David Bowie Trixie A. Balm - Essay

Trixie A. Balm

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[With Young Americans] Bowie's thrown in the towel on rock and concept music, preferring to boogie down to prosperity instead. Okay, Dave … shortchange us perfervid dupes who put stock in ya….

I personally feel gypped. By stifling his contemptuous tone, skirting scorn for things pathetic and mundane that haunted his prior work, Bowie is neglecting statement. By devoting himself to disco-soul, playing a purely commercial idiom in lieu of making new strides, Bowie is shunning art….

I'm unconvinced Young Americans is anything but commercial, unless it's another Bowie transition. The words trite, unenthralling, and masturbatory come to mind. Young Americans ain't got the visceral verve connected with most Bowie material; it's the epitome of every shoddy, self-indulgent delusion Dave could muster, have pressed into vinyl, and try to sell. (p. 62)

[Even] though I stuck with Bowie during his last stylistic change—wouldn't listen when Diamond Dogs was vilified left and right—Young Americans is a retrograde effort earning my heartsick disdain. I'd still be raving over Bowie if only he'd stop reaffirming his superstar status with tacky contrivance…. Hope this Young Americans in-strut-with-the-times sidetrack is just a passing caprice, as was the Diamond Dogs round-the-corner cataclysm. Lord knows we need a lot more auspicious artists and a lot less jive. (p. 63)

Trixie A. Balm, "Diamond Wog," in Creem (© copyright 1975 by Creem Magazine, Inc.), Vol. 7, No. 1, June, 1975, pp. 62-3.