Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

David Bowie: Young Americans [RCA Victor, 1975]
This is a failure. The tunes make (Lennon-McCartney's) "Across the Universe" sound like a melodic highlight, and although the amalgam of English hard rock and Philly soul is so thin it's interesting, it often overwhelms David's voice, which is even thinner. But after the total alienation of Diamond Dogs and the total ripoff of David Live, I'm pleased with Bowie's renewed generosity of spirit--he takes pains to simulate compassion and risks failure simply by moving on. His reward is two successes: the title tune, in which pain stimulates compassion, and (Bowie-Lennon-Alomar's) "Fame," which rhymes with pain and makes you believe it. B-