I'm Afraid of Americans

Last updated

"I'm Afraid of Americans"
Bowie I'mAfraidofAmericans.jpg
Single by David Bowie
from the album Earthling
A-side Versions 1–4 (12")
B-side Versions 5–6 (12")
Released14 October 1997
Format
RecordedAugust 1996
Studio Looking Glass, New York City
Genre Industrial rock
Length
  • 5:00(album version)
  • Various (single remixes)
Label Virgin
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
David Bowie singles chronology
"Seven Years in Tibet"
(1997)
"I'm Afraid of Americans"
(1997)
"I Can't Read"
(1997)

"I'm Afraid of Americans" is a single by David Bowie from the 1997 album Earthling . The song, co-written by Bowie and Brian Eno, was originally written during Bowie's studio sessions for the 1995 album Outside [1] but was not released until a rough mix appeared on the soundtrack to the film Showgirls , and was subsequently remade for Earthling. A top 20 hit in Canada, the rework also peaked at number 66 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent 16 weeks on that chart. This was the final Bowie single which charted on the Hot 100 until "Blackstar" and "Lazarus" following his death.

Contents

Background

Bowie describes the feelings behind the song:

It's not as truly hostile about Americans as say "Born in the U.S.A.": it's merely sardonic. I was traveling in Java when [its] first McDonald's went up: it was like, "for fuck's sake." The invasion by any homogenized culture is so depressing, the erection of another Disney World in, say, Umbria, Italy, more so. It strangles the indigenous culture and narrows expression of life. [2]

Releases

"I'm Afraid of Americans" was originally engineered by David Richards and appeared as a rough mix on the soundtrack to the film Showgirls in 1995 (in which the chorus is "I'm afraid of the animals," instead of the later "I'm afraid of Americans"). It was subsequently remade for Earthling.

A CD single for "I'm Afraid of Americans" was released in the United States and Canada. The single did not include the album version of the song, but instead featured remixes of the track performed by Bowie's former tourmates, Nine Inch Nails, and drum and bass artist Photek. Nine Inch Nails' "V1" mix became more popular than the original version, in large part because of the accompanying video, leading to its appearance on some editions of the retrospectives Best of Bowie (2002), Nothing Has Changed (2014), and Bowie Legacy (2016).

The Showgirls version, as well as Nine Inch Nails' "V1" remix and Mark Plati's "Original Edit," were included on the bonus disc of the digibook expanded edition CD of Earthling in 2004.

Charts

Chart (1997–98)Peak
position
Lithuanian Singles Chart5
Canadian Singles Chart14 [3]
US Billboard Hot 100 66
US Modern Rock Tracks (Billboard)27

Versions and remixes

TitleMix and additional productionDurationAdditional credits
Showgirls VersionDave Richards5:12Produced by David Bowie and Brian Eno.
Album VersionMark Plati4:59Produced by David Bowie. Co-produced by Reeves Gabrels and Mark Plati.
Original EditMark Plati4:14Produced by David Bowie. Co-produced by Reeves Gabrels and Mark Plati.
V1Nine Inch Nails5:31Production and additional performances by Nine Inch Nails. Mixed by Dave "Rave" Ogilvie. Engineered by Brian Pollack at Nothing Studios.
V1 EditNine Inch Nails4:30Production and additional performances by Nine Inch Nails. Mixed by Dave "Rave" Ogilvie. Engineered by Brian Pollack at Nothing Studios.
V1 Clean EditNine Inch Nails4:30Production and additional performances by Nine Inch Nails. Mixed by Dave "Rave" Ogilvie. Engineered by Brian Pollack at Nothing Studios.
V2Nine Inch Nails5:51Production and additional performances by Nine Inch Nails. Mixed by Dave "Rave" Ogilvie. Engineered by Brian Pollack at Nothing Studios.
V3Nine Inch Nails6:06Production and additional performances by Nine Inch Nails. Mixed by Dave "Rave" Ogilvie. Engineered by Brian Pollack at Nothing Studios. Special guest: Ice Cube.
V4Nine Inch Nails5:25Production and additional performances by Nine Inch Nails. Mixed by Dave "Rave" Ogilvie. Engineered by Brian Pollack at Nothing Studios.
V5Photek5:38
V6Nine Inch Nails11:18Production and additional performances by Nine Inch Nails. Mixed by Dave "Rave" Ogilvie. Engineered by Brian Pollack at Nothing Studios.

Nine Inch Nails: Trent Reznor, Charlie Clouser, Keith Hillebrandt, Dave "Rave" Ogilvie, Danny Lohner

Track listing

CD and 12"
Virgin / 8 38618 2 (US)

A-side:

  1. "I'm Afraid of Americans" (V1) – 5:31
  2. "I'm Afraid of Americans" (V2) – 5:51
  3. "I'm Afraid of Americans" (V3) (with Ice Cube)– 6:18
  4. "I'm Afraid of Americans" (V4) – 5:25

B-side:

  1. "I'm Afraid of Americans" (V5) – 5:38
  2. "I'm Afraid of Americans" (V6) – 11:18
CD promo
Virgin / DPRO-12749 (US)
  1. "I'm Afraid of Americans" (V1 Edit) – 4:30
  2. "I'm Afraid of Americans" (Original Edit) – 4:12
  3. "I'm Afraid of Americans" (V3) (with Ice Cube)– 6:06
  4. "I'm Afraid of Americans" (V1 Clean Edit) – 4:30

Personnel (single)

Live versions

Sonic Youth performed the song together with Bowie at his fiftieth birthday bash in New York City in January 1997.

David Bowie performed the song at the Howard Stern forty-fourth birthday bash in 1998.

A version recorded at GQ Awards, New York City on 15 October 1997, was released on LiveAndWell.com in 2000.

Bowie's 25 June 2000 performance of the song at the Glastonbury Festival was released in 2018 on Glastonbury 2000 .

Another live version by Bowie, recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre, London on 27 June 2000, was released on the bonus disc accompanying the first releases of Bowie at the Beeb in 2000.

A live version by Bowie recorded in Dublin, Ireland in November 2003, was included on the DVD A Reality Tour , released in 2004, as well as the A Reality Tour album, released in 2010.

Related Research Articles

<i>The Downward Spiral</i> 1994 studio album by Nine Inch Nails

The Downward Spiral is the second studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on March 8, 1994, by Nothing Records and Interscope Records in the United States and by Island Records in Europe. It is a concept album detailing the destruction of a man from the beginning of his "downward spiral" to his death by suicide. The Downward Spiral features elements of industrial rock, techno and heavy metal music, in contrast to the band's synthpop-influenced debut album Pretty Hate Machine (1989), and was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Flood.

Trent Reznor American musician

Michael Trent Reznor is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and film score composer. He is the founder, lead vocalist, and principal songwriter of the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, which he founded in 1988 and of which he was the sole official member until adding long-time collaborator Atticus Ross as a permanent member in 2016. His first release under the Nine Inch Nails name, the 1989 album Pretty Hate Machine, was a commercial and critical success. He has since released 11 Nine Inch Nails studio albums. He left Interscope Records in 2007 and was an independent recording artist until signing with Columbia Records in 2012.

<i>And All That Could Have Been</i> documentary film directed by Rob Sheridan (2002)

And All That Could Have Been is a double album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on January 22, 2002 by Nothing and Interscope Records. The live album contains music recorded during the Fragility v2.0 US tour in 2000. Disc one is a live album of most of their normal set list of the time, while disc two contains a studio album titled Still, containing "deconstructed" versions of previous Nine Inch Nails songs and some new material. The double DVD set, sold separately, includes video recordings of the songs performed on the CD, as well as additional song performances and footage from the tour.

<i>The Fragile</i> 1999 album by Nine Inch Nails

The Fragile is the third studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released as a double album on September 21, 1999, by Nothing and Interscope Records. It was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and longtime collaborator Alan Moulder. It was recorded throughout 1997 to 1999 in New Orleans.

Were in This Together Nine Inch Nails song

"We're in This Together" is a three-disc single by industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails for the song of the same name released in 1999. It is the 15th official Nine Inch Nails release and is a single for the album The Fragile.

<i>Earthling</i> (album) 1997 studio album by David Bowie

Earthling is the 20th studio album by English recording artist David Bowie. It was originally released in February 1997 by Arista and Virgin. Co-produced by Bowie, Reeves Gabrels and Mark Plati, it was recorded in 1996 at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland and Looking Glass Studios in New York City following the conclusion of the Outside Tour. The album showcases an electronica-influenced sound partly inspired by the industrial and drum and bass culture of the 1990s. Commercially, the album performed better than its more experimental predecessor Outside. Bowie supported the album on the Earthling Tour in 1997. The album was reissued with bonus tracks in 2004.

Tapeworm (band) Nine Inch Nails-associated side project

Tapeworm is a defunct side project of Nine Inch Nails which existed in various forms from 1995 to roughly 2004. Tapeworm never released any recordings, but was frequently referenced in interviews. The band started as a side-project between Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and live-band members Danny Lohner and Charlie Clouser. Through the years the group expanded and evolved numerous times to include artists such as Maynard James Keenan, Atticus Ross, and Alan Moulder, effectively turning the project into a supergroup. After many years of rumors and expected release dates, Reznor announced the end of the project in 2004.

Daniel Patrick "Danny" Lohner, frequently known as Renholdër, is an American musician. He worked with Trent Reznor on numerous occasions, both with Nine Inch Nails and on the now defunct Tapeworm project. He has also played for Methods of Mayhem, and in the past was one of the founding members of industrial-thrash outlet Skrew, as well as one of the members of the Texas thrash metal band Angkor Wat.

Charlie Clouser American musician

Charles Alexander Clouser is an American keyboardist, composer, record producer, and remixer. He worked with Trent Reznor for Nine Inch Nails from 1994–2000, and is a composer for film and television; among his credits are the score for the Saw franchise and American Horror Story. Clouser was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance in 1997.

The Hearts Filthy Lesson David Bowie single

"The Hearts Filthy Lesson" is a song by David Bowie, from his 1995 album Outside, and issued as a single ahead of the album. It showcased Bowie's new, industrial-influenced sound. Lyrically, the single connects with the rest of the album, with Bowie offering a lament to "tyrannical futurist" Ramona A. Stone, a theme continued in subsequent songs. The song is also meant to confront Bowie's own perceptions about the ritual creation and degradation of art.

"Just Like You Imagined" is an instrumental by Nine Inch Nails from their 1999 album The Fragile.

Nine Inch Nails live performances live performances by the band Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails, an industrial rock band fronted by Trent Reznor, has toured all over the world since its creation in 1988. While Reznor—the only official member until adding Atticus Ross in 2016—controls its creative and musical direction in the studio, the touring band performs different arrangements of the songs. In addition to regular concerts, the band has performed in both supporting and headlining roles at festivals such as Woodstock '94, Lollapalooza 1991 and 2008, and many other one-off performances including the MTV Video Music Awards. Prior to their 2013 tour, the band had played 938 gigs.

Passive (song) 2005 single by A Perfect Circle

"Passive" is a song by American rock band A Perfect Circle. The song, originating from the Tapeworm side-project under the title "Vacant", was eventually recorded in the studio as "Passive" by A Perfect Circle around the time of the side-project's demise. It was the second single from their album Emotive, and peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart in 2005.

<i>David Bowie</i> (box set) 2007 box set by David Bowie

David Bowie is a box set released by Sony Music Entertainment and Columbia Records. The box set includes expanded versions of all Sony-owned albums by David Bowie: Outside, Earthling, Hours, Heathen and Reality.

<i>Ghosts I–IV</i> 2008 studio album by Nine Inch Nails

Ghosts I–IV is the sixth studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released by The Null Corporation on March 2, 2008. It was the band's first independent release following their split from longtime label Interscope Records in 2007. The album's production team included Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, studio collaborators Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder, and instrumental contributions from Alessandro Cortini, Adrian Belew, and Brian Viglione.

Self Destruct Tour

The Self Destruct Tour was a concert tour in support of industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails' album The Downward Spiral, which took place in early 1994, running until mid-1996, and was broken into eight legs.

Mike Garson American musician

Michael David Garson is an American pianist, who has worked with David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, St. Vincent, Free Flight and The Smashing Pumpkins. He is known for his improv style, never playing a song the same way twice.

The Perfect Drug Nine Inch Nails song

"The Perfect Drug" is a song by Nine Inch Nails written for the David Lynch film Lost Highway. It was released in 1997 on the Lost Highway soundtrack as well as a single from the score. Remixes of the song were released as an EP, "The Perfect Drug" Versions.

The Twenty Thirteen Tour was a concert tour by industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails to support the album Hesitation Marks. It marked the return of the band for live performances after a four-year touring hiatus. It began on July 26, 2013 and ended on August 30, 2014.

References

  1. "David Bowie: The FI Interview" by J.D. Considine, Fi magazine, October 1997, pp 36-41
  2. "''Earthling'' press release". Teenagewildlife.com. 25 June 1999. Archived from the original on 8 March 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  3. https://www.billboard.com/music/David-Bowie/chart-history/CNS/song/553564