David Bowie – Young Americans (1975)

AllMusic Review: 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. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing:

All tracks are written by David Bowie, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Young Americans” 5:11
2. “Win” 4:44
3. “Fascination” Bowie, Luther Vandross 5:45
4. “Right” 4:15
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Somebody Up There Likes Me” 6:36
2. “Across the Universe” John Lennon, Paul McCartney 4:29
3. “Can You Hear Me?” 5:03
4. “Fame” Bowie, Carlos Alomar, Lennon 4:16


Schill Score:  6/10


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