David Bowie

I'm Afraid of Americans [US]

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David Bowie needn't have recruited Trent Reznor to pilot this one-song remix project. His stamp is all over I'm Afraid of Americans' source album, Earthling. But while Bowie's full-length project exhibited a surprising amount of vitality, this U.S.-only maxi-single is just too derivative of Downward Spiral-era Nine Inch Nails to please Bowie-philes, and it only fuels mid-'90s criticism that Bowie was depending too heavily upon Reznor for ideas. Viewed as a Reznor project instead of a Bowie venture, however, it makes much more sense. As with all of Reznor's remix albums, just one cursory spin can bore or even irritate (it's not really necessary to know he's afraid of Americans every 15 seconds, is it?), but repeat listenings reveal each subtle sonic layer, not to mention the meticulous craftsmanship Reznor has poured into this 40-minute sound collage. Kudos also for Photek's minimalist contribution.

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