Skip to content

David Bowie – Young Americans (1975)

February 2, 2015

[Album 373/1001]220px-Young_americans

Every picture tells a story, don’t it?”
– Rod Stewart

Yes Rod, it do.

And an even more thorough tale can be told through a .gif digital picture.

Many thanks to Cinema Parrot Disco for sharing this Helen Green work of art:


I don’t think there’s a way to ‘pause’ but look carefully between 1972 Ziggy & 1980 Ashes to Ashes Bowie and there you will find 1975 cigarette-smoking Bowie!

This review has been through almost as many transformations as its singer subject but in the end, the .gif efficiently summarizes many pages of my gushing praise.

Young Americans is yet another essential, fascinating reinvention in Bowie’s impressively chameleonic* career.

Today, it could be my favourite of his records.  Tomorrow, it may not even crack the top 5; Bowie albums are tricky to rank as it really depends on listener mood.

Having a catalogue with too many delightfully diverse records to choose from is, of course, as nice a problem as I’ve encountered.

*My wonderful wife & I were discussing the idea of a female chameleon equivalent recently.  Is there a female artist who has had a similar .gif-worthy collection of styles & success?  Some may not put her music in the same stratosphere as Bowie, but it’s hard to deny Madonna’s ability to anticipate trends and reinvent herself (usually successfully) throughout several decades.  Are there others we missed?

From → 1970s

  1. Superb post. Love that .gif!

    Another female chameleon? I’d give a nod to Bjork.

    • Good call!
      I’ve just started exploring our Icelandic friend’s album Debut – Vespertine and Medulla are also on the 1001.

  2. Only Bowie could appropriate soul and pull it off.
    Amazing gif. Is that the speed young people process information these days? I want it in book form.

  3. Great post & I love the gif. Can’t think of a female artist who’s as gif-worthy, at least visually, although Joni Mitchell has covered nearly as much musical terrain as Bowie over the course of her career. I know that doesn’t count but it’s always a good time to bring up Joni.

    As for “Young Americans,” I think it’s an excellent album, although in my series on the Bowie discography I summarized it as follows: “This album has too many excellent songs to be considered a failure, but it was still his most inconsistent album up to that point in his career, with the possible exception of his self-titled debut.” I stand by that assessment, but I still like it a lot.

    • Thanks Rich!
      Nice call on Joni – I’m not too well versed with her catalogue but with 4 on the 1001, I’ll be familiar with a few more of them soon enough.
      I like the two versions of both sides now, such a powerful juxtaposition with her different voices.

  4. jprobichaud permalink

    Bowie, huh? I can’t help but think that 95% of his albums should be in that 1001 albums book of yours…

  5. I’ve only gotten familiar with a handful of Bowie’s albums. Mostly due to there being so many … and them being so different stylistically, too – where does a man start!

    I tend to agree with you about Madonna, too.

    … oh, and that .gif is a great find.

    • You’re right – where to start? Though I suppose there isn’t a wrong place to start, just enjoy the ride while hopping through the different sounds & styles!

  6. I was going to say Madonna, and there you wrote it!
    I love Bowie. I recently watched David Bowie: Five Years (2013) that looks at Bowie’s first five years in music. Brilliant.

    • That sounds like something well worth watching – and I’d like to think it’s a case of ‘great minds..’ with Madonna!

  7. Sorry but for me this is where he started to go wrong a little, became mortal. But there again I’m the sort of luddite who just wanted him to bang out an endless stream of Aladdin Sanes and I do really love ‘Fame’, so what do I know?!

    • That’s the beauty of Bowie – there’s an audience that probably lives for Let’s Dance, another that thinks he finally hit his stride in the 21st century!

      • I know, he is an astonishing artist. Low is my real favourite and that’s later again.

      • So prolific too – not many artists have had a stronger single calendar year than Bowie’s ’77.
        Maybe Dylan’s ’65 – but not many!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. More like 563 Albums in 6 years! | 1001albumsin10years
  2. Ian Dury – New Boots and Panties!! (1977) | 1001albumsin10years
  3. 1975 | 1001albumsin10years

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: