David Bowie is a musical genius, in my opinion. But there are some who think that Bowie is only as good as who he collaborates with. I don’t think that’s a fair criticism, but it’s understandable why someone may think that. Say what you will about Bowie, but the man does have excellent taste and has always been on the cutting edge. For all of the phases of his career, here’s the short list of his collaborators: Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Mott the Hoople, Brian Eno, Nile Rogers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and, in the 1990s Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.
“I’m Afraid of Americans” was Bowie’s collaboration with Nine Inch Nails from 1997 or so and the marriage is a damn good one.
For the collaborator theorists, it is important to remember that collaboration entails both sides working together. So, no matter how good one side is, if you are not talented, the end product is not going to be of high quality. Whereas if you have someone like David Bowie, you don’t have to worry about a lack of talent. If he didn’t have talent, he would have been gone and replaced a long time ago.