Young Americans


It’s still considered something of a controversial record, a necessary bridge between the glam era and Station to Station, and yet Bowie’s all-in on Sigma Sound Studios-dusted “plastic soul” is as beautiful as anomalies get. Bowie’s tinkering with the Philly sound goes beyond casual co-optation into something more alien, and all the better for it: thrillingly reflecting on a country he’s only visiting on the title cut, then coming to some staggering self-remodeling epiphanies on the panopticon-wary funk jam “Fame,” vulnerable yet life-affirming “Win,” and breathless coke-euphoria “Fascination.”

Nate Patrin

The apparent 180 that David Bowie did from Diamond Dogs to Young Americans was anything but in retrospect; while Bowie’s musical focus certainly had shifted from heavier rock to the smooth sound of Philly soul over the course of the Diamond Dogs tour, he retained his interest in observation, teasing out darker moments and delivering wry critique. Both the remarkable title track and his smash pop/funk hit “Fame” captured all that in full, while elsewhere on the album songs like “Fascination” and “Can You Hear Me?” highlighted further explorations in the form.

Ned Raggett