his own creative Bowie spin on it. It is more mellow and grooving than the loud and raucous tunes Bowie had been writing up to that point. Incidentally, it features former Beatles member John Lennon on backing vocals and guitar on the hit single Fame as well as Bowie's cover of Across the Universe.
Young Americans is probably the epitome of the Thin White Duke style of music making. It has a lot of soul to it, but at the same time it has elements of Latin music to it as well. It's smooth, it flows, and has a great groove to it that you can get up and move to. It's necessary for any 70's themed party playlist. Lots of great vocal harmonies are in this one as well. Bowie definitely knew how to pick his backing singers. He nailed the kind of sound that was going 'round in that era.
Across the Universe is my favorite tune on this album and not just because it's a Beatles song. It's the way in which it was done. Bowie took this song and just blasted it into outer space. This time there is a full plugged in band playing it rather than just a single acoustic guitar and it is extraordinary. Lennon was so happy with the way it turned out that he said it was the best recorded version of the song to ever exist. That's saying something considering that is the man who originally wrote the song in the first place.
Young Americans is definitely one of Bowie's major landmark albums. It was outstanding then and it's a classic now. It's not my personal favorite Bowie album as I'm more of a Ziggy Stardust fan, but I still dig a lot of what is on it. If you're someone who loves old school R&B/soul then this album will most definitely be up your alley. Fans and non-fans of Bowie alike will find at least a couple of tunes on here that they keep as a permanent part of their musical rotation.
Young Americans, by David Bowie receives 3.75 out of 5 stars.
1. Young Americans
5. Someone Up There Likes Me
6. Across the Universe
7. Can You Hear Me
Buy the album on Amazon: