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Young Americans Lyrics

Artist: David Bowie


They pulled in just behind the bridge
He lays her down, he frowns
"Gee my life's a funny thing, am I still too young?"
He kissed her then and there
She took his ring, took his babies
It took him minutes, took her nowhere
Heaven knows, she'd have taken anything, but
CHORUS (SHE)
All night
She wants the young American
Young American, young American, she wants the young American
All right
She wants the young American
Scanning life through the picture window
She finds the slinky vagabond
He coughs as he passes her Ford Mustang, but
Heaven forbid, she'll take anything
But the freak, and his type, all for nothing
He misses a step and cuts his hand, but
Showing nothing, he swoops like a song
She cries "Where have all Papa's heroes gone?"
CHORUS (SHE)
All the way from Washington
Her bread-winner begs off the bathroom floor
"We live for just these twenty years
Do we have to die for the fifty more?"
CHORUS (HE)
All night
He wants the young American
Young American, young American, he wants the young American
All right
He wants the young American
Do you remember, your President Nixon?
Do you remember, the bills you have to pay
Or even yesterday?
Have you have been an un-American?
Just you and your idol singing falsetto 'bout
Leather, leather everywhere, and
Not a myth left from the ghetto
Well, well, well, would you carry a razor
In case, just in case of depression?
Sit on your hands on a bus of survivors
Blushing at all the afro-Sheilas
Ain't that close to love?
Well, ain't that poster love?
Well, it ain't that Barbie doll
Her heart's been broken just like you have
CHORUS (YOU)
All night
You want the young American
Young American, young American, you want the young American
All right
You want the young American
You ain't a pimp and you ain't a hustler
A pimp's got a Cadi and a lady got a Chrysler
Black's got respect, and white's got his soul train
Mama's got cramps, and look at your hands ache
(I heard the news today, oh boy)
I got a suite and you got defeat
Ain't there a man you can say no more?
And, ain't there a woman I can sock on the jaw?
And, ain't there a child I can hold without judging?
Ain't there a pen that will write before they die?
Ain't you proud that you've still got faces?
Ain't there one damn song that can make me
break down and cry?
CHORUS (I) (repeat 3 times)
All night
I want the young American
Young American, young American, I want the young American
All right
I want the young American
Comments/Interpretations
by wombat on 5/13/2008 6:45am
It's "blushing at all the Afro-Sheeners".
It's a reference to the hair care product Afro Sheen that was popular in the late 60's and early 70's.
by tstrobaugh on 7/10/2008 2:10pm
Have you have been an hung-American?
Just you and your idol singing falsetto

by Juán Nahuel Amarante Cortés on 7/16/2008 12:22pm
Right
by Stardust Girl on 9/4/2008 7:35pm
Uhhh hey man you got some lyrics wrong. hee hee
by zep on 9/13/2008 2:41am
afro sheeners yam bag!!
by beamer on 11/19/2008 10:55pm
I remember Nixon, but what on earth prompted all those lyrics? What was he thinking? I just don't understand.
by cascadia07 on 2/2/2010 8:00pm
best song ever!
by enoon on 6/6/2010 4:52pm
look at your hands shake
by Sherry Bennett on 6/16/2010 5:59pm
Why don't we just acknowledge it--most of the time the lyrics make no sense. This is a great example of that.
by Roger B on 7/15/2010 4:09am
These lyrics make perfect sense, they paint a picture of an American youth with no sense of or regard for their history and just living for today.

All the lyrics are of American imagery that Bowie probably encountered when he moved to America.

It culminates with the Young American not being able to stir their their emotions through music "aint' there one damn song that can make me break down and cry?".

It's a criticism cleverly disguised as a celebration due to the uplifting melody and choruses, just like Born In The USA was.

BTW, it's ainto too proud that you struck our faces.
by matfan on 2/5/2011 3:27pm
Mama's got a Trans am, look at your hands shake.
by ANTHONY_SFM on 4/8/2011 3:05pm
I think my friend Roger B here, practically explained the song's meaning. Well done, thats what i would have said, but in a more simple and stupid way. hahahaha
by Harry P on 6/9/2011 12:21pm
I also think Roger B has it right. In addition, here's some food for thought: The album (yes album) I bought way back when had the song titles in all caps and no spaces. This song appeared as "YOUNGAMERICANS"
You can interpret that as "You NG Americans". Just a thought...
by ladystar on 9/19/2011 11:49am
love Bowie <3333333333333
by Jazzer on 1/2/2012 2:50pm
This song is about hypocrisy in the States, I feel.
It would give more meaning to the line, do you remember, the President Nixon, in reference to the Watergate scandal.
In the want, the ideal, versus the reality, and how some refuse to admit to the clash?
by Edward CLXIV on 1/15/2012 11:38am
This song is just more anti-American claptrap from the usual leftist entertainment crowd, a poor attempt at holding up the U.S. as somehow unique in it's flaws and therefore deserving of unparalled criticism. Speaking of unpaid bills Bowie, look into your own country's history (U.K.) and you will find more crimes committed against other countries than by any other nation. That fact doesn't play well in Britain, but its the truth.
by Edward CLXIV_sucks_donkey_dicks on 5/25/2012 6:23pm
Edward...you are such a dumb-ass douche nozzle. Sad, pathetic little weenie promoting your tiny thoughts as best you can while miserably humping your pillow all alone at night dreaming of being something important...but you never will.
by Oliver L. on 6/2/2012 11:04am
(I think) I understand all the lyrics except:

Just you and your idol singing falsetto 'bout
Leather, leather everywhere, and
Not a myth left from the ghetto

Well, ain't that poster love?

Black's got respect,

I got a suite and you got defeat

Ain't you proud that you've still got faces?

The song in general is about the racism, superficiality and ahistoricity of American culture and the suffering that that engenders. (I find it extremely powerful and enjoyable but somewhat over the top in its anti-Americanism [I'm Euro-Asian-American so I think I have good perspective. :-)
by Bunny007 on 6/4/2012 9:45pm
Mama's got cramps, and look at your hands Haig-reference to Alexander Haig, NATO commander at the time.
Ain't you proud that you slapped our faces? References the American Revolution. Yes, David we are proud...
by arabiansanchez on 10/22/2012 1:58pm
Except those aren't the lyrics?

Shake, not Haigs

Still got faces, not slapped our faces.
by David on 11/29/2013 4:59pm
And it quotes a Beatles song too.


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