Young Americans (Virgin 21905)
Young Americans was a welcome step toward solid record-making for Bowie in his mid-70's period. Buoyed by the title track and a burnin' cover of "Across the Universe," the album is seriously soulful and for the most part consistently entertaining.
The sound is more solid and the album as a whole is less self-conscious about its artistic pretensions than, especially, Diamond Dogs, which seemed to indicate that Bowie was truly running on (cociane) fumes.
The band here features future stars like Luther Vandross, David Sanborn, and Carlos Alomar, so you know this is a smooth affair. Bowie's singing has never been better, and the songwriting is tight, successful pop. It sounds much like Yoko Ono's albums from the same era, but minus the true incisiveness.
Much of the album, however, is highly unmemorable: "Win," "Fascination," "Right" can you hum any of these? They're fine songs, but by no means brilliant. "Can You Hear Me" is very good, a midtempo boiler, but "Fame," which closes the album, is a piece of shit. This further proves my theory that anything John Lennon got involved with past like 1973 turned to stinky, stringy excrement.
You need further proof? Try Elton John's "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" on for size, jackass. Alright, alright, "Whatever gets You Through the Night" is great, but shush your mouth, I'm trying to knock down Lennon here.
At any rate, "Fame" is a crap song, and further evidence that without Yoko, Lennon could barely tie his shoes, much less craft a great pop song. Alright, alright, "Mind Games!" But shush your mouth anyway, I'm angry.
Review by Kermit Ash