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Young Americans

4.2 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 28, 1999
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 28, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: 1975
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Parlophone
  • ASIN: B00001OH7T
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I love this album. The original stereo mix is great. Great songs, great performances, great sound. I'm not even going to get into that. My review is for those of you strictly curious about the 5.1 mix.

The 5.1 mix, in short, is awful. If you've ever thought to yourself, "Boy, I wish that bongo drum was loud as hell" or "Why can't those backup singers sound like they're singing in a garage down the road?" then maybe you'll like this. The strut and soul of these songs is lost in the obnoxious frills of this surround mix. There are constant issues with the reverb on both lead and backup vocals. I'm sure the original tracks are hard to deal with, but the effects that make this album sound like a classic piece of coked-out 70's soul only sound awkward when shifting around in the stereo field at any instant. The only track that I find even interesting to hear in 5.1 is "Win". The worst tragedy of this remix is "Fame". It sounds so dry and brittle that I can't even handle it. This isn't "Fame". This is something else... Then again "Fascination" sucks pretty bad too. Man, what a waste of money.

The Dick Cavette show stuff is great though. Bowie just can't quit fidgeting with that cane.

(...)
2 Comments 49 of 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Bowie's Glam edifice is reclad in philly soul slacks and swaps Londons West End for Broadway.
During his two year North American drive-thru, performing Glitter caked heavy metal at night,Bowie was by day absorbing the sounds of Galdys Night, Billy Paul et al. By 1974, he had already signposted his change of direction on his Orwellian 'concept' album, Diamond Dogs. Listen to 'When you rock and Roll with me' and you'll get the picture. Just in case no one took the hint, he embarked on another jaunt around the states with a convoy of trucks containing a 'post apocolyptic cityscape' stage set, from which he sang soulfull renditions of his back catalogue. Listen to the resultant 'David Live' album and and you can hear radically reworked versions of, most notably, 'Moonage daydream', 'All the young Dudes' and a spectacular camp-soul version of 'Rock'n'roll suicide.
When his convoy of props ended up in the florida swamps thanks to a road 'incident', he reopened at the Curtis Hixon Hall, somewhere in florida (don't ask me to be geographically precise here - I'm from Scotland)as a stripped down soul revue. The Diamond Dogs tour was over and the 'Philly Dogs tour began.
When Young Americans hit the shelves then, nobody should have been surprised. They were however (myself included, all that knowing cynisism is just hindsight. I was ten!) and the 'chamelion of rock' had just managed another total reinvention.
The hype around this was magnified in the UK when the BBC broadcast 'Cracked Actor', a documentry that managed to portray a skeletal anorexic coke head as the most intelligent and (still) glamorous entity in the universe - in the eyes of a ten year old anyhow.
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1 Comment 22 of 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
I honestly think the Dolby mix listening experience depends on the type of fidelity system one has. I do agree with the previous poster that certain instruments really are much too loud on several of the songs, but I found the backup singers coming out of the rear channels to be really something else. The songs featuring string arrangements are especially compelling with Bowies' vocals centered, background singers in the rear and the orchestration lushly swirling around seemingly from everywhere. I don't know if Dolby DTS makes this sound better, but that's the scheme that I use to listen to just about everything, including this (I just prefer DTS over 5.1). Aside from the occasionally loud bass drum or percussion instrument, I just haven't found any deal breaking faults like the prior reviewer has. No disrespect to his opinions, but I guess people just hear things differently.

The five star rating is for the total package of this latest re-issue. The CD version of the mixes is outstanding, the Dolby disc while not drop dead essential, is nice enough to have. The Dick Cavett interview and the musical performances are both really very interesting archival things. Yeah they've been floating around forever as bootlegs, but now's your chance to get it legitimately. The liner notes are also excellent, tracing the path of the album itself and the Bowie timeline of events that surrounded this recording (like found on the Ziggy, Aladin and Diamond Dogs reissues).

So in short, no don't buy this if you're happy with whatever version of YA you have. But if you do have the cash to burn then by all means indulge yourself.

Young Americans was and still is, a great great album.
Comment 19 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
After "Diamond Dogs", the world was thrown off balance again with Bowie's rumors of hanging out in a Philadelphia studio with fans sleeping at the stage door. It was the same city he recorded the "Diamond Dogs" tour - the `City of Brotherly Love'. Black/White Soul Love music from Bowie? No way. Yes way. Although it was a strong departure, "Young Americans" has become one of those Bowie albums that are so unique and distinct in its character that you either love it or hate it. It's all true soul funk with the magical backup of the late Luther Vandross's voice. "Young Americans" made it as a modest single, but it was the collaborative effort of "Fame" with John Lennon that is the song of choice here. There is nothing like it anywhere in the world. Bowie's rendering of "Across The Universe" is an uninspired tribute to Lennon and "Can You Hear Me" is bland. However, "Somebody Up There Like Me" is a true funky bass driven number that completely satisfies. At the very least, this album is consistent and Bowie proves he truly has some serious soul.
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