Neil Young

A lesser-talented colleague of Mr. Graham Nash.
*special introductory paragraph!
*Neil Young
*Sugar Mountain: Live At Canterbury House 1968
*Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
*Crazy Horse Live At The Fillmore East 1970
*After The Gold Rush
*Live On Sugar Mountain February 1, 1971
*Live At Massey Hall 1971
*Crazy Horse
*Journey Through The Past
*Harvest
*The Archives Vol. 1: 1963-1972
*Time Fades Away
*On The Beach
*Tonight's The Night
*Zuma
*Long May You Run (with Stephen Stills)
*American Stars 'N Bars
*Decade
*Comes A Time
*Rust Never Sleeps
*Live Rust
*Hawks & Doves
*Re-ac-tor
*Trans
*Everybody's Rockin'
*Old Ways
*A Treasure
*Landing On Water
*Life
*Lucky Thirteen: Excursions Into Alien Territory
*This Note's For You
*Freedom
*Ragged Glory
*Arc
*Weld
*Harvest Moon
*Dreamin' Man: Live '92
*Unplugged
*Sleeps With Angels
*Mirror Ball
*Dead Man
*Broken Arrow
*Year Of The Horse
*Silver And Gold
*Road Rock V1: Friends & Relatives
*Are You Passionate?
*Greendale
*Prairie Wind
*Living With War
*Chrome Dreams II
*Fork In The Road
*Le Noise

It took me like the longest time in the world to become a Neil Young fan but I finally did, for kind of a stupid reason. I became a Neil Young fan when I read about how much he loved and cared for his son, who suffers from

Okay I'm blanking on it right now but something really bad. Cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy or something. And Neil has been the sweetest, most loving rock and roll father I've ever read about. Designing a toy train that his disabled son can use, starting a school for the disabled, leading charity concerts, taking his son on tour with him -- the guy just KICKS AXE.

Plus, as it turns out, he's made a ton of great msucial albums! His first msucial album was entielted NEIL YOUNG and it was good and his second msucial album was entielted EVERYBODY KNOWS I HAVE BAD TEETH and it was good and his third msucial album was called CROSBY STLLS AND FLAPS.

Mr. Neil "Carl" Young started off his public life with Buffalo Springfield (a band he was too good for) but quickly moved on to a very nice and friendly solo career that shot volleys back and forth between a right guard of country, a backboard of distorted guitar rock, a travelling of synth pop, a referee sticking his whistle up his ass in the middle of the court of folk, a bunch of Mexicans doing crazy rain dances up in the bleachers of whiteboy blues and a cheerleader not wearing any panties of X-rated fuck-rock. He puts out studio and live albums, both solo and with his loud band Crazy Horse, at a sickening rate, and always stays true to his principles: Be honest, always help a friend in need, and treat David Crosby as if he were an actual human being instead of a fat mustachioed piece of human shit.

And he's Canadian! Like The Guess Who! Don't give me no hand me down shoes!

Reader Comments

mysteryroach69@hotmail.com (Beau Mihalek)
Well, I just wanna be the first to say welcome back! More stupid jokes about 15 inch wangdangs please!

COSMICBEN@aol.com (Ben Marlin)
Great to have you back, Mark! Nice that you're taking on my fav'rit, too. These reviews are a great return to form: funny, of course, but your critical insight is awesome on this page. I disagree with some stuff, but I'm glad you've become a big fan of Neil. Looking forward (ha ha) to more new reviews!

Neil Young - Reprise 1968.
Rating = 6

At the beginning of his car-ear, Mr. Young played the hell out of his guitar, doing riffs like "Jailbreak" and "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" until one d

This isn't the best album Neil Young ever made. There's a heavy reliance on what I like to call "hippy chords" or "James Taylor strum-strums" or "wussy pussy fag riffs," which you'd really have to hear while standing just a few feet away from me for you to really understand what it is I'm describing, so forget it. Just drop it.

However, even though the majority of the tunes are slow and listless, they aren't ALWAYS hippy-happy nature -- the best tunes are, in fact, eerie and depressing as hell little acoustic-guitar driven ruminations on being alone. The two in specific I'm thinking of are "The Last Trip To Tulsa" and "The Loner," both of which stamp an indelible imprint of spookiness on top of your listening ear. However, most of the others have their pretty bits and sad mongrels to keep you listening. Nice variety too, between Byrdsy jangle, distorto guitar fuzz, and acoustic strummin' -- ALL OF WHICH WOULD BE STOLEN BY J. MASCIS JUST TWO SHORT DECADES LATER!

On a different topic, one of the more intriguing bizarrities that strikes me about this debut Mr. Neil Young television is that a lot of the songs just seem to end all of a sudden, like Neil ran out of things to do after the guitar solo so he just faded them out because he didn't know what else to do with them. Howe'er, even with my miner complaints (and don't they just bitch quite the lot? Hoo! Emphysema this, tar lung that) about fruity chords and pre-mortem fade-outs, it's a solid enough (if slow) solo debut.

Oh! Did I mention you'll hate his whiny Canadian voice?

Reader Comments

simon.langley@cmc-video.fr
I prefer the first album over Everyone knows this is nowhere anytime. I know everybody considers Everyone knows this is nowhere as the real start of Young's solo career because it's the first one on which he really kicks off his famous guitar style. You know what I mean, the slightly askew, slightly disharmonic grungy guitar work that endears Young to us all - still, I prefer this début album. I don't believe this album is at all marred by hippiness. Ok, so it's more hippy-like than the albums that follow but it's still a personal piece of work, not just a product of an era but achieving that universal, timeless quality...

In my home, it gets a lot more listens than Everyone knows this is nowhere (that never gets listened to at all). A six is way below the mark, Mark.

takac@panet.co.yu
Well I might hate my life but still - Here we have a nice LP that could (if there was some lack of faith in mr. Young) destroy something that's now so monumental - that it has more history then some countries back here...

First album had no succes! It had no hits, no significant contribution to r'n'r, no direction of any kind. No one knew what could be expected from this Canadian guy that doesnt even have licence to work in the USA...Damn, he could be no.1 in Canada! Why he came to USA to be one in the million?! Is it too cold up there?! Well it isnt for Celine Dion!!! Another marijuana influenced decision I guess...

Nevermind. I'm sure that neither mr. Young knew what to do with this 'musical talent thing' that he had ... It was the 60's - so who cares any way?! Them lousy hippies.

'The Last Trip To Tulsa' - shows you just how he didnt know is he coming or going, 'The Loner - good song that kinda stood to these days (not in THIS version though! Heh heh!), 'What did you do to my life' is a personal Favourite (Super backing vocals!!! And nice fuzzy guitars!) But: 'The old laughing lady'?! ''The emperor of Wyoming'?! OK I'm from Serbia. I dont know about this sort of songs. Easy listenning?! Ah, its beyond me...

And I'm pretty sure that Neil scratches his hair trying to remmember "... what was I trying to say with 'The Old laughing lady'?! Uh, I must have been stoned... Look - I made all of the songs begin with The...huh, those were the days...I wonder what happened to that San Francisco crew...And that Baez girl...Or Janis...is she still boozin'?...And Joni, ah! That Joni...I hope she cut that hair already..."

blais7436@rogers.com
I disagree with the rating of a 6 for this album. Although some of the songs do sound unfinished the album has an etheral feeling that sounds pretty damn good. 8/10

josephwahler@yahoo.com
i never heard the album, but i do hate the song "The Loner" which i've listened from Decade. this is a song that sucks a life out of this wonderful compilation. i can't stand the fuzzy guitar noises. it reminds me of ROTTEN EGGS!

i love Neil Young on other stuff before and after this shitty song, but The Loner is the song that definitely abhor the most.

nothing about lyrics but the annoying guitar noise from someone.

rkay51@hotmail.com (Ryan Kelly)
Funny you should bring up Mascis here, when my friend Stephen first played me Dinosaur Jr. when I was 15 and did not yet like Neil Young independently (that came with life experience...when I was....19) and just knew him because my Dad is a fan, I said, "what is this? sounds exactly like Neil young". The offending song in particular was "Flying Cloud" - seriously, J. has the voice and all on it.

I think whiney Canadian voices might be the fork in the road where the views of Kelly and Prindle diverge however...someday I will write in and comment on Rush, heheheh.....

Add your thoughts?

Sugar Mountain: Live At Canterbury House 1968 - Reprise 2008
Rating = 5

Here's my impression of Neil Young on this album: "Talky talky talky, look at me! I'm a talky talky talky!"

Here's my impression of me, sitting in the front row five years before I was born: "SHADDAP!"

Recorded on two boring nights in Ann Arbor, MI (where were The Stooges? Couldn't they have shown up and beaten him unconscious?), Booger Fountain: Jive At Cancerbury Louse 1968 showcases 23-year-old Neil Young playing some nice songs on his acoustic guitar every once in a blue moon when he's SHUT HIS FUCKING ASS MOUTH FOR A CHANGE. You know how much time he wastes blabbing about boring bullshit on this record? Fifteen minutes and fourteen seconds. Do you realize how many women I could make love to in fifteen minutes and fourteen seconds? (provided I'm given three days bed rest between each one?)

903.

But not Neil Young! Nope, the impotent Canadian that he is, he'd rather sit around and talk about tuning his guitar than ball slut after slut after slut on that small Ann Arbor stage as his local fans gasp in admiration. Granted, they might have just edited that part out, but surely we would've heard about it at some point.

During the few brief moments he remembers he's a musician, Neil performs six Buffalo Springfield songs, five from his upcoming solo debut, a song that wouldn't appear on record until After The Gold Rush and the terrible title track, which would remain blissfully unreleased until the Decade compilation nine years later. Some of the songs are already folksy enough to sound beautiful and perfect in this stripped-down acoustic setting ("On The Way Home," "Expecting To Fly"), but others lose their menacing power ("The Loner," "The Last Trip To Tulsa") and still others bear so little resemblance to the original versions that you'll be all like 'Oh come on' ("Mr. Soul," "Broken Arrow").

Neil Young is a great songwriter; anyone who feels differently can take it up with my fist. But (a) he hadn't written that many songs yet when this was recorded, and (b) his constant awful chit-chat makes him sound a lot more stoned and dopey than he actually was. Here are a few examples of the shining verbal brilliance on display those two fateful nights in '68:

"This is all being recorded! (loudly into left mic:) TRACK ONE! (loudly into right mic:) TRACK TWO! Just, you know, for recording purposes. (mischievously, giggling:) His VU meter's probably in there going 'KIH-KIH-KIH'! He's sitting there blowing his mind watching the meters! Ha! The meters. Who cares about meters. You guys don't care about meters, do you? I was looking at a thermometer on the microphone yesterday, and nobody cared about that. I thought it was different!"

"I just - You know what I used to do? Before I did this? Ha! Before I ever did this, you know what I did? I worked in a bookstore for two weeks! I'm not kidding! Nothing I say up here is a lie. I've never, ever told a lie on stage."

"It's really sort of neat in here, isn't it? With all the stuff? There's little candles and everybody sitting around."

(*plays "Classical Gas" wrong*) "I can never figure out the next part." (*continues playing "Classical Gas" wrong*) "Do you recognize it though?" (*crowd remains appropriately silent*)

"I don't know what to do. Does anybody want me to do anything? Songs?"

Yes, it was a banner two nights for Neil Young's brainstem, valiantly keeping the show going as his higher functioning lay sick in bed back home.

Add your thoughts?

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere - Reprise 1969.
Rating = 8

Reflective, Passionate, Bittersweet, Gentle, Autumnal, Organic, Earthy, Intimate, Stylish

These are all words I copied and pasted off of the All Music Guide to help describe what this album sounds like. Yeah, well they forgot REDNECKY. I know that a lot of these Canadian and British dudes in the late 60s got a kick out of romanticizing the old American South as if it were some sort of laid-back goodtime paradise, but I GREW UP THERE. The rural south is a shithole of racism, ignorance, smelly cows, lightbulbs that you have to pull a string to turn on, those filthy oldtimey bathtubs with the curves and cars with big Band-Aids on them.

In other words, I'm completely prejudiced against hicky stuff like The Band and the title track to this album and ESPECIALLY those butt-ugly vocal "harmonies" in "Round & Round." The south holds nothing but nightmares for me, so your city-raised tolerance for that kind of thing might be greater than mine.

Lucky for my own sense of self-respect, however, this album has sufficient charms to wipe that ugly stain of southern hospitality out of my brain. For example, the wicked guitar distortion in "Cinnamon Girl" -- featuring one of the wickedest codas you'll ever hear!!!! (until you hear Mudhoney ruin it on their second album - oops!). And "Down By The River"! Killing babies! Guitar solos! "Running Dry"! Minor chords and vibrato! Creepy viola or whatever the hell it is! Fear and Veging in Las Loathless! Plus, I don't know if it's the addition of that crazy Horse Band or what, but Neil sounds a tootsweet more confident on this record than on his "tentative" (ooh! A critic's buzzword!) debut. Decidedly so! And the songs don't just fade out after 2 minutes and 15 seconds!

And frap, when the country jive is as dumb as "The Losing End," even socially prejudiced Prind can dig it. For some reason, I can deal with that "wacky hoedown" sound better than I can handle straight shit-kickin' hick wailin'.

Look - YOU go spend a few nights in Maysville, GA. See how the fuck you like it.

Reader Comments

rangas@hotmail.com (Ranga John)
A totally kick-ass record.

This nearly gets my ten but for a couple of reasons.

a) I don't have all his albums yet and,

b) Of his albums I do have, I like some others better.

Nothing new can be said about the fan-bloody-tastic trio of "Cinnamon Girl", "Down By the River" & "Cowgirl in the Sand" - they all rock, however I gotta say that I love the title track just as much as these - maybe more on some days.

This gets nine little thingies from me.

alora@northcoast.com (J. Alora)
"Cinnamon Girl" will always have a place on my Neil Young mix tapes, of course, and I also quite enjoy "Running Dry", "Down By The River", and the thoroughly hick-ish title track. "Cowgirl In The Sand" is a tad overrated in my mind, though. The guitar interplay pretty and all, but I don't think it needed to be ten and a half minutes long. Still, an excellent record. One in a long string of nines for Mr. Neil Young.

Daniel Rosenberg
"Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" is the definitive Neil Young/Crazy Horse album. Though the band had only been playing with Neil for a week or two when they recorded this, they never did anything better in the following 30 years. The reason it's so good? Well, the songwriting, of course. But secondly, there's the guitar and voice interplay between Neil and Crazy Horse rhythm guitarist/singer Danny Whitten. Each of the three key songs on the album (Cinnamon Girl, Down by the River, Cowgirl in the Sand) features Whitten at his all-time best, before he destroyed himself with heroin and died three years later. His distinctive, country-twinged voice is a natural complement to Neil's, and on some songs, like Cinnamon Girl, it's the dominant vocal (Whitten sings the high parts, generally).

Whitten's guitar-playing also complements Neil's, and guides the rest of the band along as Neil goes off on his own with the lead solos. In some parts of Down by the River and Cowgirl, Whitten's rhythm playing actually is more interesting to listen to than Neil's lead. I agree with other Young afficionados that Crazy Horse was never as good after Whitten's demise. Frank Sampredo's guitar is generally overwhelmed by Neil's, whereas Whitten's was integral. Listen to the first long solo of "Down by the River." At one point, Young stops playing for a bit and Whitten takes over with some major power chords. Young repeats these on his guitar an octave higher and then goes off in another direction, but the point is, the rhythm guitar has set the tone. The interplay between the guitarists is about the best I've ever heard. (Listen with headphones for the full effect - Young's lead guitar is on the right and Whitten's rhythm is on the left)

Some criticism of the songs on this site is off the mark, I think. The title song is a hoot, and also is autobiographical (Neil telling his old friends in Canada that the U.S. isn't all it's made out to be). The lyrics on "Losing End" are turgid, no doubt, but I think this is on purpose. Young apparently wanted to parody a typical country song, and he does it well (I especially like his weird vocal outburst right before the solo). The three big winners (Cinnamon Girl, Down by the River, Cowgirl) are deservedly considered some of the best rock ever recorded by anyone. I don't think there's a moment on any record I have that's more exciting than when the main guitar and drums come in after the brief quiet electric guitar passage that leads off Cowgirl.

Neil's singing on this record was his best ever, and, as I said previously, his voice gets just the right harmonizing from Whitten, and from female vocalist Robin Lane on the beautiful "Round and Round (It Won't Be Long)" By the way, anyone who enjoys Whitten's performance on this album should buy the "Crazy Horse" self-titled album from 1971, which showcases Whitten not just as a guitarist and singer, but also as a talented composer. His loss was a tragedy for rock music.

JosephHFietIV@msn.com
The first I ever heard out of Neil Young they were playing Cowgirl in the Sand on the radio......Vegas actually had some pretty progressive radio stations in the late 60s and early 70s.......... and I just could not belief what I was hearing. Within a short period of time they were also playing Down By the River and I was a hooked Neil Young fan. Neil has done lots of great music through the years but nothing ever topped this LP.

watta502@yahoo.gr
This is an excellent album, and it did come out in 1969! All the songs here rule, but especially the two long ones in which Neil Young shows his talent as a guitarist. Also "The Losing End" is a great little pop tune. 9/10 from me.

takac@panet.co.yu
Now Youre talkin'!!!

Neil figured his way out of confusion by admitting that he needs somebody to back him up with SELF ESTEEM. And that would be key to understanding N.Y. \ C.H.relationship. Crazy Horse IS the main thing for Neil becouse with that wall of sound, and with their backing vocals - He can come up with enough self esteem that allows him greater freedom, thus greater creativity.

Where to start?! 'Cinnamon Girl' - superb! 'Everybody Knows...' - delight! 'Down By The River' - masterpiece! 'Cowgirl In The Sand' - best song on this album hides behind really really stupidest name.

This was the real beginning of the greatest American RNR career. Also, this album defined the sound and the song structure of every following NY album. Ya heard "Everybody..." Ya heard them all! Well Nearly all...

(Note: Those were my final words. At this moment Neil commands to the platoon in front of me: "Arms! Ready! Fire!")

wade8007@sbcglobal.net
This record has been in my collection for over 25 years and has never let me down when it comes to jamming with buddies or just hanging out by my self. I can't really rate it as a credible music critic, although it is programmed in my IPOD and I listen to it whenever I have a chance i.e.; on the road, at the cottage, or out on a mission; I listen to this record right behind Marshall Tucker's "Where we all belong" and The Allman Bros. 4 record greatest

chrispgibson@hotmail.com
The interplay on this album is amazing! Neil and Danny Whitten were the precursor to Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd in great folk rock. Down by the river, cowgirl and cinnamon girl are the instant classics the other songs are good, diverse and solid compositions.9/10.

ddickso2@uccs.edu
I'd just like to say that their has never been a more accurate portrayal of my (laughable) romantic resume than fucking "Cinnamon Girl," grungey noise-guitar and all. Wotta classic, there, Mack.

Now that all the Macks have left the room (See, this is prime evidence of why I would never make it in the world of literature and would probably get consigned with Ann Coulter (helLOOOOO, Nurse!!) and that one Indian-American chick at Harvard that got called out on her shennanigans. I plagiarize without THINKING. Without TRYING. Without BINGEING (or purging. Fuck my literary ambitions. They belong with Saddam Hussein's.), let's talk about the rest of the album. It's, as Mark said, rednecky as heck. I will speak kindly of pretty much every part of the album that has actual singing and isn't boring as snuh. Such things would be the title track, "The Losing End", and about 35.948756 percent of "Down By the River" and "Cowgirl in the Sand". T'ain't no such thang as cowgirls in the sand, Jethro. But that there's a fine melody on the vocals. And the album as a whole is pretty solid, but not as much as the subsequent one. Overall, I give it an 8.5. And I advise Neil Young to STOP BITCHING ABOUT COMPRESSION AND CD TECHNOLOGY. DOES ANYONE OTHER THAN THE PEOPLE IN OUR WEB COMMUNITY GIVE A DUCKING JIT? NO!!!! But you made some darn fine music here. I think he's neat.

Add your thoughts?

Crazy Horse Live At The Fillmore East 1970 - Reprise 2006
Rating = 8

i Appear to have left my notes at the workplace today, what with being all too busy to write a review. So now who the heck konws what I was supposed to say? Is this 45 songs from Landing On Water? An entire box set of Graham Nash covers? Neil's tard going "DOYEEEEEE" with his dick in a toy train? No no no, I have a memory and it says two things quaintly: (A) People have supposedly been waiting for Neil Young to release all this rare stuff, according to sources, and (B) his first release in this special "rare stuff" series is a stupid piece of tar incomplete concert from 8 million years ago.

Luckily it's really fantastic, though incomplete. This was recorded when whatsisname was still alive (Danny Whitten) so it includes lots of rednecky harmony vocals by Neil Young and whatsisname (Danny Whitten), but the recording is really awesome and you can hear everything terrifically, especially the fantastic, melodic guitar solos by Neil Young and Danny Whatsisname (whitten) in the 15-minute "Cowgirl In The Sand" and 14-minute "Down By The River." Those guys can play improvisational note runs really good! I mean REALLY good! I was expecting to be bored senseless but no such luck. Their solos are integral parts of the song, not Angus Young going "doodly doodly doodly."

The first song, "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere," is still a bit too rednecky for me personally but that's personal opinion -- and personal opinion says that the rest of the disc is great, great rock music. Also, only three of these six songs were familiar to the audience at the time they were recorded!. I just named them! They're all on Everybody Knows This Is Nomeansno by the Hanson Brothers. But the other three remained unreleased until Tonight's The Night (Come On Baby Let's Go Downtown And Buy Heroin To This Really Happy Music), Decade (a cover of the Pixies b-side "Winterlong") and Everybody's Rockin' (the very first Neil Young song I ever heard - "Wonderin'"). "Wonderin'" isn't quite as rockabilly as it would later become in the Dionysian psyche of Aldous Nietzsche America but it's still awfully catchy.

Is it key? Depends on your love for Whatsisname (Danny Whitten). That's hilarious how I keep calling him "Whatsisname (Danny Whitten)." Good god, I'm taking a gigantic dump all over my head because that's so funny. Also, Neil Young should eat a dick for keeping so many rare, supposedly awesome songs unreleased while making us sit through songs we've already heard a million times on a big special live release. I read this book about Neil Young once, and the guy was totally going off about all these unreleased amazing wonderful emotional songs, so why won't the Canadian Man release them? Do I have to beg? I ain't too proud to beg! That was a reference.

Peel Dung Shark-knives Turdforcramps Titties: Lazy Horsecock Pive Gat Dhe Jillmore Yeast Fuckyou970 is really good, but I can't recommend spending a truckload for it unless (again) you're a huge Danny Whitten fan. And if you are -- isn't it hilarious how his name rhymes with "Fanny Shittin'"? That's probably why he killed himself with that gun. Remember that? When he shot himself and Nancy Spungen with that gun? Poor Danny Whitten, with his throat hurting and not being sure how to follow up "Smells Like Teen Spirit." No wonder his wife shot him after he did all those Simpsons voices and starred on Saturday Night Live! It's just so sad about Danny Whitten, the way he was killed in a kitchen by Sirhan Sirhan, who had been hypnotized to assassinate him. Rest in peace, Danny Whitten! We'll never forget how talented you were and how it's so sad that you died while masturbating on a doorknob, you lead singer of INXS!

IMPORTANT CAVEAT: Drinks had by me

PS: The 'tard' bit was intended as "shock," not "clever." Luckily, it's NEITHER!

Reader Comments

fidelsjuarezg@yahoo.com.mx
"DOYEEEEEE" !!!!!

That actually destroyed my depression. Thanks for the laugh.

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
fantastic archive release - not perfect, because it is not complete. Dammit Neil! Why release it incomplete?

I can't get too mad at him, however, because Neil is one hell of a lead guitarist. That's all him - Danny Whitten's just playing rhythm. Great, great rhythm too, I might add. Whitten was one of the best rhythm guitarists ever.

Add your thoughts?

After The Gold Rush - Warner Bros. 1970.
Rating = 8

Awww now you GOTS to love that in a good Neil Young! The minute I peg the frig as a redneck, he goes and records "Southern Man," completely trashing bigoted rednecks just like I did in that last review! What's up with them, holmes? So Neil hates the people but loves the music? Ah well, either way - thumbs up to Neil for raising the ire of rednekkks extraordinaire LEONARD SKINNER'D. But that's best left for a review I will never write.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the CD booklet back in 1970 right after I purchased this release from the Virgin SuperStore in Times Square the day it was released was this sentence: "Most of these songs were inspired by the Dean Stockwell-Herb Berman screenplay 'After the Goldrush.'"

DEAN STOCKWELL???? As in "Quantum Leap"???? The fork is he doing get thanked on a Neil Young album?

But let's move on. No more dwelling on the Young/Stockwell/Bakula connection. Have I mentioned yet that Neil Young is a fantastic melodicist? Both vocally and musically, he gets it. He combines, country, folk, acid rock, pop and everything else you can think of and makes it end up definitively NEIL!!!

...Diamond.

But then he works a little harder on it and it becomes NEIL!!!!

...Hamburger. Perfect example: the title track to this album. BEAUTIFUL. There are no other words other than plenty of synonyms for the word "beautiful" that can be used to describe that song. Even with the insane falsetto vox. Mang!

Moving on to discuss another song: Have you read the lyrics to "Only Love Can Break Your Heart"? It's about how being alone is okay when you're young, but the SECOND you fall in love, you can't bear the thought of being alone anymore. I, for one, have been down that road before and am still on it.

You know, I've never really liked "Southern Man." I love the sentiments, of course, but I've always found the music itself too ugly to sit through. I realize that's probably the point, but that doesn't make the song any more enjoyable for me. But hell, it's a classic. Somebody shut me up!

Was I talking about the album as a whole? Oh yes! More piano, more pop melody, less hickiness and long guitar soloing, and some of the most phenomenally moving songs you will ever hear in your life ("Don't Let It Bring You Down"???? "When You Dance I Can Really Love"??? HOLY CHRIST!!!). But if you hate Neil's voice, there's nothing I can do to convince you that this album is great.

Especially since it ends with "Cripple Creek Ferry" - both a shitty little song and a reminder of the existence of Robbie Robertson!!!

Reader Comments

COSMICBEN@aol.com (Ben Marlin)
My personal 10, even if I had a giant page with every album I've ever listened to. Somehow, it always gets to me: makes me sad, but also nostalgic, which I think is a good thing. Every song is a winner: they're all depressing, but he divides it up into "happy depressing" ("When You Dance"), "sad depressing" ("I Believe In You"), and "fucking amazing depressing" ("Don't Let It Bring You Down"). "Tell Me Why" is one of my favorite songs ever - the mood is perfect. And don't listen to Mark (on this, at least): both "Southern Man" and "Cripple Creek Ferry" are great songs. If you can get past his voice - and you should - you need this one in your collection.

jfiero1@lsu.edu (Joshua Fiero)
This a fantastic album. "Southern Man" has the exact opposite effect on me that it has on Prindle - I think the music is bitchin', but i can't stand the "every white Southern man is a racist" sentiments. Sure, Dixie has some serious problems with racial violence, but hey, at least we've _got_ black people down here! Ya ever seen a black man in Canada? Neither have I! Of course, I've never _been_ to Canada, but that's hardly the point. Take that Mr. Neil "Hypocrite" Young! Plus, I love the Band, so "Cripple Creek Ferry" doesn't bother me at all. By the way, has anyone heard the Flaming Lips do "After the Goldrush!" It's pretty cool. Real weird though.

rangas@hotmail.com (Ranga John)
This gets a seven from me.

Good ol' Rolling Stone huh? You see they put out a magazine a couple of years ago with the 200 Essential Recordings that one must own and our good friend Neil Young had three entries in there. This album, Tonight's the Night and Rust Never Sleeps. I'll ge to the other two later but I don't know how this can be included over his far superior Everybody Knows This is Nowhere album, this is just aarghh! Inferior is probably the word I'm looking for.

I don't really have a complaint about any of the songs, it's just that the album is a bit too cute for me. Although having said that, the title track, 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart' and 'Southern Man' are great.

It's still probably better than all the other albums that came out that year, with the exception of course of Led Zeppelin III and Sunflower by The Beach Boys.

Jndiller@aol.com (John Diller)
Don't like this version of 'Southern Man'? Neither do I. Try the live version on (now wait!) CSNY's Four Way Street on disk 2, the "electric" disk. Said disk should be given a listen by all who dis cisny as a simple mellow folkie outfit, but that's OT. You'll hear Neil inventing grundge rock- in 1970!

ian.moss@yale.edu (Ian Moss)
Well, hmmm. I want to like it, but to me there's just something missing about this album. The hits are awesome, gorgeous (although I'm not as big a fan of the title track as most people), and even some of the non-hits like "Don't Let it Bring You Down" are amazing too. But some of those other tracks....the bird one, what was it--you know the one about birds--oh yeah, "Birds." Catchy title. Anyway, that one blows, and so does "Oh Lonesome Me" (well actually, I'm not really sure whether it blows or not, because I can't at all remember how it goes at the moment). Actually, "Southern Man" was a hit too, wasn't it? And I don't like that one much at all. But don't knock "Cripple Creek Ferry," dude--it gets stuck in my head all the time. That's probably the track I remember most easily from this album, scarily enough. Ah well...anyway this is my prototypical 7--a good album, but lacking that special something that makes some things special.

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Robert Chaundy)
Southern Man is MAGNIFICENT. Just so intense. Screw Lynyrd Skkkynyrd. Their music is terrible. And don't try economizing on fuel next time, boys, it's not worth it.

The rest of this album is also beautiful, therefore eight or nine out of ten.

alora@northcoast.com (J. Alora)
This is a pretty darn mellow album, "Southern Man" being the exception, of course. There's not much I can add that hasn't already been covered in previous reviews of this fine album, except that I absolutely adore the beautiful ballad "Birds". Nils Lofgren was 19 when he helped Neil record this record! Amazing work. A nine.

soul_crusher77@hotmail.com (Mike K.)
I actually don't have this album, but I'd like to comment on the flaming lips cover of the title track, which is great. Kind of a natural choice as Wayne Coyne kind of sounds like a higher pitched Neil Young, and even the lyrics seem kind of like something he'd write if you think about it. What pretty much makes the cover for me is that neat trick they do, where they start it off with this really chaotic drum solo thing, then have it fade into the pretty guitar strumming, but never have quite have it fully fade out, so it creates this ominous rumbling sound in the distance, and then at the end they turn it back up again. It'd be a pretty good cover otherwise, but that's the stroke of genius to it.

Daniel Rosenberg
Someone mentioned Nils Lofgren. There's a great story about this in that new biography of Neil Young ("Shakey," by Jimmy McDonough). Apparently, Neil was recording this album in California when he decided he needed Nils. So he called the 19 year-old Nils on the East Coast and said, "I want you to come out here and play piano for me." Nils replied that he didn't know how to play piano. Neil said tersely, "You're playing piano," and hung up. So Nils flew out to California and hitched a ride to Neil's studio. Neil immediately sat him down to play piano on "Southern Man," and voila, the song was complete. Nils had experience playing the accordian, apparently, so learning the piano as he recorded wasn't that difficult.

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
If it was warm she wouldn't wear much more...... I'm sorry.

I don't know how much credit to this guy......... hunh, it's hard to say.

This album is pretty hippie-ish, that's gonna bring down the score a bit, it always will.

Still, you can't deny that it's pretty good, what we have here is an excellent album......

I think I'd give it a 9 1/2 out of 10.

1.Imperial Bedroom - Elvis Costello & The Attractions

2.Rain Dogs - Tom Waits

3.Sign 'O' The Times - Prince

4.Graceland - Paul Simon

5.Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band

and somewhere down the list is the excellent Freedom by Neil Young.

..............the best album of the 80's.

takac@panet.co.yu
"Ok, we got the formulae - so lets try to recapture it."

Those were the exact words that Neil said to the staff. He kneeled in the centre of the circle like some kind of basketball coach or something...

I wasnt there, but that came to my mind so I made up the first sentence becouse I'm dull frequently...

'Oh lonesome me' . Not me. Neil! In the song! On the Album! Ah...

My favourites are "When You Dance...", "Dont Let It Bring You Down" (This is grunge! So dont you come up with Nirvanahs and Pearl Jams when someone sez "Say, wasnt there some kind of music that was like rock, but was also folk, but it was also harder like - alternative, ... What was it called...um...grunge was it?!") and "After The Goldrush". But all of the songs are good. And that horn was really an idea that only someone who has history with second hand marijuana smoke could come up.

The album itself is really consistent and has integrity. Neil (this time) knew what he wants to make of it. And he did indeed. (Except for horn. That was bad idea)

ddickso2@uccs.edu
Goddammit, Matthew Byrd. . .

1.) Abbey Road--BEATLES
2.) Hotel California--EAGLES
3.) Dark Side of the Moon--PINK FLOYD
4.) It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back--PUBLIC ENEMY
5.) Odessa--BEEGEES
6.) Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness--SMASHING PUMPKINS
7.) Automatic for the People--R.E.M.
8.) Bat Out of Hell--MEAT LOAF
9.) Blonde on Blonde--BOB DYLAN
10.) Suck My Ass It Smells EP--G.G. ALLIN
11.) His Greatest Hits, Live!!--MICHAEL BOLTON'S FEMININE SIDE

I am a joob.

But Neil isn't. Here we have a classic example of how to make great music with almost no melody at all and an extremely annoying voice. One of the best examples of ball-less wimpy folk un-catchy noodlings in my limited experience. And "Birds" is so frickin' lovely. Now if he hadn't ended the album with a ninety-second sequence of himself farting, this would be a masterpiece.

Remember: In eight days, vote the cut-and-run ticket. PLEASE vote the cut-and-run ticket.

Sent: 10/30/2006

Add your thoughts?

Live On Sugar Mountain February 1, 1971 - Bootleg.
Rating = 7

On this hard-to-find bootleg, Mar. ajkle plays all by his lonesome on acoustic guitar and piano, debuting 4 AWESOME songs that would end up in much more overproduced form on Harvest, as well as telling some hilarious little jokes that are inaudible to the record listener, doing the crowd pleaser anti-policeman "Ohio" and ruining the overall experience with a 10-minute version of "Sugar Mountain," which gets my vote for Absolute Worst Song Ever Written And Recorded By Neil Young (even HE admits that the fourth verse is among the worst material he's ever written - and he admits this to the audience WHILE HE'S PLAYING THE SONG! - which, come to think of it, makes the 10-minute version farily entertaining, at least during the 2-minute section when he's trashing himself for having written such a bad verse). I just hate fuckin' "Sugar Mountain." No, hate is a very strong word. We shouldn't daddle with that which we doth not understand. And that includes the inside of my colon. Where are "Love In Mind" and "See The Girl Dance" from? They suck, but I'm curious to know whether they're Buffalo Springfield songs or what. Inform me! My name is Mark David Chapman and I will shoot you!

Reader Comments

educey@juno.com
Hey - "Love In Mind" was only released officially on Time Fades Away, a live album released after Harvest to piss off his pop fans. "Dance, Dance, Dance" was never officially released by Neil, but was recorded by Crazy Horse on their first LP.

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Live At Massey Hall 1971 - Reprise 2007
Rating = 8

"The Needle And The Damage Done" is one of the most harrowing anti-drug songs I've ever heard in my life. So why do I keep singing the words to "Drive My Car" to it?

"I asked a girl what she wanted to be... She said 'Baby, can't you see.... Whoa-oh, come drive my car...'"

I guess I just like how it makes the jovial Beatles song sound so much more foreboding - like the girl is a mysterious apparition who keeps pleading from the afterlife for you to drive her car, then you finally agree and she does something scary and makes you go RUNNING OFF THE ROAD INTO A TREE!!!! I call it "The Needling Bitch And The Damaged Car."

This lengthy CD features a solo Neil Young performing 12 songs on acoustic guitar, 6 on piano, and 18 on vocals. When the songs are this sparse and spare, you spar in a spa, sp s.

When the songs are this raw and unadorned, it becomes evident that Neil Young had already written more great songs at age 25 than most people do in 14,000,000 lifetimes. These melodies are so beautiful, smart, melancholy, pissed-off, romantic, hopeful and pastoral! Incredible songs like "Ohio," "Tell Me Why," "Old Man," "Journey Through The Past," "Heart Of Gold," "A Man Needs A Maid," "Don't Let It Bring You Down," "There's A World," "Down By The River," "The Needle And The Damage Done," "See The Sky About To Rain" -- and he'd already written ALL of these by 1971!!! Dude, he's put out like five billion albums since then, and most of them don't suck hardly at all, much!

Another neet thing is that his audience at this January Canada show would have only known, at most, 8 of these 18 tracks. (Btw, the set list only has 17 titles because "A Man Needs A Maid" and "Heart Of Gold" are presented as a medley. I'm counting them as two different songs though.) They would know the two CSNY songs (btw, did you know that the "Ohio" single was released ONE WEEK after the Kent State shootings? Literally eat your heart out, Tom "Peace In L.A." Petty!), the two Buffalo Springfielders, and the two each from Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After The Gold Rush. But this was their very first contact with the as-yet-unreleased five Harvest, two Time Fades Away and one On The Beach tracks. And don't even get me STARTED about the shitty redneck "Dance Dance Dance" song he gave to Crazy Horse instead of recording himself, or the country-bouncy throwaway "Red Fog Of Loneliness" that he wrote especially for an appearance on The Johnny Cash Show (that was cancelled). I implore you - don't you get me started about those at all! Not here, not ANYWHERE!

And by the way, do you realize how amazing it is to hear a quiet, live version of "Old Man" that isn't interrupted by a bunch of assholes clapping in the middle of the first line? This crowd had never heard the song before! Also, near the end of the disc, take note of how about 5 different people shout out "Down By The River!" and against all odds Neil actually plays "Down By The River" for them. Who else does that? Nobody! People in crowds who shout song titles are usually just a-fartin' in the breeze, but not tonight! Not while Neil "Populist" Young is in town! (charging $120 for a concert)

A third neet thing is that Neil speaks a lot between songs - in a surprisingly quiet, soft-spoken, shy little voice you have to pump up the volume (copyright Christian Slater Industries And Limited 1990) to hear. These between-song delicacies include (a) Neil asking camerapeople to stop taking photos because their camera snaps aren't in time with the songs, (b) the revelation that "Old Man" was inspired by an actual old man who serves as a foreman on Neil Young's newly-acquired ranch, (c) his announcement of "A Man Needs A Maid" as 'a Broadway musical' and 'like a show tune from my movie,' (d) the statement "I've written so many new songs that I can't think of anything else to do with them but sing them," and (e) the vomitous fact that he is preparing for a Johnny Cash Show appearance with the truly rotten James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt -- and the audience CLAPS upon hearing this!!! Was Neil Young seriously considered part of the same soft rock shit music depressing kill yourself asshole wimpy scene as THOSE two flaccid penises? If so, it's because he foolishly hung around with Crosby, Stills & The Other Soft Rock Pussy. Because Neil Young is, was, and always will be a ROCKKKER!!!! (Except Old Ways) YOU HEAR ME??? A ROCKKKER!!!!! (aside from Harvest Moon) THAT'S RIGHT, I SAID A R(and Comes A Time) THAT'S RIGHT I SAID A R

Official MarkPrindle.com interview transcriber Jim Laakso loathes Neil Young with every core of his being (I believe his actual quote was "If I were Neil Young's son, I'd be a tard too, the prick. The motherfucking prick.") (Okay, he didn't really say that.), but even HE couldn't resist the gentle, melodic temptation of this music as it wafted through the air of our local Other Music record shoppe that fine April day back in '07. He bought it, took it home, fell in love, married it, and had four retarded half-digital children with it. Godspeed to you, James Laakso, wherever you are!

In summation, once again you can count on Neil Young to deliver the goods for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve when his sleigh breaks down. Yes, no matter whether he's breaking Prairie Wind or Living With Warts, Neil Young is the oldest Canadian in America!

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Crazy Horse (not featuring Neil Young) - Warner Bros. 1971
Rating = 7

I may be a pathological liar, but I'm not going to lie to you. Neil Young doesn't appear on this CD. However, an enterprising young Dow Jones reporter told me he'd buy me a free real-life copy of this CD from Amazon if I would only agree to review it on my Neil Young page. I call that a bargain! The best I've ever (*craps self*).

I come from the southern United States of Damnerica, and hold a pretty strong bias against "rednecks," "redneckism," "hicks," "people with Southern accents," "peckerwoods" and "crackers." As such, it took a few listens for me to warm up to Neil Young's Crazy Horse Without Neil Young. See, they're hicky. Their music sounds like The Band or The Eagles or The Southern Prairie Yeehaw Band. But because I love and respect Dow Jones News Service as a news-gathering organization, I tried to listen past those cotton field country road whiskey and iced tea TRAPIPNGS to the melody hidden underneath. And there it was! Melodies bound for justice on the holy water trail of Gumption! Lovely pop/rock melodies as performed by Crazy Horse as you knew them ("Shittin'" Danny Whitten, "Suckmypeena" Ralph Molina and "" Billy Talbot), along with their bigname friends Jack Nitzsche (a true "Superman" of Rock) and Nils Lofgren of Grin fame. Most of them wrote and sang, and the musical accompaniment ranges from fiddle hoedown to sleazy west coast death rock to downhome old-timey piano playing to sad acoustic balladry for hippy longstockings.

What I personally found most surprising on first listen was the discovery that three songs I know well by other artists in fact appeared RIGHT HERE years earlier! You know Rod Stewart's "I Don't Want To Talk About It," right? Sure you do. Who doesn't love Atlantic Crossing? Whoever it is, I have no desire to meet that man. And you know "Beggars Day" by Nazareth? The ass-kickingest song on Hair Of The Dog? NILS LOFGREN wrote the pecker!!!! And here it is - played "Life In The Fast Lane"-style! Nazareth's version is superior, but that's no surprise if you've heard their amazing versions of "Love Hurts" and "This Flight Tonight." It may be a bit more of a surprise if you've heard their horrifyingly penis-up-the-ass version of "Ruby Tuesday." And lastly (third), have you ever heard that song "Downtown" by Neil Young? That he included on Tonight's The Night, an album about the death of Crazy Horse's Danny Whitten? Well, you're never gonna believe this, but - Actually, you might want to sit down, because this is pretty surprising.

Reader Comments

Daniel Rosenberg
It's a shame more people don't know about this album, a nearly forgotten treasure recorded in late 1970. Carolay is a fantastic track co-written by Jack Nitzsche with almost a Phil Specter-like sound and a very catchy melody. Had it been released as a single, it would have had top-10 potential. You never hear this song, or any of the songs here, on the radio today, which is too bad because they're better than much of the garbage that passes for classic rock on so many stations.

Many of the album's other songs are also memorable and enjoyable, and the guitars sound wonderful. I give the album nine stars rather than 10 because a couple tracks aren't quite as good as the rest, but these don't detract much from the overall package. Best tracks, besides Carolay, are Look at All the Things, Downtown, Nobody (written by rock legend Nils Lofgren and sung by Danny Whitten with great backing vocals from Lofgren) and I Don't Want to Talk About It. The version of Nobody on this album is better than Nils' version of it with Grin, his own band. However, the version of Downtown here, while very good, doesn't quite match the really rocking sound it gets on Neil Young's Tonight's the Night album (titled Come On Baby Let's Go Downtown). That version was recorded in concert in early 1970, and has great backing vocals from Young with a lead vocal by Whitten.

It's a shame that lead singer and guitarist Whitten destroyed himself with heroin (he died at age 29 about a year after the album was released). Whitten, a former singing and guitar partner of Young's (listen to Young's Everybody Knows This is Nowhere album from 1969 to hear how well the two sang and played together), had a fine voice, played a fantastic guitar and most significantly, possessed tremendous song-writing ability (I Don't Want To Talk About It, Downtown, Look At All the Things, etc.) that's really on display here. Had he lived, he might have become a big name in music. Young's Tonight's The Night album, released in 1975, was inspired by the life and tragic death of Whitten.

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Journey Through The Past - Warner Bros. 1972.
Rating = 7

Supposedly this was the soundtrack to a movie that Neil made, but I've never seen the movie. Is it anything like Caddyshack? I love it when the guy goes, "Hey, how's about a Fresca? Ahh? Ahh??" Taht's daore shit! Hey, I just checked half.com again and that greedy fuckhead still hasn't lowered the price of Paul Revere and the Raiders' Something's Happening CD, so don't waste your time looking.

This is a double album featuring live and behind-the-scenes snippets of Buffalo Springfield, Neil and people who aren't related to the band at all (symphony music? church music? The Beach Boys? Larry Hagman's wrist-snappin' rubber band?). For some reason "Words" works better on here as a 16-minute studio workout than it does as a 6-minute album closer on Harvest. But don't let me get ahead of myself! Stop me! Hit me in the eye! No no! The OTHER eye! No no! My BROWN eye! Hit me right there! Yeah! Really hard! With your ass dildo! PERFECT!

This is an interesting release - varied, bizarre, scraggly - I'm not positive what the point of it is, but it makes for some fun listening!

(if you like SHIT)

Reader Comments

Daniel Rosenberg
I've never heard this album, and never even seen it. But in 1972, when it was released, it received perhaps the worst review of any album ever reviewed by Rolling Stone magazine. Here is the last paragraph of the RS review:

It is outrageous that this album was ever released. It is frankly exploitive of a faithful audience that deserves better from one of its favored performers. There have been many moments in his career when Young has produced some fine rock. Journey Through the Past contains virtually none of those moments. It is the nadir of Neil Young's recording activity.

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Harvest - Warner Bros. 1972.
Rating = 7

Are you ready for the country?????

WELL, ARE YA....

PUNK?

Actually, if you ARE a punk, you're probably NOT ready for the country-ish tone of this album and should be spending your time listening to the Vandals, especially that hilarious "(I Don't Wanna) Change My Pants" song. LOVE IT!!!

I may take some heat out of the kitchen as a result of this review. I know this album is a classic and all - but I just don't think it's incredibly consistent. I mean, yeah, of course I love "The Needle And The Damage Done," "Heart of Gold" and "Old Man" (aside from those screaming backup vocals in the chorus - whose idea was that? Give that man a paddling ass!). But what's with all the strings and stuff? "There's A World" is a TERRIBLE song! Is it supposed to be dramatic? It sounds like the Smashing Pumpkins (synonym: bad) or something. Same with "A Man Needs A Maid," except of course, for the fact that that song is harrowingly gorgeous, both vocally and melody-wise (in spite of the ludicrous bombast at the end, unless it was intended as a joke, in which case it's toot-slappinly funny).

Maybe it's the whole "country" vibe that lowers the listening experience a notch for me. It's not SLOPPY, please. If anything, Neil and friends sound like the house band for a fancy white pre-Civil War Southern mansion. Clean and twangy. But, because country as a genre is somewhat limited to blues-style stickage to form (huh?), a few of these melodies just aren't as creative or memorable as Neil usually makes them. "Out On The Weekend" for example. Excellent execution of a go-nowhere melody. And the near-seven-minute "Words" just doesn't have JACK going for it, as far as I'm concerned. So that's just a few weak tracks (in my mind), but it's enough to kinda make me go ehh.... mmm... and go throw on that Vandals song I was mentioning earlier.

Never gonna CHANGE MY PANTS! Don't CHANGE YOUR PANTS!

Maybe you'd have to hear it.

Reader Comments

COSMICBEN@aol.com (Ben Marlin)
Ehh. Mark is mostly on the money here: some solid compositions, but it gets boring after a while. A little too pleasant, and the few that aren't are either boring ("Are You Ready For The Country") or "Southern Man" reruns ("Alabama"). Actually, there's only one of each, but it sounds better if I use the plural there. "Out On The Weekend' has a great melody, though, as does the title track, and the big hits are pleasant enough. On my page, I give this a Prindle 5, but a 6 or a 7 seems to make more sense on this page.

rangas@hotmail.com (Ranga John)
This gets a seven.

The tracks with the Symphony Orchestra are a bit too much for me, but you can't really complain about an album that has 'Harvest', 'Words' and 'Alabama' on it now can you?

Also the first Neil album I owned.

Ram.Elisha@fin.gc.ca
No, no, no! Well, yes, actually. This is a very good example of how a classic album is really kinda pleasant and forgettable. About half of this stuff would have been fine if recorded the same way as the last album (i.e., without the strings and James Taylor and the South Seattle Cheesecloth Tabernacle Choir). The rest mostly sucks, and all the over-production just serves to highlight that. But let me stand and be counted for "Alabama" - it's at least two bananas better than "Southern Man", even if it's just a ripoff of same. It's got a better melody, and it has thatlyric about banjoes playing therough the broken glass, so it's great. I have this album, but I make a point of not listening to it much. I won't sell it, though, so please don't ask.

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Robert Chaundy)
Certainly eight, possibly nine. Some of the songs are just great: Heart of Gold (THAT'S how to play the harmonica, Bob!), Alabama and Harvest are just splendid. And Out On The Weekend is my personal favourite - how can you not like it, Mark? A 'go-nowhere melody'? You're turning into George Starostin!!

Anyway, the important thing isn't the individual tracks, it's the FEEL and the MOOD the record creates, namely that of the laid-back goodtime paradise that the deep south is and was, suh. A-men.

Jcjh20@aol.com
I agree with the 7. Just most of these songs seem pretty dull for my tastes. But the classics are all great ("Needle and the damage done", "Old Man", "Heart Of Gold", the title track) and a few other songs are pretty good, but there are some pretty boring tracks on here. Particularly the overlong "Words".

Muggwort@aol.com
Neil young's harvest is pretty good. The instrumentation is great, it is so relaxed and the slide guitars make this cool ethereal dreamy mood. My favorite song is "the needle and the damage done," I'm not gonna shoot heroin!

8/10

alora@northcoast.com (J. Alora)
This is a strange ass album. It seems like it was cobbled together from lots of different ideas, like Neil wanted to go in several different directions at once. You got your country ballads ("Heart Of Gold"), your symphonic elements ("A Man Needs A Maid"), your crackly-sounding live cuts ("Needle And The Damage Done"), and your psychedelic epic ("Words"). Truly an odd bundle of songs. Not as good as some previous works, but when its kickin' its some of his best work. Love the banjo in "Old Man". A solid eight.

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
Oh, man, I REALLY like Imperial Bedroom! I say it's an absolute triumph. Others say it's a BIG, pretentious mess......... which it probably is. When I first listened to Harvest I had never heard of Neil Young before and, as it turned out, Harvest is really not like most of his albums........ not even close. Except for a few tracks, though, it may be his most enjoyable. Sure, it's put down all the time, for good reason sometimes, but I still like it. It may not be a masterwork but I'd reccomend Harvest in a heartbeat........... that's more than I could do with Imperial Bedroom......... even though I find Imperial Bedroom to be more accomplished. I'm just saying...... I'm not sure what I'm saying......... I'm sleepy. 7/10 on the on the good scale (give or take a point) and 9 1/2 on the listenablility/I REALLY reccomend/likeability scale. That's got to count for something. I'm giving this one an 8 1/2, a 9 on a good hair day.

watta502@yahoo.gr
This is one of Neil Young's most sleepy albums. It's also very country. I don't listen to it often and if I do, not from the beginning to the end. The singles "Alabama" and "Heart of Gold" are very good and emotional but the rest isn't as good as these on...ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

Daniel Rosenberg
I seldom play this one. That said, it does get a solid seven because some of the songs are darn good. In fact, for most artists, it would probably deserve a 9 or a 10, but I expect better from Young. My favorite tracks are A Man Needs a Maid, Heart Of Gold, Old Man, Alabama and Are You Ready For the Country. Tracks I avoid include There's A World and Words. I also think the title song is a bore, even though Young thinks it's one of his best. Nice tune, but a dull performance.

takac@panet.co.yu
This is the first LP from dark trilogy Neil wrote (along with "On The Beach" and "Tonight's The Night") that treated this drug addiction problem and the fact that guys that took drugs started dying for some weird reason. It was a serial killer outthere I tell you!!! And He got away BIG time.

"Heart Of Gold" thats one song that really, really stood up all these years. I love this song! My favourite from here.

"Needle And The Damage Done" is great song. That Cobain guy quoted the wrong song when he shoot himself.

"A man Needs a maid" is a weird song. Nice. Subtle. But kinda sexist. ("But you love sexism!" say people that know me. "Thats why you dont have girlfrend!" say my relatives). Not that there is something direct said in the song. I dont know! Should all women be maids?! I guess no...

I dont care what do you think Mark, but 'Words ...' Is a great song! I love that one! "Alabama" is a great song but what about those lyrics?! I'm intrigued by them! Its real brainer that song! Other songs are OK but I really didnt get that orchestration thing. Another marijuana related idea huh?!

Overall. Best album in the trilogy. And best album untill some time...

ddickso2@uccs.edu
My first Neil Young purchase, tho' not my BEST. Here's a perfect example of how to make a DAMN GOOD roots rock album that simultaneously is obviously not a CLASSIC. "Words" sucks, for example, but it's defintely the best song to close out the album. We also got some killer hard rock ("Alabama"), some uber-pretentious (and uber-GOOD) symphonic tracks ("There's a World", "Maid", and some acoustic mournful Goldrush-ish stuff "Needle and the Damage Done". Elsewhere, you've got smooth country stuff that fills out the album and doesn't really impress or offend the ears, and as the cherry on top, you've got the two hits, conveniently located smack dab in the middle of the album. Uncoincidentally, they're also the best songs. This may be a stretch, but I think Coldplay were listening closely to this when they recorded their debut.

Add your thoughts?

The Archives Vol. 1: 1963-1972 - Warner Bros. 2009
Rating = 6

This gigantic, expensive box set was released in three versions: CD, DVD and Blu-Ray. From what I understand, Neil didn't even want the CD-only version issued, because the point of the Archives is to offer up lots of old concert footage, lyrics, photos and so forth. Unfortunately, the version I'm reviewing here is indeed the CD-only version. As such, I'm going to pretend that Neil Young really, really wanted the CD-only version to come out.

What the HELL, Neil!? Why on Earth did you so badly want this CD-only version to come out!? A full FORTY-EIGHT songs are just direct lifts from your studio albums and singles! And the rest? 2 demos of songs we already own, 13 alternate mixes/recordings of songs everybody has fifty copies of, and 16 live versions of songs that even unborn babies are so sick of, they want to strangle you with their umbilical cords! This leaves a mere fourteen previously unreleased songs, most of which are boring early '60s crap. God Fuck A Dog, Neil! God Fuck A Dog right now!

Okay, so let's assume you're a music fan with ninety dollars. Are you (a) going to buy a box set of Neil Young songs you already own, or (b) enjoy the company of 45 two-dollar whores? Actually, let me put it another way: if you don't like Neil Young enough to have already purchased Neil Young, After The Gold Rush, Harvest and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, would you really be considering buying an eight-CD box set by him? Hell no! You'd be shacking up with 180 fifty-cent whores!

And another thing! Two of the eight CDs are just Crazy Horse Live At the Fillmore East 1970 and Live at Massey Hall, both of which he released separately a few years ago! Cramnation Alley, Neil! Do you have a dick in your shoe or something? Because you really "fucked up" this time!

Represented artists include:
The Squires - 6 generic early rock'n'rollers and surf-spy instrumentals
Neil Young & Comrie Smith - 3 middling acoustic songs: blues, folk and ballad
Buffalo Springfield - 9 songs
Crosby Stills Nash & Young - 6 songs
Crosby Nash & Young - 1 song
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - 13 songs
Neil Young & the Stray Gators - 9 songs
Neil Young - 56 songs, plus two previously released live CDs

Albums from which songs were directly lifted include:
Neil Young - 5 songs
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere - 6 songs (all except "The Losing End")
After The Gold Rush - 9 songs (the other 2 are present as 'alternate mixes')
Harvest - 6 songs
Journey Through The Past - 1 song
Decade - 1 song
Sugar Mountain: Live At Canterbury House 1968 - 1 song
Buffalo Springfield LPs - 11 songs
Crosby Stills Nash & Young LPs - 3 songs
Non-LP singles - 5 songs

Highlights include:

- An early version of "I Am A Child" entitled "The Rent Is Always Due"

- A few funny pieces of stage patter on the Live at the Riverboat (Toronto 1969) disc, including "This is a song, it's on, uhh... ehh, it doesn't matter. I hope nobody minds that I didn't wash my hair today," and "The 10:00 show's only gonna last ten minutes; I wouldn't bother coming to it." There's also a cute story about the song "The Circle Game" that ends with the observation, "Tom Rush once played golf with my brother... which is how I met my brother!"

- Joanna Newsom not appearing anywhere on it

So do yourself a favor and spend that $90 on 1800 nickel-whores. They may be ugly, HIV-positive and male, but at least none of them have two shitty versions of "Sugar Mountain" on them!

Add your thoughts?

Time Fades Away - Warner Bros. 1973.
Rating = 8

Recorded totally live, but with all new songs (!), this album vacillates and anterlates between don't-give-a-shit-kicker rockers ("Yonder Stands The Sinner") and wonderfully well-constructed, hypnotizing pop gems ("Journey Through The Past"), even sometimes occasionally in the same song ("Last Dance")! The lyrics seem really automobilagraphical, about Winnipeg and Canada and other fictional locales like that. And the band plays rough but pretty. Like, they all sound really drunk and tired, but they're so talented that the inherent goodness of the songs shine through (and are even AMPLIFIED by) the muck and murk of the harried on-stage performance.

I'm all for this record. It is not by and large the most creative batch of melodies or lyrics he has ever written but the band just jives and jams so well together with Neil and his thoughts, I can't help but rate this up there with his best work. Not a "pop" masterpiece, but a rolling, tolling "pus-filled boils and all" presentation of a real-live touring rock band in the early 70s, playing songs you probably hadn't heard before! Like "Transformer Man"!

Oh okay they didn't really play "Transformer Man." That was a little inside joke for all you Neil Young fans out there.

You know who you are!!!!!!!

Oh yeah, and remember a few minutes ago when I asked you where "Love In Mind" came from? I'm starting to figure it out. Give me another few days and hopefully I can get back to you with an answer.

Or a request for additional time to continue my intense brain concentrations.

Reader Comments

COSMICBEN@aol.com (Ben Marlin)
This one kicks butt. It's a crime that nobody knows about it, but now I can act all cool by sharing my opinion. Almost every song is a winner excepting the ugly "Yonder Stands The Sinner" and maybe the rambling "Last Dance"): the ballads shimmer and the rockers are catchy and interesting. Mark's right that the songwriting isn't as hot this time around, but the sloppy arrangements and bizarre, sincere vocals make up for things. "Journey Through The Past" might be the nicest melody he's ever come up with, and "Love In Mind" and "The Bridge" are almost as pretty. "Don't Be Denied" is also great, especially the last verse - harrowing stuff. A 9 from me, but don't buy it because then I won't be cooler than you anymore.

Daniel Rosenberg
This is one of Neil's best, right up there with Zuma and On The Beach, though perhaps not as classic as After the Goldrush and Tonight's The Night. The title song is a great little rocker. Journey Through The Past and The Bridge rate as two of Neil's most beautiful piano numbers, and LA is one of those sloppy, gloriously out-of-tune songs that would have fit in well on Tonight's The Night (maybe right after Albuquerque, which is in the same vein). Best of the lot may be Don't Be Denied, with a catchy chorus and a wonderful guitar riff. The words are a bit too literal, maybe, but it's a stand-out nonetheless. I have mixed feelings about Last Dance. It gets stuck in my head, which is annoying, and it's overly long without all that much to say. But I love how Neil drunkenly yells "Last Dance" right before it starts, and I get a kick out of hearing Graham Nash in the background urging the crowd to "sing along" as Neil chants "No no no" over and over again. Let's face it, aside from maybe Paul McCartney, can you imagine anyone less suited than Nash to be with Neil on the tour when this album was recorded? I sure wish I had been there, but I probably would have just spit up (I wasn't quite two at the time). A definite 8-star effort, maybe a low-9.

allezgatta@hotmail.com (Ryan Crowley)
This album has long been one of Neil's underappreciated classics, although, with greater availability via eBay, it seems to be getting its due. Time Fades Away is a perfect reflection of what Young was going through at the time; post-Harvest superstardom, playing in front of enormous crowds in stadiums, and overwhelmed by fame and the recent death of friend and collaborator Danny Whitten, Young released this rambling, shambling collection of new material knowing it wouldn't yield any hits and would send him straight to "the ditch". And that was fine with him. I can only guess what went through the heads of concertgoers expecting to hear "Old Man" but getting "Yonder Stands the Sinner". The songs are an interesting raw mix where emotion bleeds trough the speakers. From lovely piano ballads like "The Bridge" to the stripped-down snotty 'carpe diem' stomp of "Last Dance", they showed Neil in warts-and-all glory with no apologies. "Don't Be Denied" comes off like a biography of Neil's childhood and early fame with the Buffalo Springfield, but turns out to be a life-affirming note to himself after the shock of losing his close friends to drug addiction. Still unavailable on CD (allegedly Neil hates it and didn't include any tracks from it on the Decade collection), Time Fades Away stands as my second favorite album of all time. Pick it up on ebay, steal it from your friends hippie-burnout pops, or barter your BOC belt buckle - you'll thank me when you hear can't purge the opening riff from "LA" out of your head.

wablo@comcast.net
Please correct if Im wrong here,but when was the last time anyone has had the balls to put something like this out.After going "top 40" with Heart of Gold. "L A" is one of the best songs on "vinyl" not to mention the rest of this good ol boys tunes on this record!

Add your thoughts?

On The Beach - Warner Bros. 1974.
Rating = 9

Hard as hell to find, but slow, moody, somber, melodic, extremely well-written and depressing as hell. Except for the hicky Southern rock opener "Walk On," this is a blues album by a tired, angry, saddened young man. Side two just oozes by like a Dylan/Lennon hybrid that's about to start crying and throw the world in a garbage can. What the hell is he so sad about? Don't know for sure - they tell me his friends kept dying of drug overdoses - I have no clue whether that's the reason or not. Maybe he just got really upset psychically because I was born the previous year and he realized that he could never, ever be as talented as me ever.

While we're on the subject, what in God's name is going on during the solo of "Vampire Blues"? Is Neil just swatting at a broken string or something? LAZY!!!! (but great, of course)

Reader Comments

COSMICBEN@aol.com (Ben Marlin)
I don't own this because I've never seen it. Ever. It's only available on vinyl, and it must be illegal for stores to carry it. From what I've listened to (on Decade), "Turnstiles" does indeed suck, but "Walk On" is a catchy, full-sounding rocker. I still have my doubts, though, as to whether this album actually exists. Maybe Prindle is just trying to seem cool by reviewing an album that only he's heard?

jfiero1@lsu.edu (Joshua Fiero)
Of course it exists! It must! I downloaded it off Napster!

collins.invercargill@xtra.co.nz
Sorry Ben but On the Beach exists. I know 'cause I had it,sold it and regained it. As I only have about 26 N Y records I don't know if i qualify as a fan but for my few cents worth this is the best of his early releases up to Live Rust. And just to prove there's more than one idiot I also like Trans. Best of the lot though is Weld, Mr. Young at his best thrashing about with heaps of feedback and enough slopiness to keep things interesting. It's been a bit down hill from there, old age catching up I guess. Best idea is keep just a few of Young's records,say Weld,On the Beach, Ragged Glory, Decade,Harvest Moon and Live Rust and go listen to someone like Richard Thompson(who can write a song with great lyrics and plays much better guitar) or John Martyn.

colin@dergunerz.freeserve.co.uk
On the Beach. Moody, sombre, dark, depressing as hell? Maybe but what's wrong with that, eh? Sometimes you got to let a little pain into your life - keeps it real. Anyway each to their own - sorry to read you don't like it (although for someone who claims to not like it you sure go into some DEPTH about it - ahem) Me? I think it's one of the top ten albums of all time. A fact I can prove by pointing readers to my website which is called - oddly enough - Release On The Beach! www.dergunerz.freeserve.co.uk There you can read through 1500+ comments about the album sent by the general public worldwide. There are also mp3's of the album for free download. 'Course it's up to you to love it or hate it.

doyster@xtra.co.nz
I was just going to say that if it don't exist in the US then it sure does in little old New Zealand. And then I saw that the other post came from a guy in New Zealand, Any way, I own it, I'm not particularly fond of it and so it is for sale to the highest bidder, bids to Doyster@xtra.co.nz

rangas@hotmail.com (Ranga John)
"I'm a VAMPIRE babe, sucking blood from the Earth."

Damn you prindle, it's all your fault, this album should be on cd, but no!

So, not being able to find a vinyl copy of it anywhere, I had to get some nice man to burn me a copy onto cd (he even threw in bonus tracks as well - ooh, lucky me).

This album is great. In my opinion it's better than the much more praised 'Tonight's the Night'.

I can listen to 'Ambulance Blues' on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on until my fingers hurt from pushing the button to get to the start of the track again.

Don't really care for 'For the Turnstiles' much, but I'll forgive Percy for that.

A Nine from me.

Daniel Rosenberg
Aside from the dull "Vampire Blues" and the annoying "For The Turnstiles," this one is hard to match. "Walk On," the only upbeat number on this release, is quite funky and features some of Neil's most creative electric guitar playing. The slow "See The Sky About To Rain" atmospheric, highlighted by Neil's strong keyboard work. "Revolution Blues" ranks with Neil's best electric tunes, with lyrics that are disturbing and funny at the same time. Great rhythm guitar work here from David Crosby. The second side boasts the moody "On the Beach" and the acoustic-themed "Ambulance Blues," which I never grow tired of hearing. I'm not sure what Neil's trying to say here (he admits himself in the lyrics, 'It's hard to say the meaning of this song'), but the music more than makes up for some of the disjointed words. It's a crime that this isn't available on CD. I own a poor-quality CD bootleg, but I'd love to hear this album as Neil intended it to sound. Come on, Neil, release it! I give it 8.5 stars.

diakron@gmail.com
Along with some other long-overlooked Neil Young albums, this was remastered and reissued on CD in 2004. It sounds fantastic.

rcarton@hwwilson.com
Am outraged frankly at the almost universal scorn poured on "For The Turnstiles." I worked in the laundry of a mental hospital in Hamburg during the 1980s and would sing this song all day long in a loud whining voice and each and every time I finished my colleagues would stop their folding and ironing and what have you and oblige me with what seemed like a heartfelt round of applause.

Add your thoughts?

Tonight's The Night - Warner Bros. 1975.
Rating = 7

Supposedly Neil actually did this one BEFORe On The Beach, but the record company turned it down, preferring to release the joyfest happytime yayville of that album. This one sounds like a bunch of first takes, Neil not even bothering to sing the right notes, band speeding up and slowing down, production nearly non-existent. Revolves around the story of two of Neil's friends dying of drug overdoses (one of the tracks, in fact, was written and sung by one of them ----- and it's about buying heroin - yooiks!). Supposedly Neil was in a deep depression like me and couldn't bring himself to do much more. But the weird thing is that the songs themselves AREN'T depressing. If you didn't know the story behind it, it just sounds like a loose old good time about smoking pot and such. It's a good record but so loose and off-the-cuff that at times you're really crawling inside your skin for him to give you a really solid developed melody. Heck, one of the songs is a complete ripoff of the Stones' "Lady Jane" - and he admits it in the lyrics!

It's certainly a good record. Some nice jazzy chord changes in there with the messy floopdiddlyoop. No reason for Warner Bros. to have nixed it. I just don't agree with all them critics that say it's his best album.

By the way, I'm currently depressed as fuck. So don't expect the next few reviews to be very interesting. I'm sick of being me and I'm thinking about which building would be the best to jump off of.

Reader Comments

Jeffmoncheri@aol.com
Well, if you're THAT depressed, Mark, you should really dig this album. Not that it's all gloom (Come On Baby, Let's Go Downtown, f'r instance) but Neil sounds so stoned throughout most of the album that even the happy numbers sound kinda depressing. I don't think this record warrants the abundance of praise it gets. Yes, it's spontaneous and the melodies are overall quite strong, but it's also extremely sloppy - the Stray Gators sound like a third-rate country bar band. Those who call this album one of the best albums of all time are making an affront to craftsmanship, as far as I'm concerned.

rangas@hotmail.com (Ranga John)
This only gets a five from me.

This is sooooo depressing to listen to. Now I know about all the inner demons, the deaths of Danny and Bruce - all that stuff, but that doesn't mean I have to like the album does it? I've never really been in a bad enough mood to listen to it as hard as I would like to. Critics seem to love it though, but then again - most critics are dicks.

Daniel Rosenberg
Lots of people believe this is Neil's best album, and sometimes I think I'm one of them. When I get in the right mood, usually late at night when everyone else in my house is asleep, I lie on the couch and listen to this on my earphones and it strikes just the right chord. Other times it seems too depressing - especially on a sunny day. Considering that some call this a tough album to enjoy, it's interesting to note that one of Neil's most accessible tunes of all time - "Mellow My Mind" - is here. If you don't like this song, you just plain don't like the artist. Some say the title track and "Tired Eyes" are too literal and too sad to listen to, but I don't agree. Both gripped me from the very first time I heard them and still do. "C'Mon Baby Let's Go Downtown" is a fantastic little rocker that shows how much talent the world lost when Danny Whitten died. And some of the more drugged-out numbers here like "Albequerque" and "Speakin Out" rank among my favorite Neil tunes. "World on A String" is tight and loud, and "New Mama" is melodic and soft. For someone new to Neil, this wouldn't be my recommendation. I'd try "After the Goldrush" and "Decade." But if you want to dig a little deeper, you can't do better than "Tonight's the Night."

Brenda Whitten Decker
I guess i need to express my views on Danny Whitten-----You see I knew him since the day he was born--I am his only sibling---I have always loved him and Miss him dearly--I still think about him every day---and he died Nov 18th 1972---What a day that was---By the way--i dont know where this comment is going (i hope on the web page)as everyone needs to know THAT DANNY DID NOT DIE FROM HERION---i have the death Cert. to prove it--the only thing in his system was alcohol and dizapam (valium) and that was NOT a good mix--You know i am going to say that Everyone Knows--- is the BEST record EVER made----and Neil would not have been half as good with out Dannys backup vocals and great guitar playing---he was self taught and was VERY GOOD--There will just never be that great blend of voices ever again--He is still everywhere---to the ones that play his (now)cds and still listen --and to all the ones that hear I DONT WANNA TALK ABOUT IT-- and think of Danny---i thank you---He still lives-----There was just a 1 year play(musical)in London called Tonights The Night--with all songs done by Rod Stewart and I DONT WANNA was in the play and it was a great honor for that to happen--Rod has done that song on 5 cds through the years----so that helps keep the music alive-----------thanks for letting me bend your ear----

takac@panet.co.yu
Trilogy goes on, that is - ends with this record.

In the end - only the title song lived to be remembered. And fairly becouse it has that LIVE potential...

In between - mellow but mediocre selfindulgence. All songs are decent. They're all easy goilng, easy floating, ... Its Neilish, but also Youngish y'now.

And then they say this is dark record! "Come On Baby Lets Go Downtown!"?! ... dark my arse! But it has THAT overtone (In that "Please take my advice..." way).

But then "Tired Eyes", "Mellow My Mind" and "Roll Another Number..." are nice little songs that kinda stood up.

Also, "Albuquerque" is traveloguish song that I liked for a day or so..."Lookout Joe" starts good but fails to amuse.

Lyrics are important on this record. Fuck yeah! They all have this message! Meaning. ... them hippies, they have agendas y'now... flowers and all...

Come to think of it. This is a good record. Fuck yeah!

Colin T.
i've been listening to this album a lot recently. i didn't like it when i first heard it.... neil's voice was grating, i guess, and the songs didn't stand out that much. but since then i've found there's an overall mood to the album that makes me want to return to it. boozy and early in the morning.

munsey3@comcast.net
Listened to this for the first time in a while today. It's a good'un, because I am a sucker for songs which have lots of pedal steel on them. I buy Alan Jackson albums just for the pedal steel. Hell, I buy POCO albums to listen to the pedal steel. So understand it's a disease w/ me and I am perhaps not to be trusted.

"Tonight's the Night" and "Tired Eyes" are top tier, but you can for sure hear a far superior version of "Go Downtown" on Crazy Horse's first. The rest is worth it for the pedal steel.

I always see this showing up various Top 100 lists. For which the reason is: "Lookee thar Bubba, Neil just done drove his new truck into a tree." People love to gawk at a wreck, which is what this was when it was released.

The morning sun is yet to climb my hood ornament...

ddickso2@uccs.edu
You know, Capn Marvel seems to be the only dude on the web who likes this album as much as the critics, so after listening to the album, I just sauntered over to his site to re-check what he said about it. God, the man's a prick. A full-blooded prick. And a CLEVER prick to boot. Avoid his ejaculations at all costs (get it???!???jny!@!#

But I agree with the prick on one thing. Tonight's the Night, sloppy? Vocal high notes, rough? Tempos and rhythm, ragged?? Mallard Fillmore, humorous??!? I JUST LISTENED TO LET IT BE SCUM TENDER PREY DOUBLE NICKELS ON THE DIME AND BEAT HAPPENING'S YOU TURN ME ON ALL IN A ROW LAST WEEKEND DON'T TALK TO ME ABOUT SLOPPINESS RAGGEDNESS AND OFFKEY FUCKBAD SINGING YOU PRICKS. COMPARED TO MOST OF EIGHTIES INDIE ROCK, THIS BASTARD IS FUCKING GEOFF TATE. BY COMPARISON OF CLARITY HE'S LIKE CELINE DION. BY STANDARD OF ROUGHNESS, HE'S YO YO MA. AAAAAAAAAAAH. DO PEOPLE JUST HAVE DOUBLE STANDARDS FOR GUYS WHO SELL MORE THAN FIFTY THOUSAND COPIES WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE HUMAN RACE HAS THE WHOLE WORLD GONE BATTY?!!?????!?!? AAAAAAAAH! FUCK IT! WE'LL DO IT LIVE!! WE'LL DO IT DSAFHGDFSgooey.

Not that I have any strong feelings on the matter, of course. Regardless of the quality of recording, this is an excellent LP, filled with excellent songs, sung by an excellent, toe-tappingly emotional man. I've never been a fan of the guy's voice, because let's face it: he always sounds like he's whining, he stays in falsetto, and his songs, more even than Dylan's, would be VASTLY improved if someone else sang them. But here--what does he do? He talk-sings! He moans! He belts it out like John Lennon! Good for him, I say! Still not much of a singer, but at least he mixes it up. We all more mixes in this world. Except for Prodigy mixes--that's just ew.

The songwriting may be a slight notch down from After the Gold Rush, but the diversity is up, and bully for that. And the tunes that rock--my GOD. Everybody Knows This is Nowhere was grungy and all, but this--Eat it, Tom Scholz. Eat it with your FACE. (Just kidding, I quite like their debut. The rest, though--BLEARGH!, as it were.)

Emotive singin', diverse songwritin', good sequencin', and rootsy stylin'? We gots ourselves a winner! It's just not as melodic as, say, Pronounced LehNerd SkinNerd. You gotta think to yourself: "Man! The Summer of Love fizzled, I'm drunk, and I lost half my friends to Horse. FUCK!" and all of a sudden, BAM!! Good times. Either a classic or damn close to it.

Jeffery Hoelscher
I don't know when you reviewed this, probably a thousand years ago, but you're wrong. It's a 10. So is 'On the Beach'. Best 2 Neil Young albums ever. Ever.

Add your thoughts?

Zuma - Warner Bros. 1975.
Rating = 8

Wow! A fully produced record! He must've cheered up finally. This is a Crazy Horse record featuring strong, full production, tight playing and that awesome Neil Young guitar tone (distorted, on the verge of clipping, buzzy but full, beautiful!). Not every song is an absolute killer, but a lot of them are -- in particular, "Barstool Blues" is gorgeously melodic pop music, "Pardon My Heart" is a melancholic sad song up there wit anything on After The Goldrush and "Cortez The Killer" is one of his all-time classic guitar epics!!! There's also some fun hoedown stuff on here (tight hoedown, no drunken hick bleah of the type I dislike) and some hard rock and whatnot. Essentially, this was his return to "normal" radio-ready music after those last three that made critics and fans wonder what in peyote he was all up at.

Reader Comments

COSMICBEN@aol.com (Ben Marlin)
This one's a blast. "Drive Back" is annoying, and "Stupid Girl" has never really tickled my feet, but everything else is a winner. Like Mark says, it's just so happy, even when it's melancholy: "Pardon My Heart" and "Danger Bird" are great examples. "Looking For A Love" used to make me think, "Wow, it's like he's speaking to me!" - who knew Neil Young worried about trivial romantic things just like everyone else? Even when it's dumb ("Don't Cry No Tears"), the melodies are great and the guitars leap off the vinyl in such a full, enjoyable way. I love this as much as you can possibly love something you've always been too cheap to spend 15 bucks on the CD version of. A Prindle 9.

rangas@hotmail.com (Ranga John)
This gets an Eight.

A very solid album, definately an improvement over Tonight's the Night in my mind, although they are two very different records recorded two years apart, they were just released in the same year.

Best Songs? Well I'm kind of partial to 'Don't Cry No Tears' and 'Cortez the Killer' myself.

What about you?

Daniel Rosenberg
My favorites on Zuma are easily "Pardon My Heart" - a soulful and tortured acoustic number - and "Barstool Blues," a tortured and soulful rocker which Neil recorded so drunk that he accidentally sang one octave higher than normal. Other standouts include "Lookin' For A Love," a great little country tune, and "Though My Sails," an acoustic song with fantastic harmonies from Neil's friends Crosby, Stills and Nash. By the way, Zuma has the worst album cover in rock history, and there isn't a single photo of the artist anywhere inside or out. That and "Stupid Girl," are the only drawbacks to this one.

takac@panet.co.yu
Ok, so dark days are over and Neil says: "Dont cry no tears around me..." and the album that starts so good - cant possibly fail to impress me, you and that veird looking lady that shouts obscene stuff on the corner of 52nd and 3rd... If I was radio DJ and if I was lazy and if I was bald and if I was into getting fired - I'd lock myself into the studio and play this record 24 hours untill they'd smoke me out, lure me out (by offering me free breakthrough anti-balding shampoo) or just plainly kick me out.

And you must know "Cortez The Killer" and "Barstool Blues" and "Stupid Girl" for sure ("Yeah we saw that Jarmush flick earlier on..."). But lemme point out the "Danger Bird" with its glorious backing vocals and choruses. Then "Drive Back" with its mighty guitar riffs. "Dont Cry No Tears" with this great positive surrounding she owns...And "Through My Sails" one of the best closing songs outthere! If I bothered to rate it I'd give it straight 8 !!!

In the end - "Zuma" is unawoiding record if youre into being a hippie ...living in commune ...fingerpainting... flowers all around... no soap... no scissors... no privacy...

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
This is okay, but as far as Neil albums go, it's not hugely special. About a B+, really. One song is jawdroppingly good, however...yeah, everyone knows I'm talking about "Cortez The Killer," which is truly astounding and a better song than most people will ever hope to write in their lives. Neil's guitar soloing on that track is just fucking amazing.

two fun facts about this album:

There was an additional verse for "Cortez The Killer," and it would have gotten on tape - they played it, which made the seven minute song about ten minutes or so, I believe - but the tape machine suffered an error while recording the master take, and that last verse was lost to history. When Neil was told that his last verse had been lost, he said, "I never liked that verse anyway," and that was that. No one remembers what the last verse was anymore.

Neil was so shitfaced while singing the master take of "Barstool Blues" that he sang it an octave higher than he would have normally.

Add your thoughts?

Long May You Run (with Stephen Stills) - Reprise 1976
Rating = 6

At one time, Neil Young and Stephen Stills' songwriting styles fit together like a horse and feather; basically, they were both into stinging acid rock and bluesy country-folk-rock. This was why Buffalo Springfield sold so many hundred of albums! What - you thought it was because the chicks dug Richie Furay? Yeah, TRY AGAIN. One look at the latest SoundScan numbers for Pickin' Up The Pieces will send that thought running straight out your head and up the back alleyway. Nope, it was because of the significant songwriting talents of Neil Young and Ol' Flabby. Unfortunately, this was also many, many years ago.

Unfortunately, this was many, many years a... oh. I guess I... one sec.

By 1975, Neil Young was the redneckiest hick in Alabama and Stephen Stills was a coke-snorting L.A. lounge jazz adulterer. What good did they think would arise from this collaboration? While Neil was in a pasture literally writing all of his lyrics on piles of hardened cow dung, Stephen was hanging out with Steely Dan, balling strippers in a rooftop jacuzzi and lighting joints with hundred dollar bills. The resultant album is so schizophrenic, you'll sure it was sexually brutalized dozens of times as a young 7". This isn't helped by the fact that it goes Neil song/Steve song/Neil song/Steve song like the producer was making them sit boy-girl in the studio or something (though I'm not denying there were likely hundreds of daisy chains taking place during the sessions).

Getting down to the business of quality, both of my little boys came up with a couple of great tracks in their respective genres -- Neil's title track in particular is a very pretty (and well-loved) ode to an old car, and "Let It Shine" sounds more like Meat Puppets II than Nirvana's Unplugged sounds like Fiona Apple's recurring gastro-intestinal dificulties -- INCLUDING the "sploosh-sploosh-sploosh" of solvent meeting solute. Stephen's are mainly enjoyable because they're so gross; that whole slick '70s jazz-rock sound was just so sunglass-wearing and repellant, manifested most hilariously in the chest-hair assholisms of "Make Love To You" ("Girl when you looked my way, I knew this night was ours/It doesn't matter, I'll be gone with the dawn/So will you/We choose who we choose when we choose)." The four-piece backup band does its best to treat each singer's compositions with respect, but how much respect can you show to lyrics like "Sure feels good to me, midnight on the bay, sure feels good to me/Midnight, midnight, midnight, midnight, midnight on the bay" and "The sea, unforgiving and she's hard/But she'll make love to you"? Goddamned LITTLE, I'd say! Especially when the compositions themselves almost seem like parodies of more "serious" (in Stills' case) and "traditional" (in Neil's) musical forms.

I've said all there is to say about this album. Anyone who tries to say more might as well change their name to Large Intestine because they're just makin' shit up.

Reader Comments

kabakoros@connect.com.fj
I live in Fiji...no music here...just Brittenny and stuff...I really want to hear Long May You Run...been down here 15 yearsand have a laptop but no credit cards. Can somebody be kind and email me a copy of Long May You Run, pleae if its legal?
Thanks

Daniel Rosenberg
I've never heard this album except for the wonderful title song. And I don't particularly want to hear it. Indeed, thanks Mark, for listening to it and telling me about it so I don't have to. One interesting note however - although the album is credited to the "Stills-Young band," the fact is, the two almost never were in the studio at the same time during its making. Apparently Stills and Young could barely stand each other, so they each went in separately to lay down their tracks. Some band. And the bad feelings continued when the two of them decided to tour in the summer of 1976 to promote the album. After a few dates, Neil decided he wasn't having any fun and told his bus driver to reverse course and take him back home to California (Stills and Young didn't even share a bus for this tour, evidently). Stills arrived at the next concert site (with all the fans waiting) only to find a short note from Neil, saying, "Interesting how some things that start spontaneously often end that way. Eat a peach, Neil." They had to cancel the rest of the tour. Hard to believe Stills ever wanted to talk to Neil after that, but they must have made up because CSNY has toured several times since then, and at their last concert here two years ago (for which I had a front-row seat), Stills and Young seemed to enjoy jamming together on guitar.

saf66@earthlink.net (Steven Fouts)
Recorded in Miami, this is Neil and Stephen's woozy vacation concept album. All the vacation staples are here: the road trip ("Long May You Run"), one-night stands/bar pickups ("Make Love to You" and "Midnight by the Bay"), nautical exploration ("Black Coral" and "Ocean Girl") and of course, hotel/motel debauchery ("Fountainbleau"). Not the best LP either man ever put his name to, but OK for what it is.

Daniel Rosenberg
A few years ago, I made a big mistake by reviewing this album without having heard it. Now I've heard it, and I owe it a better review.

Sure, there's a lot of fluff on this one, especially from Stills. Some of his songs are hard to listen to more than once, with "Make Love to You" one of the worst examples of 70's lounge lizard music I can think of. It is kind of comic, in a way. Good for a laugh, but I wouldn't want to hear it a second time.

However, I do like "Black Coral," which has a good tune and is well sung by Stills, whose voice has always been one of my favorites in rock music. It also features Neil on backing vocals, which he hasn't done much of in his career so is interesting to hear. (He's not very good at it, by the way).

Neil also delivers some fluff, with "Midnight on the Bay" a pleasant acoustic throw-away but not something you ever need to hear again.

Neil's other tracks are very enjoyable, however. I've already noted the title song is one of his all-time classics, and everyone has heard it. But two other songs of his - "Fontainbleau" and "Let it Shine" - sound like they could have been refugees from Zuma, which he recorded the previous year, and rate high on my list of "must hear" Neil songs that few have heard.

The tracks may have sounded even better if Neil had recorded them with Crazy Horse rather than Stills' slick backing band, but the band does a decent job, and Neil's guitar is on fire on both pieces. Great lyrics too. Here's a sample: "I got religion, at the airport, my lord. They caught me waiting, on my baggage, when I was bored." Or how about, "There's a palace in the gravy that's holding on and on, even after all the blue-haired ladies and wheelchairs are gone." I love this stuff!

The other Neil song here is "Ocean Girl," which is another really catchy tune with a nice sound (lots of "wah wah" guitar by Stills) and a great chorus. It should have gotten some radio play, but never did. I could listen to it all day.

I'll give the album as a whole a seven. I'd encourage fans of Neil who have never heard it to seek it out. It's like finding a treasure chest of mid-70s Neil songs that you hadn't heard. At least that's how it was for me when I finally bought it.

Add your thoughts?

American Stars 'N Bars - Warner Bros. 1977.
Rating = 7

....And this was his return to loosely thrown-together off-the-ass dicking around country jive screaming bad production that made critics and fans wonder what the pot he was smokin'. Featuring tracks recorded from 1974 to 1977, with one side devoted to country/western tunes smothered in hideously loud and ugly backup vocals by Linda Ronstadt and some other women of her bilk steinbrenner, this album should REALLY have been a lot worse than it is. But it's not bad at all! First of all, it features two more wondrously gorgeous, sad epics in "Will To Love" and "Like A Hurricane." Secondly, most (though not all) of the country stuff is really fun and even (gasp) a bit on the creative side! Some of it is just gross though (especially "Homegrown," which makes me embarrassed to call myself a Neil Young afficionado of sorts).

And what the??? MORE Dean Stockwell? Surely this is a different Dean Stockwell (?).

Reader Comments

jjackson504@webtv.net (Jill Jackson)
Yep, this is the same Dean Stockwell of Quantum Leap fame....the same Stockwell who inspired After the Gold Rush. Dean is an old hipster dude, whose best friend is Dennis Hopper. Dean was also responsible for Neil Young's wonderfully bad/good dumb/witty film Human Highway.

TVEye70@aol.com
Wow...a very underrated album, and Prindle for once seems to know what he's talking about. "Homegrown" is hicky and disgusting, but the other shit-kickin' country numbers are a load of fun. "Will to Love", seven minutes of one-track recording quality of Neil smacking his guitar with lyrics about salmon swimming upstream, shouldn't work, but does. Oh yeah, and this has "Like a Hurricane" too. Killer. 7/10

Daniel Rosenberg
The more I listen, the more I like it. Especially side one, with all the country stuff, believe it or not. Some of these songs - especially "Old Country Waltz," "Hey Babe" and "Hold Back the Tears" make for very pleasant listening, disregarding the trite lyrics. I also dig "Saddle up the Palomino," which probably marks the first and only time the words "saddle" and "Palamino" appear in the title to a rock song. "Bite the Bullet" is a bit grating, though - always gives me a headache.

Of course I know "Star of Bethlehem" and "Like A Hurricane" from "Decade," and both, especially "Hurricane," are excellent. I'd prefer a better recording of the epic "Will To Love." With all the background noise, it sounds more like an outtake than something that should be on a finished album. But perhaps that's part of its attraction - it sounds as drugged out as Neil no doubt was when he wrote and sang it.

This is a funny album. It's quite apparent on side one that backup singers Nicolette Larson and Linda Ronstadt have little idea where these songs are going or how to sing them. Indeed, according to what I've read, the two singers thought the one-day session in which these tracks were recorded in April 1977 was just a rehearsal, and didn't have time to really learn the songs. They were quite surprised when Neil released an album several weeks later with their crude vocals included. That's what I love about Neil - his lack of regard for sticking to standard procedure!

Revealing lyric: "Sometimes I ramble on and on..."

I agree with your 7-star rating.

takac@panet.co.yu
Here we have old Neil wrapped out into USA flag having good time playing songs as diverse as "Old Country Waltz" which made all those crazy hippie fans of Neil ask for a refund (it was declined becouse of this hole in the law that allowed rock stars "...to record country crap and call it folk ... that has rock and roll heritage ... and has direct influence in such art-house ... trendsetters like Velvet Underground and Neu!.."). Bemused hippies (completely unaware that 60's ended "Like seven years back..." as it was pronounced by bemused Tommy Chong on the corner of 12th and Broadway) totally dug "Saddle Up..." and "Hey Babe" as they figoured out that Neil must be even more burnout than all of them put together...

"Bite the Bullet" and even more - "Will to Love" reversed things and drove us all to secure waters that reached deepest depths on Neils best known and maybe best alltogether song - "You Are Like A Hurricane". This is Neil! Yeah! Groovy! Peace brothers and sisters! This is IT!

But then came "Homegrown"

Damn!

Add your thoughts?

Decade - Warner Bros. 1977.
Rating = 8

....Never let it be said that Neil "Hamburger" Young doesn't know how to put together an oddball compilation.

I don't care how you do it, but I'm willing to pay large bucks to ensure that such a statement is never spoken in the continental U.S. and English-speaking portions of Canada without swift and decisive retribution. I have a set of knives you might consider using, and supposedly the guy in my closet is great at Parcheesi (a martial art), so perhaps you might consider enlisting his aid.

But before we work out all the details, let me explain why I feel so strongly about what at first appears to be simple fascism or at very least violent repression of freedom of speech. Check out this sumbitch double album Dacnade that he put out in 1977 (or as I like to call it when I'm hanging upside down from the ceiling for auto-erotic purposes, "LLGI"). First of all, if his last name started with a D instead of a Y, he'd have to resign himself to constantly being written up as "Neil Dung" or "Neil Dong," neither of which are terribly preferable. Secondly, check out the song listing on this wild woolly mammal! First of all, nine of these songs aren't even by Neil Young -- they're by Wesley Willis! "Souuuuthern Maaaan! Souuuuthern Maaaaan! (repeat for full comedic effect and hilarity). No but to be fair, I was lying. They ARE by Neil Young per se, but not pus sy: SIX are by Buffalo Springsteen (three from Buffalo Springfield Again and one each from their other two albums), TWO are by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Powell (one each from Deja Vu and Four-Way Street) and ONE is even by The Stills-Young Band! I know I didn't review it here, but in case you were wondering, that Stills-Young album kinda blows.

Then there's more nutso happenings when you check out the song list. Actually, now that I check it again, it's not that nutso. I may have been remembering it wrong. No, wait - there! That's what it was! The fact that six of these songs are previously unreleased! I totally gotta tell you about those six too, so that the completists among you can make an informed decision about whether to pay one dollar for this in one of the five hundred billion dollar bins that it rests in across the nation right now. First is the lost Buffalo Springchicken track "Down To The Wire" (shortened to "Down To The Wir" when Robert Gotobed left the song), which has great echoey guitar breaks and vocals that are much less high and grating than most radio listeners might expect from ol' Neil. That song's a Diamond, Neil! Next up on Unreleased Gems is "Sugar Mountain," which I HATE. Then you flip the CD over and there's a very pretty song later covered by the Pixies ("Winterlong"), a couple of inoffensive but also uninteresting folky acoustic numbers ("Deep Forbidden Lake" and "Love Is A Rose") and a killer acoustic thriller called "Campaigner" that features one of Neil's funnier repeated lines: "Even Richard Nixon has got soul!" So if the rest of the double-album was thrown in a baggie full of dump, I'd give remaining 6-song EP a 7 out of 10. Worth your dollar? Heck yeth!

I definitely don't think that this does anywhere near presenting an accurate portrait of Neil, especially considering that it conveniently passes over every album he's recorded in the last 26 years. But if you see it on bargain sale and you're not sure whether you might ever become a Young fan or not, go ahead and get it. It's got the early radio classics "Old Man," "Ohio," "Heart of Gold," "Cinnamon Girl" and "Southern Man," plus a great scoopful of Neil's long epic style that works so well ("Cowgirl In The Sand," "Down By The River," "Cortez The Killer" and "Like A Hurricane." And then if you decide to buy more of his albums, well there's still the excitement of owning the six unreleased tracks and non-solo material! One thing to note though: for some reason, he chose not to include a single song from Time Fades Away. What kind of message does THAT send to the youth of today?

CAN'T CLOSE MY EYES!

Reader Comments

ian.moss@yale.edu (Ian Moss)
9/10

Actually, I would have liked to give it a 10, but Mark already gave it to Weld and I don't have Weld, so there's not much I can do about that. Anyway, Decade is an absolutely brilliant compilation, especially considering that Neil's hits were so spread out across the albums and that the individual albums were [ahem] a bit mixed for the most part. It has lots of his creaky old stuff like "Burned" and "Expecting to Fly," songs that, when you get past the creakiness, are really quite lovely. Then on Side 2 we've got "Down By the Sand" and "Cowgirl in the River," the two utterly interchangeable (but indescribably wonderful) jamfests, as well as some of his bigger hits from the early '70s. The third side has a few weak moments, like "Star of Bethlehem" and "Tired Eyes," but it also features all of Neil's acoustic niceties from Harvest ("Old Man," "Heart of Gold," "The Needle and the Damage Done" and of course "Harvest"). The fourth and final sub-partition of this masterwork is perhaps the best--sure it's got some fluff like "For the Turnstiles" and "Campaigner," but it's also got two of my favorite long-dong Yong songs ever: "Cortez the Killer" and "Like a Hurricane"! Decade also has a few previously unreleased tracks (a pioneer in this respect?); I can't remember all of their names, but one of them is really good: it's called "Winterlong" and it's on side 4.

It's not quite perfect, because they do leave out a few great tracks for no apparent reason. For example, I would have loved to see "When You Dance I Can Really Love" and "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" from After the Goldrush, and "Alabama" from Harvest included on the album. But kudos to Mr. Neil Jung for making sure to put his classic Buffalo Springfield ("Mr. Soul") and CSNY ("Helpless," "Ohio") tunes on here. Anyway, in reference to Mark's comment that Decade "may well be good as [Live Rust]"--I have both albums, and Decade is by far the superior foray, I say. Pray don't delay--buy it today, hombre.

jfiero1@lsu.edu (Joshua Fiero)
Decade is an odd duck of a compilation. People who only want Neil Young's "hits" aren't going to be all that enthusiastic about shelling out thirty bucks for a two-disc set, and folks who like the damn flappy-headed Canadian bastard enough to spend that kinda money in the first place would be better served by getting the albums. But hey, on the plus side - Neil put "Sugar Mountain" on it!

jason_a@earthlink.net (Jason Adams)
Only the self-righteous and unfair attack on the South in "Southern Man", and the comatose "The Old Laughing Lady" fail to be brilliant here. Shows Neil Young as a great, versatile, uncompromising artist capable of being as gentle as James Taylor is and then able to rock as hard as The Stones. And this is a smart purchase for the thrifty music fan!

jcjh20@aol.com
Just wanna say that "Winterlong" is a very nice beauty of a song that should of been released on one of Neils regular albums. The Pixies also do a great cover of it as well.

Daniel Rosenberg
For years, I resisted buying this album. Maybe it was the $30 price tag. Or maybe it was the fear that as a Neil Young neophyte all these songs at once would be too much for my system. Eventually, I did acquire Decade and I'm glad. It's the most complete and best-assembled greatest hits album in history, though it's only up to date through 1977. And it's a perfect introduction to the artist.

Some of the tunes here are absolute must-haves that aren't available anywhere else (Winterlong, Campaigner, Soldier, Down To The Wire). Others, like Ohio and Long May You Run, are available elsewhere, but hard to find. And still others (Like a Hurricane, Mr. Soul, Down by The River) are among the artist's best and of course have to be here even though you probably already have them on other albums.

This collection also picks the best tracks off of some of Neil's weaker albums (Harvest and the self-titled debut) and puts them in one place, meaning you never have to bother putting on the albums they come from. If I'm in the mood for "Old Man," I seldom take out my dust-covered Harvest CD. Instead, I put on Decade to hear it. And if I want to listen to The Loner, a fantastic rocker which originally appeared on Neil's so-so debut, I always listen to it on Decade so I can enjoy it amid better company.

Some nit-picks: The tune selection from On the Beach isn't too hot. Why did Neil choose "For the Turnstiles' instead of something with more verve, like Revolution Blues, or something prettier, like See the Sky About To Rain? Also, it's a shame Ambulance Blues isn't on Decade, as it's one of Neil's best cuts ever.

In addition, there's nothing here from the great Time Fades Away album, which remains unreleased on CD. Don't Be Denied or Journey Through the Past (the song, not the album) would both fit in well on Decade, as would have Barstool Blues from Zuma and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (the title song from Neil's second record).

And of course, the album stops in 1977. It's been 26 years, which makes me wonder when Neil will decide to grace us with another hits collection. He'd probably need a three-disc set to follow up.

A 10, easily

Add your thoughts?

Comes A Time - Warner Bros. 1978.
Rating = 6

This was his most country/western album to date, and for that reason alone I have to lower the grade. I personally am just not that big a fan of straightforward midtempo country/western music. Does my name appear to be Tex? Shit no, my name's not Tex. Try again, mister.

The problem with straightforward C/W is that, like the blues, the melodic invention quotient is just so limited. You, the listener or, in this case, myself, the revered musician and part-time rock and roll critic extraordinaire Dave Marsh, can always predict the changes and the melody they'll use in the chorus. It's certainly "pleasant" - I mean, if you like C/W, this certainly won't give you a headache or anything. The playing and production are smooth, and Neil has a lovely little country drawl going. But for me, the real fun comes in the first four songs, when he doesn't stick to generic country riffage. "Lotta Love"! "Look Out For My Love"! Classics! Classics, my friend!

And I was fibbing you when I said my name was Dave Marsh. If that was the case, my head would be all smelly and brown from having it lodged so far up Bruce Springsteen's ass all these years.

Reader Comments

rangas@hotmail.com (Ranga John)
A bit too crappy for my liking.

This gets a Six from me as well...

Daniel Rosenberg
After reading the two reviews here already, I have to add my two cents. Comes A Time is one of Neil's best, and I say that as someone who also immensely enjoys his harder stuff like Zuma and Ragged Glory. The melodies here are almost all memorable, and the country stuff (like the fiddle on the title track) isn't overdone and sounds very tasteful. I'm not a country fan, myself, so if this were overly country, as Mark insinuates, I probably wouldn't like it. The title track, "Going Back," "Human Highway," "Already Gone," and his cover of "Four Strong Winds" rate as some of Neil's finest acoustic work ever, and "Look Out For My Love" stands on its own as one of Neil's best songs ever, acoustic or otherwise. Also, I'm partial to "Lotta Love," which is kind of country sounding, so sue me. Nicolette Larson's harmony vocals (present on most of these songs) mesh perfectly with Neil's own unique voice. This is Neil's best acoustic-tinged album, way ahead of both Harvest and Harvest Moon. Don't listen to the first two reviews here - go out and buy this underrated classic!

takac@panet.co.yu
Hey, hey. My, my...

Well you play this record. Just put it in your cassette player... (Nyeah! Dont feel bad that you still listen to them damn tapes that must be million years old by now... but remember at those morons that still have turntables!!! Ha ha ha... wacko's!) and just listen! Sit down and just relax and munch on "Going Back" ... Think of some lazy sunday afternoon and relax like there's nothing to bother you...Yeah! Now goes "Comes A Time" and you sit there drink your ice tea and relax...This old world keeps turning around...If you dont fall a sleep by now you'll hear beautyfull "Lookout for my Love", "Lotta Love", "Piece of mind" ... Then you might be waken by "Motorcicle mamma" but you dont care becouse then comes "Four Strong Winds" and you go to Alberta...

Great record!!!

Add your thoughts?

Rust Never Sleeps - Warner Bros. 1979.
Rating = 8

An excellent example of all that Neil Young is capable of - the first half is acoustic, folky and gorgeous, with the classics "Pocohontas" and "My My, Hey Hey" surrounded by three other deeee-good songs with jingledy-jangle BOOROP!. Then there's four full band rock and roll songs for part B of your daily escapade into life and potatoes!!! PTOETOJESS!!!!!!, presenting you with the ungodly scene-setting of "Powderfinger" (read the lyrics - it's like you're RIGHT THERE; those gorgeous back-up "oooo"s don't hurt either!) - definitely one of my favorite Debbie Gibson songs ever, the redneck joke stupidity (but loud!) of "Welfare Mothers," the damn-near punky energy of "Sedan Delivery" and finally the sickening distorto-blast "Hey Hey My My," which I would like a lot better if they'd left out the unnecessary "scary" "tension" chord which is neither scary nor tense.

Though not perfect from start to finish, this is definitely one of the most consistent and popular studio albums he's ever made. Not all of his best songs are here, of course, and it's pretty darn short, being from the 70s and all, but if you're not familiar with what exactly it is that Neil does, this is a great place to start your collection - you got country, folk, pop, sludge rock, redneck slop, and most importantly when you stick it up your ass, a can of Dr. Pepper pops out. That's actually included in the package. If you're at the CD store and you can't remember the name of this CD, just pull all the CDs out of the bin and start shoving 'em up your ass. The guy behind the counter will understand that you're just trying to find the one where a can of Dr. Pepper pops out when you stick it up your ass.

There are those who will say that I'm obsessed with the idea of shoving things up my ass. Those are the very same people that need to see you in the CD store shoving a bunch of Neil Young CDs up your ass. So be sure to make a loud announcement letting everybody know that you are about to start sticking them up your ass, so that if any of my detractors are in the store, they will see you and finally understand that it's the WORLD that is obsessed with sticking things up my ass - NOT ME! I'll tell you that RIGHT now!!!!

Quit looking at me.

Reader Comments

COSMICBEN@aol.com (Ben Marlin)
This is consistently "very good," but outside of maybe "Pocahontas" (not that Vanessa Williams Disney song, which is actually kinda pretty) and "Powderfinger," which is damn catchy, none of it is "great" in my humble opinion. Which isn't actually as humble as you'd think. I honestly do believe I'm better than you. Anyway, the whole thing is very enjoyable, but I never feel like listening to it, so I'll give it a 7.

Homelessperson22@cs.com (Zach English)
One of my personal heroes. Neil's an incredible guitar player who doesn't fuck around or try to show off; he's got a charming, cracked voice which I love in the same way that I love Curt Kirkwood's and Will Oldham's voices; and as Mark mentioned earlier he's an honest, sincere guy who cares about his kid. I seem to be in the slight minority here, but Rust Never Sleeps gets my ten by a long shot. I love Zuma and Tonight's the Night as much as the next guy, but there's something that's always felt...epic...and resounding about the way these songs were written. 'My My, Hey Hey' is a superb, creepy thriller in both of its versions, but my favorites have always been the downright harrowing "Sedan Delivery" and the heartbreaking "Pocahontas." "Ride My Llama" can be enoyed just for the way Neil throws in those bizarre chord changes. Crazy Horse is another of those no-bullshit, straightforward hard rock bands that impresses constantly because of their focus and melodic know how (AC/DC and the Ramones also come to mind), not because of some radical tinkering with their formula. This is a damn near perfect album.

rangas@hotmail.com (Ranga John)
This one gets my ten - no doubt about it.

This is actually one of the finest albums I own. I really mean it - how awesome is 'Powderfinger'? Didya know there's an Aussie group here called Powderfinger - yep they named the band after the song - and they're pretty good too, although they'd better make sure they were good because we can't have a crappy band named after a kick-ass song could we?

Oh, and I love 'Sail Away' as well - hell I love the whole album, even 'Ride My Llama' - how's that for stupidity?

ndurazo@ucla.edu (Nick Durazo)
This was one of those CDs that I bought from BMG because the all-music guide told me to and I still haven't thanked them for that. Actually, this CD's not that great, but it does have four absolute gems in "My My, Hey Hey", "Pocahontas", "Powderfinger", and the yet-to-be-mentioned "Thrasher". The other ones are okay, but nothing to write home about ("Welfare Mothers" never seems to go anywhere). Speaking of underrated, how come no one has mentioned "Thrasher"? I haven't the slightest idea what ole Neil's talking about, but he uses a lot of cool similes and metaphors and other literary devices I learned in 7th grade (I'm sure there's an onomotapeia in there somewhere) and his vocal performance gives me goosebumps every time. I suppose I'd give this a 7 and a half, I don't usually review classic rock albums (mostly metal) but since this one's in my collection thanks to the All-Music Guide (there's the thanks I was talking about) I thought I'd give it a shot.

jechd@netzero.net (Daryl Jech)
Just 2cents to plug Thrasher. One of his best to meditate on; then, throw on Cortez to flush it out. Most of the comments on this page don't seem to mention Neil's poetry much. A nice line is one thing, but he has some complete poems, too. Songs that make you work, but with rewards. Thrasher is a great example. The layers of meaning go deep and on and on, and rotate into each other. Light/dark, plant/grow/grim-reap, young/old, gain/lose, follow/lead, life/mortality--all traditional images/themes writers have harvested for centuries--twisted in with Neil's own quirky imagery, such as the jangly credit card fuel metaphor. These verses are not random.

nator9999@comcast.net (Nathan)
This is my favorite out of all the Neil Young records I own (After the Goldrush, Harvest, On the Beach) just because I love the sound, and some of his best songs are on here. The first side is practically flawless, even if 'Ride my Llama' is pretty silly. Powderfinger is some of Neil's finest rocking along with the closing track. The other two tracks on the second side are the low point for me, but 'Welfare Mothers' is a fun riff rocker. By the way, does anybody else think that 'Sedan Delivery' sounds uncannily like a Husker Du song? It's just a punky, feedback drenched riff with short psychedelic interludes---if it weren't for Neil's singing it easily could have fit on Zen Arcade!

Daniel Rosenberg
For those who wrote here saying they're not sure what "Thrasher" is about: The song describes Neil's relations with his sometime band-mates Crosby, Stills and Nash. At the time (1978), he was pretty distant from those three, having two years earlier abandoned Steven Stills midway through the Stills-Young Band tour. CSNY also hadn't put out an album of new material since 1970 and hadn't toured since 1974, though CSN did do some albums on their own. Lyrics like, "So I got bored and left them there, they were just deadweight to me; better down the road, without that load" and "How I lost my friends, I still don't understand" and "There was nothing that they needed, nothing left to find" all refer to what Neil saw as CSN's lack of desire to do anything new with their music and his feeling distant from what they were about. At least that's my interpretation. Since 1978, Young has gotten back together with CSN for two albums, neither of which were supposed to be that good. And CSNY has toured several times. So maybe they get along better these days. CSN, by the way, especially Nash, weren't too happy about Thrasher when they heard it. Asked about it later, Young said something like, "I see why they were mad, but what am I supposed to do, not do the song just because someone doesn't like it?"

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
Wild sodomy commited by furious, insane and starving baboons is sexy. Sexier than 'Sail Away' and Rust Never Sleeps is Neil Young's best.......... Exxx-cept for Freedom..... hm, I give this one a 9.

takac@panet.co.yu
All coolen down from "Comes A Time" Neil takes his electric guitar and goes "Dam bam bam bam bam bam! Dam bam bam...!" and he finally noticed that punk thing that happened in the daze of mid seventees...

But "Thrasher" shows reversing into acoustic folk stuff "How I Lost My friends I still dont understand" moaning that later inspired a guy to make mr. Young's fansite...

"Ride my Llama"?! "Pocachontas"?! "Sail Away"?!

I imagine Neil writing these songs 5 minutes before some radio show where he's obliged to play a new song to the growing wheelin' AM audience all acros the American mid-west...Damn fillers! I hate fillers! If you dont have 45 minutes of songs for a LP - have a EP!

"Powderfinger" is Neil Young at his best! This song inspired some Australian guis to make NY\CH tribute band becouse the guy comes down there once in decade or so... Rest of the songs are to this day unavoidable on Neils live setlist. Why?! Becouse they are THAT good!

Add your thoughts?

Live Rust - Warner Bros. 1979.
Rating = 9

GOD I FUCKING HATE FUCKING "SUGAR MOUNTAIN." That's track one though. Skip track one and you have Neil and Crazy Morse runnink through great live versions of most of the best songs of his career (and skipping the obvious stuff like "Old Man" and "Southern Man" and "Heart of Gold Man" that everybody had grown tired of anyway). 15 great tunas! And "Sugar Mountain," just in case you forget what a shitty song sounds like!

Oh. And I would have appreciated him not making a stupid joke out of "Cortez The Killer" at the end, but who am I? Jerry Falwell?

Yes! Yes I am. I'm filling in for Mark Prindle on this particular Neil Young review. Peace, my brothers!

Reader Comments

ian.moss@yale.edu (Ian Moss)
As good a track list as this is, and as good a live musician as Neil Young is, this album nevertheless is a tiny bit underwhelming. Part of the problem is, as Mark mentioned, him making a joke out of "Cortez the Killer" at the end; part of it is his slightly half-assed performance of "Like a Hurricane"; part of it's that both those songs are shorter than they should be. Don't get me wrong, it's still really good--just not the blowout live album that I had hoped for. And where are "Cowgirl in the Sand" and "Down By the River"? 8.

takac@panet.co.yu
Ah, this is NEIL YOUNG as I know it, since this was my first NY\CH record.

And What a better way to learn about this guy - than this mervelous memorabilia of that artist, band, music, decade!

First part - Neil, alone and acoustic plays best hits from last records: "Sugar Moutain", "Comes a Time", "I am a child", "My My...(OOTB)" and "After the god Rush"

Second part - Crazy Horse!!! They play best RNR cuts from last decade - from "Cinnamon Girl" to "Powderfinger" and what an encore ("Tonight's the Night"!).

Glorious!

Glorious, but a swansong!

End of an era!

isaac3rd@comcast.net
Okay, how to say this...I've never heard Rust Never Sleeps but it's one of my favorite albums. Wait, really.

See, I saw the Rust Never Sleeps concert, happened a few days after I graduated. Went with my best bud and a dude from Chicago and ate some high octane shrooms on the way. We had to drive more than a hundred miles and anybody that ever drove from Laramie, Wyoming to Denver will tell you that's the only way to do it. Otherwise the boredom will just suck the living soul right out through your pores. So we get there and there's a long line of cars at the entrance ramp. So what happens while we're sittin there--right when the shroomage starts kickin in, we get rear-ended by some other jokers. We're all so twisted we just look long enough and see there's no damage and say fuck it, no big deal. So we go inside and decide our nose bleed section seats ain't gonna cut it so we walk right past the rent-a-chump security guard and jump the rail and walk around on the floor of the arena for a minute and see three seats open in the third row on the floor. So we sit down like we got tickets for em, and WHOEVER HAD THE TICKETS FOR THE SEATS NEVER SHOW UP. Now how cool is that? One fuck towel (where did I see that expression before?) of a concert. When Neil played Cortex The Killer he pointed out to the back of the arena and said "here he comes," we had to turn around and look for the mother fucker cause Neil was pulling all kinds of cool stuff right out of his ass all night. If Neil said Cortez was comin, we were gonna be ready for it goddammit! We were so high we didn't care that he was lying. Made us look! I almost shit in some other guy's pants, it was so fuckin cool. What a great concert! One of the best I ever saw.

But I never did hear the album except for a couple things that were on the radio ALL THE TIME a year later. But I saw the shit with my own eyes and somebody else's too, so it's one of my all time favorite albums. I don't need to hear it.

Add your thoughts?

Hawks & Doves - Warner Bros. 1980.
Rating = 7

Jesus H. Figureoa, this N.Y. character just can't sit pretty, can he? Every time he wins back a critic and/or fan base with his straightforward folk/rock, he turns right back around at approximately a 180-degree angle and kicks out some more poorly produced redneck music with ugly Levon Helm backup vocals. Tragically enough, some of actually seems FUN this time around! Maybe because it only takes about 13 minutes of the record. Side one is respectable acoustic material. Side two though - holy bejeezus. It's a fiddle-driven hoedown! The lyrics appear to be political, but who can ever really tell with this metaphor-happy high school dropout at the wheel.

Which reminds me -- what in God's name is "The Old Homestead" about? Shadows? Naked Riders? Birds 1, 2 and 3?

Oh I get it -- it's about Ronald Reagan (a shadowy figure) poking at the buttock of a naked rider (birds 1 and 3) while Richard Nixon (Dick Knickers).... oh fuck you.

Reader Comments

averama@webtv.net (Mike Avera)
"The Old Homestead" - this song deals with Neils' tenuous relationship with Crosby, Stills, and Nash

esweenor@charter.net (Eric Sweenor)
Well, this sounds like a rednecky hobo jamboroo. Even the much-hyped CD reissue that just came out can't improve the fact that "Little Wing" sounds like it was recorded on a Playskool tape deck thrown under a pile of stuffed animals. Apart from that miserly experience, the rest of the album is moderately enjoyable, definitely better than crap like "Homegrown" on Stars'n'Bars. "Captain Kennedy" reminds me of "Pocahontas" for some reason. And "Union Man" and "Comin' Apart at Every Nail" point to the dumb trash-rock of Re*ac*tor. 6.5/10, okay stuff, but how many times can you really listen to it, and will it ever really sink in?

Daniel Rosenberg
First, Mark, let me correct your review. Levon Helm doesn't sing background on any of these tracks, though he does drum on one, according to the liner notes in my LP. The only male background singer besides Neil Young himself was steel guitarist Ben Keith. This is one of Young's weirdest albums, and that's really saying something considering that Young is a pretty weird artist in general. The first side and second sides are completely different. Side One is mostly acoustic, kind of a solo performance by Young, whereas Side Two is about as country hick as you'll ever hear him. The best songs on Side One are Lost in Space, which sounds like he made it up as he recorded it but in a good way, and Captain Kennedy (I read somewhere that Young stole the tune, but I'll forgive him because it sounds so good). Old Homestead is a bit long and dull, though the tune is nice. The first two songs on Side Two are completely forgettable redneck hash, so I'll leave them alone. Union Man, however, demonstrates Young's wry sense of humor. Hilarious track with Young and Keith pretending to be participants at a musician's union meeting (Keith proposes making bumper stickers that say, "Live music is better."). The next song, Comin' Apart at Every Nail, sounds like a continuation of Union Man, with very catchy background vocals from Keith and a female singer whose name escapes me. And the finale, Hawks and Doves, also has a nifty little chorus that some say demonstrates Young's jingoism ("USA, USA"). However, it could be seen as a parody of people who think that way. Young himself says he wrote it in response to his anger at the Iran hostage situation, and the song was recorded on July 4, 1980, right in the midst of the Reagan vs. Carter election season. I don't put this album on much, but it is an interesting one. Six stars.

Add your thoughts?

Re-ac-tor - Warner Bros. 1981.
Rating = 7

This is the most fun Neil Young has ever allowed himself to have on an album. The music is all bashing distorted trash rock with no subtlety or dynamics at all, and half of the songs are complete jokes ("Opera Star" features a hilarious refrain of the band members imitating opera singers, and "T-Bone" is a nine-minute, three-chord song with a total of seven words that are repeated over and over again, etc). But that's good! You won't find anything even close to a "classic" on here, but you'll have fun listening to it. Especially if you're drunk on beer and turn the volume up really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really loud.

The last song is supposed to be serious, though, and it totally doesn't fit in. It also has lots of dumb sound effects in it. I give it a 52!

Reader Comments

esweenor@charter.net (Eric Sweenor)
Another surprisingly excellent album from Young. Yes, it is really dumb, but it's also fun, something Neil Young seems to not have that often. Are there better albums? Yeah, of course, but it gets points for the thunderous pounding of "T-Bone" (for 10 minutes!) and the oddly tense, criminally unknown "Shots". 8/10

orlandodude
Another fine review, Mr. Prindle. As you've noted, Neil was entering into a rather depressing time in his life. I think this album was an attempt to have some mindless fun. Sure, most of it is LOUD and repetitive, but it makes sense if you understand where he was at the time. There are several good songs here (and a couple of crapfests, but even they have their moments). Plus the Horse grooves, despite the lousy production. CRANK IT, preferably with headphones. I give it an 8.

Add your thoughts?

Trans - Geffen 1982.
Rating = 8

This is probably Neil's least popular record, written off as an awful new wave disaster by fair weather friends and Nair Feathered Bends just the same. But listen up, if this was a Kraftwerk album, I'd give it a low 8. A Cars album? Low 8. Velvet Underground? 3. So just because it doesn't sound like Neil Young, am I supposed to laugh it off and throw it out the window like you might throw Snoop Doggy Dogg's decaying corpse out of a window? Hell no! This is a wildass convergence of computer synth vocoder technology and Crazy Horse-style slop rock (with production leaning towards the stiff new wave pop side), with tonally freakish vocals (mostly sung through a vocoder, rendering them completely unrecognizable and almost indecipherable!) and catchy keyboard melodies that are, in my view, as hummable and moving as nearly anything the Neilster has ever done. Hell, the worst songs are the normal ones! "Little Thing Called Love," for example - that's an absolutly atrocious country song.

I try -- I fail sometimes -- but I try very hard to not laugh something off too much just because of production. Yes, the production on this one is TOTAL early 80s (check out "Like An Inca" - hilarious!), but if you like new wave even at ALL, you should be able to totally dig most of these tunes. "Sample And Hold"? "Transformer Man"? Neat stuff! Stiffen your arms and jerk them around like Devo!

(Fans of the bizarre -- the album even has an 80s keyboard pop re-recording of "Mr. Soul"!!!!!)

I'm fairly certain that I have just given this album the most positive review it has ever received by anybody, but I try to judge based on my own personal enjoyment of the record at hand and, personally, I find this one much catchier and more creative as a whole than Comes A Time, Tonight's The Night and even Harvest! Am I a fool for thinking this way?

Abso-friggin-lutely. This album is pathetic. But so is my musical taste, which places bouncy synth shit miles above generic country/western. Don't buy this album unless you find it in a dollar bin. Otherwise you'll be looking to punch my ass in the nose.

Can I say one more thing that may help you to enjoy this album as much as I do? Neil recorded this shortly after his wife gave birth to a handicapped child that father and mother were told would never be able to communicate with them verbally. It broke Neil's heart that he couldn't communicate with his own son. This album was his way of dealing with his emotions (check out the lyrics to some of these tunes -- "Transformer Man" is a beautiful song about his son), and his use of vocoder was meant to make US feel the way that he felt around his son. Frustrated, confused and maybe even a little disappointed. I personally think it was an extremely moving and personal gesture, and I dig the tunes too.

Reader Comments

rangas@hotmail.com (Ranga John)
I really think that this album is misunderstood.

It's a damn fantastic piece of plastic. 'Like an Inca'? He should play this more often - it's his best song from the 80's, incluing 'Rockin in the Free World'.

The sythesized songs are also great. I'm not the biggest fan of 'Sample & Hold', there's no way you'd see me wearing a t-shirt that says 'I LIKE SAMPLE & HOLD', but that said, 'Transformer Man' is a great song for his son Ben, whose Cerebal Palsy inspired the album.

Give the album an eight. It gets docked a point for 'Sample & Hold' and another because I can't see myself playing it as much as I play 'Rust Never Sleeps'.

test_tube138@hotmail.com (Charles)
The worst piece of fucking shit ever put on CD! I'll tell you right now I fucking hate Neil Young and every single worthless and sorry ass piece of shit he's ever recorded and told us it was music. But man, this is the absolute worst! Mainly for the first 2 songs, which I almost die from laughing everytime I hear, Sample and Hold and Transformer Man. Sample and Hold is some weird ass phoney 80s techno/new wave song that was obviously done by someone from the outside who doesn't understand the music, which is like all of his records are, all half assed attempts from a dickhead. He's better playing that wimpy ass redneck whino music like on Harvest Moon. Transformer Man is really really bad, and funny as hell, imagine the Pet Shop Boys given a nitro injection of 100% pure uncut faggotry added ontop of their already nancy boy gayness and you got Transformer Man (i'm not against homosexuals, its just fun making fun of the Pet Shop Boys). Its a little light and fluffy drum and keyboard part with some light sounding guys in the back saying transformer man and going doo doo doo doo in a very gay way. Neil Young has his voice distorted to where it sounds like its trying to rape you. Its scary! Its really really high, he sounds like a psychotic clown waving a candy bar in front of a little boy asking him if he wants to come in a circus tent with him and eat more candy. I got the CD for free, a friend works for Geffen and he gave me a box of free CDs onetime, as he warned alot of these suck, which he was right, so I sold them all to used to CD stores for some good money. Do not get unless its for free, but the horrible song Transformer Man is kinda worth the whole 2 bucks for this CD, cause you'll find it in the bargain bin.

Colin T.
i'm not against jews, i just like the soap.

esweenor@charter.net (Eric Sweenor)
Well, it ain't Kraftwerk...

But it is actually really cool...the original 6-minute version of "Sample and Hold" on the vinyl release is certainly the better, and the weird, Devo-ishly jerky "Mr. Soul" is worth hearing. Maybe not that often, admittedly, but at least once. On the whole, well written songs, and there's even a couple of just plain country-ish rock numbers that seem out of place (whose titles elude me now) but on the whole it's worth hearing, and it surprises me how much I go back to it. 7/10

NMcpherson@fac.unc.edu (Earl McPherson)
My sister and her friends along with me went to see Neil at Carmichael Auditorium in Chapel Hill about the time this album came out. He made some comments about the acoustics of the place and said something about basketball which drew some boos. He played the show solo with only one guy who played banjo on "Old Man". The first part was very good and then he switched over to the techno crap and it was all over with. They had a screen above where he stood and on it flashed a film of Neil wearing these weird glasses and singing in this strange voice while the real Neil stood below with some kind of synthesizer hooked to his mouth [if I remember right]. I'm glad that period didn't last too long in his career.

Jcjh20@aol.com
I recently acquired this album because, being the sick individual i am, i like to hear "train-wreck" albums. Albums that caused a lot of controversy or notoriety. I really love Beach Boys' Smiley Smile, and also i also enjoy Bob Dylan's Self Portrait and New Morning a lot. This one isn't as great as those, but i still enjoy this album a lot. The idea of Neil Young doing synth-driven, bouncy new wavish electronic stuff with vocoder seemed really interesting to me, even though i'm not even a particular big fan of the style (not yet, at least).

Anyways, this album is pretty damn weird. And sometimes pretty funny too. The production is very dated, but once you get used to it, it's just the type of production that suites what sound Neil was going for anyway. I don't know if i'm just crazy, but songs like "Transformer Man" and that bridge towards the end of "Computer Age" is actually beautiful! That high pitched vocoder sounds really nice, like some crazy electronic synth tone. And i also think that the aforementioned "Transformer Man" could sound like a Paul Mccartney/Wings type tune if it wasn't all electronic sounding.

I agree with the 8 overall. "Computer Cowboy" doesn't go anywhere or do anything much interesting, and i agree what you said about the most normal and typical sounding songs being the worst. I like "Little Thing Called Love" and the like, but i really like the fact that Neil tried out a totally different style than what he usually does better, and songs like that belong to a different album.

takac@panet.co.yu
Uh, how hard it is to understand this.

Neil was really stupid when he DEFENDED himself from critics of THIS record.

I LOVE it!!! Why?! Becouse!

Its different, its unexpected, its crazy, its brave, its novelty, its blasphemy, its denying all of the Neils heritage...

Well with his old hippie fanbase became either "burnout dead" or "married 3 kids trailer park alcoholic fadeaways" Neil had to start 80's with something fresh.

Then, he often said how his expirience with his son - was the main factor in making "Trans" such a record. And I belive him.

The cold, distant, programmed, repetive record matches autism completely.

But, then again - it might be just me being a complete moron.

I love this record!

rkay51@hotmail.com (Ryan Kelly)
Transformer man - upon seeing the title and given a first listen I laughed it off. Another listen and it caught my ear. A few more and it's freakin heartbreaking! And then you learn what its about, it has to be one of the most tearjerking and (as you say) moving songs in Young's impressive catalogue.

Speaking of Kraftwerk - man, you should review some Kraftwerk! Their albums would get rated (from Autobahn) 8,7,10,10,10 (that's right, I said it), 7, 7, 9, 9.

Add your thoughts?

Everybody's Rockin' - Geffen 1983.
Rating = 7

Did I mention yet how much Neil infuriated Geffen? The minute he joined the label, he got all screwy with a Kraftwerk album, now here is doing a '50s rock and roll nostalgia album! And a 25-minute one at that! Who did he think he was????

Well, he thought he was the father of a special-needs child and that he should be home taking care of business there instead of spending all year in the studio and on the road. Thus, when you consider how atrocious this record should have been, it's surprisingly pleasing to discover that this shit is goofyass fun! Every song sounds exactly the same as the last, mind you, but since when is that a bad thing? I love the Ramones and AC/DC too, and when they did their 50s nostalgia albums (Rocket To Memphis and Highway To Memphis respectively), I didn't just fuckin' ditch the bums. I stayed true blue like Madonna or some other talentless whore. And thus I give Niels Bamberger the thumbs up for this dumb little excursion because the boogie woogie piano makes my foot bounce up and down, and "Wonderin'" was the very first Neil Young song I ever heard!!!! Cousin Brucie used to play it on channel 36 all the time! Thank you Cousin Brucie!!!! You're a good, good, solid man, Cousin Brucie!!!!

Reader Comments

jim.celer@hhss.state.ne.us
Right after this album came out I went to a Neil Young Concert and was thinking "Yeah, maybe he'll start with Tell Me Why and then When You Dance and I hope Like A Hurricane - woo woo!" Instead, it was Neil and a bunch of computers and he did nearly this whole album. Then it was intermission and I was thinking that when he came back it's be Tell Me Why etc. Instead, he came out with the Pink Poodles or whatever they were, and did crap from the NEXT album called "Happy Days Was Too Realistic, Let's Intoduce Fluff To Fifties Nostalgia".

Man was I pissed. But then I remembered when I got mad at an audience at a Cryan Shames concert, because everyone wanted to hear "Sugar and Spice" and they wanted to do their more progressive experimental cutting edge stuff.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Or, since this is the internet, :-) : -) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)!

My reaction to the thought of "cutting edge Cryan Shames" is the same feeling you get at the thought of your parents doing it: Brrrrrr.

So the logical conclusion is that, to be consistent, I had to allow Neil to meet not my expectations, but his own; and that he is obviously the Andy Kauffman of rock (or country/folk. psychadelia/punk/metal, whatever day this is.

By the way, my top 5 favorite songs today are 1)She Loves You 2) Dolphin Dance 3) Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again 4) Naima 5) Country Girl I think you're pretty got to make you understand have no lovers in the city let me be your country man.

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Old Ways - Geffen 1985.
Rating = 6

In yet another artistic maneuver calculated to infuriate David Geffen who had signed him on account of his popular folk/rock and luscious ass, Neil invites all his redneck buddies over to the house tonight and records a straight country/western album. Waylon is here! Willie is here! Jews' harp! Dobro! Steel guitar! Mandolin! Banjo! Fiddles! Harmonica! Vocals! Drums! Hang on I'm not done yet. Bass! Strings! Background vocal! Electric guitars! Acoustic guitars! Autoharp! Percussion! Arrangement! Piano! Booking! Equipment handling!

Again, I'm not a huge fan of country/western music, but all these neat instruments do sound really nice (especially steel guitar - that there is an EXCELLENT instrument). Really pretty album cover too. My woman says it looks like half photo and half painting, but I can't tell because I'm really stupid.

Neil's got friends in low places! And is proud to present one of the weakest albums of his career! Well... maybe not true. But the least interesting to a non-C/W fan, that's for surely shure.

How come I always get canker sores?

Reader Comments

jeromesolberg@attbi.com (Jerome Solberg)
I've never heard this Album - except in excerpts. But I can guess - it's like a lot of Neil Young Album's - half-assed, but the man's got a way with melody, and the song's always have some kind of half-crazed "character". They at least keep you paying attention. Even Are You Passionate has that character - try putting it on in the car. It's better than most of Sebadoh!

Canker sores are generally caused by secondary infections of minor cuts in the mouth caused during the act of eating (hard candy is one primary cause). Sometimes the primary cause can be an infection caused by a cold The key is that the primary infection/abrasion will generally heal very quickly unless a secondary infection from bacteria already in the mouth occurs. This secondary infection can be prevented by brushing your teeth very well - including the tongue - and using an antibacterial mouthwash frequently. I have also found that Lysine supplements work well. Apparrently they help to suppress secondary infections in the mouth (my dentist told me that).

stevec@brella.org
The tragedy of this rekkid is that he recorded Misfits to fit in with the dodgy genre production. I saw him play this song as a straight-out "Neil & Crazy Horse" song in '84 and it was majestic. But on this record, it sucks. Same goes for Wonderin' on Everybody's Rockin' - the unfucked version (as it appeared on some '70's bootlegs) was classic Young .

Canker sores ain't nothin' - it's cantankerous sores you need to watch out for. Ask Neil Young.

orlandodude
Not a big fan of country music here. But as I stated in another response, I found this one on tape in a cut-out bin in exchange for 50 cent (and I was glad to trade that talentless piece of shit for a tape). I popped it into my Oldsmobile Cutlass's fancy Radio Shack hi-fi tape deck and cruised along. "Country-fried steak and eggs!" said I!! This is really good, I thought. For a while, I blamed that opinion on copious consumption of Pabst Blue Ribbon. But then I played the tape again, and played the tape and ....then it broke. Then I found it on CD, and now I can't break it, and I don't want to. This is a quality album, especially when you consider that it was a big middle finger to Geffen (who enjoyed a finger or two sometimes, apparently). I give "Mold Trays" 7 or 8 stars.

BTW, we have outbreaks of citrus canker all the time in Florida. I still wonder who those oranges were necking with (or with whom they were necking....). It was probably those damn grapefruits. Canker- filled fruits, they are.

Add your thoughts?

A Treasure - Reprise 2011
Rating = 6

According to Neil, the album's name comes from pedal steel guitarist Ben Keith: "I hadn't heard these takes in 25 years, but when we unearthed them Ben said, 'This is a treasure.'" Ben blew it; if I'd been there, it'd be called This Stinks. Do You Have Any Trans Outtakes?

This live album was recorded on Neil's '84-'85 tour, when he was playing country music with a banjo fiddlin' piano lap slidin' redneck combo called The International Harvesters. Its contents include two Old Ways dungkickers, two Re-Ac-Tor bootscratchers, one Harvester of Sorrow, one Southerned-up Buffalo Springfield oldie, and six rarin' to go rarities -- to go! If you hate country-western music, I urge you to stay planets away from this hoedown barn jamboree. But if you have a soft spot in your liver from excessive alcohol intake, you just might find A Treasure to be A Pleasure!

As for me, I certainly don't consider myself a C/W fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I know great melody when I hear it, and I hear it in at least half of these twelve tracks. First of all, it takes more than a banjo and 1-2 beat to ruin classic Neil Young, so "Flying On The Ground Is Wrong," "Motor City," "Get Back to the Country" and "Southern Pacific" easily avoid the syrupy cliches that mar most of the songs that were actually *written* for the International Harvesters. Sadly, a mere two of the rare tracks rise above their generic tropes to reward multiple listens; daughter tribute "Amber Jean" is as sweet as they come, and first single "Grey Riders" is a dramatic western rocker to rival the similarly-titled "Ghost Riders"!

The rest just sounds like the worst stuff on Old Ways -- redneck country, Southern hick-rock and sloppy drunk blooze'n'bloograss -- all predictable, generic and very samey. The band certainly has credentials (guitar/banjoist Anthony Crawford had played with Eddie Rabbit, Tanya Tucker and Roseanne Cash; Cajun fiddler Rufus Thibodeaux had backed Lefty Frizzell, George Jones, Jim Reeves and Slim Harpo; pianist Spooner Oldham played on the hits "When A Man Loves A Woman" and "Mustang Sally," as well as co-writing The Box Tops' "Cry Like A Baby" and "I'm Your Puppet"; bassist Tim Drummond had recorded with Conway Twitty, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Eric Clapton, BB King, Joe Cocker and Ry Cooder; blind pianist Hargus "Pig" Robbins went on perform on Ween's 12 Golden Country Greats; and reviewer Mark Prindle cut and pasted all this stuff off Wikipedia), but that doesn't mean they didn't just make my parenthetical phrase way too fucken long.

In conclusion, here are a few other things this album might've been called had it been me in that room with Neil Young and not Ben "Doyeee it's a treasure Doyee" Keith:

Audio Chaw
Geffen Lawsuit, Exhibit D
A Tape Filled With Cow Patties
Thank God I'm A Country Boy From Southern North Ontario
Trying To Get in Barbara Mandrell's Pants
Remember That Show "Hee Haw"? Well, I'm Neil Young and Man Did I Love That Show "Hee Haw."
Gram Parsons Has A Lot To Answer For (Or Would, If God Hadn't Punished Him With An Excruciating Death)
Sucking Colonel Sanders' Fat Bearded Cock
Oops! I Accidentally Recorded Over It.

Reader Comments

orlandodude
Hello, Mr. Prindle. I must say that I have enjoyed reading your reviews for some time now. How's the H-man? That's one cool cat. Unfortunately, I cannot offer you a job, unless you are willing to shave my balls for 50 cents each. It's true...my basketballs, baseballs, and Nerf balls need a trim sometimes. My phlegm balls are just fine though, thanks.

And now at last, I've scraped my ass off of the floor and I will give you some feedback for your amateurish webthing.

Regarding Neil Young's "A Pleasure"...Certainly his formerly sorta hot wife must have given him some pleasure at times. And his half- sister Astrid gave me much pleasure during parts of the "Road Rocks" DVD (although, thanks to all of the quick video edits, Neil's scraggly mug would pop up and ruin it for me mid-spank).

The late and great Ben Keith called this "A Treasure". It should be more accurately labeled "A Treat". It's really good, but not great. Some of this is among the shit-kickingest hoe-down cornpone one could imagine. But others of it is dang tootin'. Like you, Mr. Pringle, I am a fan of neither country nor western music (But I like that dadgum Merle Haggard and some of Hank Jr. and don't get me started about Dolly's Partons). However, when the Youngmeister does the hillbilly stomp, it's always at least interesting. I really like the "Old Ways" album (which I initially got on tape for about 50 cents in the cut-out bin, played it until it broke, then found on CD in the import section of the Virgin Megasore, store). Neil Young has referred to the officially released album as "Old Ways II", because the original album he wanted to release was apparently so countrified that the Geffen's sphincter puckered up three sizes that day (to the great delight of his "friends" who were gay).

Anyway, I loves me some pedal steel guitar, mostly when it's played by the late and great Bennett Keith Schaeufele, who graced many a Neil Young album. Unfortunately, this album mostly features the sawing fiddle of one Rufus Thibodeaux-doo, who I know is talented, but how about playing something interesting, Mr. Deaux-doo? Or at least put him further back in the mix? The only fiddlers I want to hear that loud are a bearded Charlie Daniels or a naked Allison Krauss (and I don't really want to hear her, if one nose what i means).

Track summary:
Amber Jean - Nice heartfelt tribute to Young's daughter. Nice vocals, but the instrumental breaks make me want to square-dance. Ben Keith's steel is real nice, though (That's what she said!).
Are You Ready for the Country - More energetic than the Harvest version (still pretty lame-o though). Add in a fiddle solo and it's time to hit the --> button.
It Might Have Been - It might have been a good song without the fiddle. Pretty strong Neil lead vocal and chick background vocal, though. Sort of reminds me of "You Win Again" by Hank Senior.
Bound For Glory - This is my favorite song on "Old Ways". Here, it's rather blah and too damn fast. And where the hell is Waylon? Lots of good pedal steel from Mr. Keith, though.
Let Your Fingers Do The Walking - Somewhat average song. Lots of fiddlin'. Redeemed by the line "By the way you talk, you'd think you never gave good phone at all."
Flying On The Ground Is Wrong - A definite highlight. Tremendous arrangement and a really solid vocal by the Neilster. Zero fiddle, maximum tasty pedal steel. 700x better than the B.S. version.
Motor City - Decent, but the version on Reactor is stronger. But me like it. Crazy-ass honky-tonk guitar breaks.
Soul Of A Woman - Sounds like a Shocking Pinks song that he tried to shoehorn into the Harvesters' style. Still, it's darn good stuff. Except for the goddamn fiddling!
Get Back To The Country - This was the weakest song on the "Old Ways" LP. It's not much better here. Best feature: It's real short.
Nothing Is Perfect - Nice country waltz. Another good Neil vocal. Good piano for once (two pianists are credited on this thing, but you'd never know it by listening to the thing....I guess they were peeingests, i.e. constantly running backstage to tinkle).
Grey Riders - HOLY SHITBAGS! Where did this come from? Why was this not released in 1984? Oh right, it was the mid-80's; interesting music was forbidden. Nice mix of all instruments. Kick ass vocals by Neil and the backers. And quite possibly the raunchiest (in a good way) guitar the man had laid down since at least 1979. If you don't buy this album, at least go to an illegal site and download this song and fast-forward to the 2:33 mark....orgasmic!!!

All in all, this one's good for about 7.2194 stars in my book. Buy it now, you hillbillies. Neil needs more funds in order to convert David Crosby's flatulence into fuel for his LincVolt. YEE HAW!!

Add your thoughts?

Landing On Water - Geffen 1986.
Rating = 5

Ewww! Forget what I said earlier about ignoring an album's production -- this is TOTAL mid-80s - remember Genesiis' "Land of Confusion"? It sounds "natural" and "brisk" compared to this crapstorm of synth basses, synth guitars, synth drums, synth synths and oh.

Also, a lot of the melodies are kind of non-existent. Wouldn't really come across "unplugged" if you catch my drift. Do you? Does it contain a delightful aroma? The dick has a few nice tunas - "Weight of the World" reminds me of my youth, and both "Hippie Dream" and "Pressure" might schtick in the head. But most of the record might as well be by Don Henley, Glenn Frey or any other member of the Eagles attempting to keep up with the times.

Ooooh! Or Robert Plant! This is kind of like a much less interesting version of Shaken And Stirred. Less dancy version of She's Not Unusual. Just as embarrassing version of Eye Of The Zombie.

NOT GOOD!

Not awful though. If it was awful, I would have given it less than a 5. However, the overreliance of mid-80s stupid fakey sounding outdated production, mixed with kind of a creative slump on Neil's part, result in a bunch of tunes that may as well be on Dirty Work.

Wow, the mid-80s really WERE a bad time for our favorite classic rockers, weren't they? Thank goodness the Rolling Stones came back with their classic Bridges To Babylon CD to remind us that, regardless of embarrassing attempts to stay current in the mid-80s, when you get right down to the nitty-gritty, they really are still pretty mediocre.

Reader Comments

chrispgibson@hotmail.com
This was the first neil young album i bought and did not expect to hear the music that's on this album. after realizing i wasn't going to hear rockin' in the free world (the song that intially got me into neil) i started to find redeeming qualities in it and enjoyed the album . In retrospect, it releases like this that will leave neil with an interesting experimental legacy and one that other artists have and will continue to follow. 6/10.

jcbond@sympatico.ca
So I was doing my daily trip through the porn TGPs and found a link that said something like 'Movies of a man sticking a pen up his cock'. So I was curious- who wouldn't be?- and clicked on it. Sure enough, there was a guy sticking a pen up his peehole- it wasn't a slender Papermate either, it was a big fat Mont Blanc or Waterman knock-off. It was revolting, I had a really hard time getting through all six 20-second long videos. My mind wandered and I thought what could be worse than that? And then I remembered what it was like listening to this album.

Add your thoughts?

Life - Geffen 1987.
Rating = 8

Much better. Still kinda stuck in 80s mode, with some synth drums and fake sounding strings and whatnot popping up here and there, but the songs as a whole are much more original and memorable, and Crazy Horse is back there with guitars a-blazin'!!! (way way in the background behind those fake drums). To paraphrase Bill Clinton, "It's the melodies, stupid" - they overcome the dumb production. Neil is singing really nicely too - check out "when your lonely heart breaks" and "long walk home" - that kinda thing. Very pretty, sad songs. Corny production, but imagine these songs with his 70's style production and you might be able to get into them as much as I do. For the most part, this IS his 70s style of songwriting - long acoustic epics ("Inca Queen"), piano pop tunes ("We never danced"), raucous rock and roll (the really funny "Prisoners of rock'n' roll") and racist propaganda ("I Despise Jewish People And Like To Punch Them In The Balls") - and almost all of them are really catchy. A couple of bland throwaways, sure, but since when is that a surprise on a Neil Young album? Ever heard "Snippy Bill" from his 1963 album I'm Neil Young And Your Wife Is Wearing My Ass On Her Dick? Talk about a bland throwaway, sheesh!

Add your thoughts?

Lucky Thirteen: Excursions Into Alien Territory - Geffen 1993.
Rating = 8

Supposedly a "greatest hits" compilation from the Geffen years, this CD somehow manages to neglect the two "hits" that actually came during this period ("Wonderin'" and "Weight Of The World"), as well as Everybody's Rockin' in its entirety (!!!!), offering instead two previously unreleased (and good!) live tunes by the Shocking Pinks, who I should have mentioned earlier was the name of the band that played on that disc. It also includes two songs by Neil's This Note's For You r'n'b band, the Blue Notes, who NEVER EVEN APPEARED ON DAMN GEFFEN!!!!!

Whatever. Neil's a goon. This is a great way for both new fans and longtime Youngophiles (or should that be "pedophiles"? HA HAHAHA! HASHAHAH!!! HHAHAA!!! HASA HAH!!!) to enjoy a great, unconventional, diverse collection of schlongs - you'll likely find it in a cheapy bin real soon.

Oooh! And dig that extended dance version of "Sample And Hold"! It's that kind of performance that has rendered all music recorded prior to the year 1979 completely null, void and obsolete! AND THAT BLEEDING WELL INCLUDES EVEYRTHING YOU SO GCALLED MUSIC HISTORIASN REFER TO AS IMPORTANT - THIS IS ALL VROM ABBA TO AEROSMITH TO ZZ TOP YOUR LIFE IS A BRICK THEOURHG THE WINDOW OF MY PSYCHE DAND THE LEAST CHAN CNCNE YOU'LL EVER GET TO REDEEM YOURSELF IS BY GIVING "PROPS" TO9 MR. MARK .D PRINDLE FOR HIS ROCK AND ROLL CD "KEEP ON ZACCIN'?.

Many apologies. One of my stuffed animals jumped up on the keyboard and typed that last bit.

Add your thoughts?

This Note's For You - Reprise 1988.
Rating = 6

This is Neil's attempt to do soulless '80s blues as pioneered by Eric Crapton and Robert Crap, complete with horns and boring guitar solos and stuffola. You gots to give Neil the fact that he loves a good singalongable melody. So already he's one step up on Eric, who longs for nothing more than to play a 15-thousand-year guitar solo and throw his baby out the window. But this is just kind of a laughable genre. How seriously can you take a band that sounds like Blues Brothers 2000, but without the charisma of James Belushi? Ah who cares. The title track is a classic (vaguely) and the bass sounds nice throughout. And no synth drums as far as I can tell!!!!! Turn the lights down low, turn off your irony meter and just enjoy the fact that Neil Young has spent his career trying to give you songs that will get stuck in your head. Does Robert Cray do that?

Oh. He does?

Then how about Richard Ramirez, host of the popular "Night Stalker" late night blues program? Does he?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

Oh. He does?

Reader Comments

aquaiii@hotmail.com (Karl Mattson)
If you go to the website www.engrish.com there is a picture of a japanse import CD by musician "Eric Crapton". Crazy Japanese people, will they ever learn the difference between 'L' and 'R' ?

No, they will not.

Add your thoughts?

Freedom - Warner Bros. 1989.
Rating = 8

HEY!!! LOOK AT ME! I'M DANGLING UPSIDE DOWN AND SITTING ON MY HEAD!!! I'M TYPING THESE WORDS WITH THE BACKS OF MY FINGERS!!! AND MY OPPOSABLE THUMBS ARE OPPOSING THE OTHER WAY!!! TOWARDS THE TOP OF MY HAND!!!!! MY METACARPUS IS BEING TAPPED!!!!!!!!! AND ALL MY WORDS ARE UPSIDE DOWN!!!! HOLY FUCKING CHRIST!!! THIS IS FUCKING INCREDIBLE!!!!

Oh hang on.

No sorry, somebody had tipped over the monitor. Finally, after all those years of piddly-diddlying around with this and that in an effort to screw David Geffen the same way that David Geffen has been screwing little boys up the ass for the past twenty years (watch out, Jann Wenner! He's catching up!), Neil returns to what his fans loved about him in the first place! A nice mix of folk/country/rock with lots of catchy melodies. "Rockin' In The Free World"! Two great versions! Pretty political, but that's how she blows in the old west. This would be Neil's comeback record. The one where old people who still smoked pot started thinking they were cool again because all of a sudden Neil was touring with Sonic Youth and Social Distortion, and hailing himself as the "father of grunge."

Well, no father of MY grunge would shit out a couple of Springsteen-ripoff cheeseball piano pop songs like "Wrecking Ball" (yeah, more like "BLECHHing BallS"!) and "Someday" (yeah, more like "SomePIECEOFSHITONMYSHOEday!). They harness my energy and make me want to drop the grade to a 7 on the heels of 2 or 3 other only fairly good tunes. But hell, a good seven tunes on here are classic Sneeel, which certainly beats Trans and I gave an 8 to that, so what can I tell youse?

I know it's dangerous business, this rating of albums on a scale of 1 to 10. Oftentimes an artist or songwriter will call me up at home and say, "Hi Mark Prindle, I noticed that you gave an album I put out 11 years ago only a 7 instead of an 8 and I was wondering what I could have done better to raise the album's quality to one that is consistent with your particular musical taste." And I of course try to be polite, but how much respect do you expect me to have for a human being who can't manage to consistently gear his musical endeavors towards the "guitar-heavy yet catchy yet interesting" standards that I place upon not only myself but on others of less talent including Steve Albini (whose main talent in life these days seems to be to moan, bitch and complain in between releasing boring predictable shit records for college freshmen who want to be considered "intense").

All young people are assholes. Except the ones that like my Web site. Those ones rule!

Reader Comments

COSMICBEN@aol.com (Ben Marlin)
I find this really boring. Most of the songs are good, but the clean production just kills it. Isn't Neil Young supposed to be about sloppiness and fuzz and crackling vinyl? Everything here sounds too perfect, which is to say "uninteresting." Funny, though, how I think "Wrecking Ball" and "Someday" are two of the prettiest songs on the album - yeah, they're wimpy, but not in a Savage Garden sense, and it's nice to know he still has some great melodies in him. "Rockin' In The Free" world was the first Neil song I ever heard, and it kicks butt, but the rest of this just feels sterile. Really closer to a 5, but I'll give it a Prindle 7, meaning "admittedly solid album that I could go the rest of my life without every hearing again."

rangas@hotmail.com (Ranga John)
This gets the lowest of sevens from me...

A Bit polished for my tastes.

'Rockin in the Free World' would have fit musically on 'Ragged Glory', but thematically or whatever) it's perfect for this 1989 album - making way for a 'who gives a fuck about style' decade. That was until people actually began to like all that crap that came from Seattle, and now we can't get rid of the shitty grunge wannabe bands who are still hanging around thinking that what they are doing is any good and that it has any importance at all and I just want them all to go to hell and burn, except for Neil Young and Crazy horse that is of course, they can stay because they know that it's not serious and that guy from Stone Temple Pilots should join a Jazz band, Eddie Vedder should have his own tv show called 'The most miserable fucker in the world' and it should be sponsored by Ticketmaster just to piss everyone off who think that they are hippies and have green hair and don't shave and walk around naked.

It's all David Crosby's fault.

Add your thoughts?

Ragged Glory - Warner Bros. 1990.
Rating = 8

It's a guitar album!!!! Guitar dronin', rockin', jammin', soloin', beautificatin'!!!! Lovin' it am I! It's the Crazy Horse doing nothing outside of provin' they're still the Crazy Horse! Riffs? Simplistic! Song lengths? Endless! Solos? Melodic! Guitar tones? Excellent! Full, robust, distorted, but clean/dirty at the same time! MAYREL! Classics? "Why do I keep FUCKIN' UP????" Good old Neil. Making a cuss word into a classic rock tune. All of it, man. Midtempo (aside from the punker "White Line") - just great little hooks you sing to yourself ("there's a mansion on the hill... psychedelic music fills the air"). This is what Neil Young and Crazy Horse always SHOULD have been. No redneck nonsense. Just major and minor chords with endless, beautiful solos. And I HATE guitar solos, so you know that something special is going on when I'm calling it a good thing. They're extra melodies, see! Not wanking. Every note is perfect in its place. And the songs go on for 10 minutes or more. So why only an 8? Because "Mother Earth" is laughable hippy shit and "Days That Used To Be" is "My Back Pages" with different lyrics.

Having said that, I really can't think of any reason why a non-guitar-freak would be into this album. There sure isn't much variety, and most of the tunes don't have more than two or three chords. But pop craftsmanship is not the POINT of Ragged Glory, and if that's what you're trying to take away from it, then go listen to Paul McCartney's Pipes Of Peace, sissy boy.

Hmm. Now that I remove Kathy Lee Gifford's succulent flesh mounds from around my crooked cockpole and think about it like a guitar fan, I must admit that this isn't exactly "hardcore punk rock". It's just very guitar-chord-heavy for a Neil Young album, especially one this late in the game. Honestly, I don't think you're going to find a more distorted-guitar-chord-centric record in his catalog.

Unless of course you actually break into his home and dig through the "non-my-music" section of his CD catalog. For all I know, you'll find some AC/DC or Ramones in there, and that would blow ALL bets off the side of the ropefloat!

Huh?

Oh come on, YOU know! The ROPEFLOAT!

Jesus Christ, am I only one here who knows the meaning of my made up word "ropefloat"? What's the matter with you people?

Oh that's right - they let Mexicans on the Internet now.

Reader Comments

ian.moss@yale.edu (Ian Moss)
I'm very, very puzzled by the extremely positive reaction this album has received. I mean, critics just go nuts over this album. I even saw one rate it the second-best album of the '90s behind Nevermind. Why??? What is so mind-blowing about a bunch of equally loud, equally monolithic songs, some of which blatantly steal melodies from each other? I mean, the two giant hits, "Love to Burn" and "Love and only Love" have the same riffs, the same licks, the same lyrics, the same chorus, the same title, the same length, and are even in the same key!!! So OK, that was also true of "Cowgirl in the Sand" and "Down By the River," but those were two SONGS write there! Then you got "The National Anthem" which tries to by CSN&Y but the background vocals are so atrocious it must be heard to be believed, and anyway it just uses the same melody/chord sequence as U2's "Van Diemen's Land," and "Down By the Sally Gardens," among other classic American numbers. Then you got "Farmer John" which despite being a joke of a song is one of the catchiest and most memorable tracks on the CD. "Mansion on a Hill," "Days that Used to Be" and "Fuckin' Up" are interchangeable, and I can't even remember what the other two sound like. Where is the genius? Where is the creativity? Where is the craft? Am I crazy?

I can give it no more than a 6. It's pleasant, but about as generic as they come.

takac@panet.co.yu
So let bigons be bigons...

This is Neil back where he was in the 70's. It's a revival! How visionary! It was 10 years before "That's 70's show"! Fuck! You see that's why Neil's an artist, and you are here where you are, with who you are, just the way you are - readin' my stupid rewiew!

"Fuckin' Up" (Uh, how much rage...), "Over and Over" (How much nostalgia!), "Farmer John" (Such a great riff!), and "Mansion On The Hill" (Monster RIFF!!!) and "Mother Earth" (Kills Live!) and "Love and only love" (Damn hippies!) are the songs that ROCK!

Others I dont recall. Too much warm beers and cold women I guess.

craig.regan@optusnet.com.au
You desperately need to hear the Eldorado EP. Beats this hands down. So good Stephen Stills described it as "unlistenable". That's great, coming from him.

Add your thoughts?

Arc - Warner Bros. 1991.
Rating = 1

Brutal. You know how old bag rock and roll bands, like say, The Who, get to the end of a really long song that doesn't rock anywhere near as hard as they think it does, like say, "Baba O'Riley" and they start bashing away and making feedback noise? This is THIRTY-FIVE MINUTES of that narcissistic nonsense. Apparently while on tour with Crazy Horse, Sonic Youth had the bright idea of telling Neil, "You know what would be neat? If you put out a whole CD of that feedback stuff you do at the end of your really long songs."

Wait wait wait, slow down....

A bad idea.... from Sonic Youth?

Reader Comments

COSMICBEN@aol.com (Ben Marlin)
We agree. I can't believe I spent 10 bucks on this. I can't believe they charged 10 bucks for this! And since it's better to be stupid than evil, I feel righteous in my anger. Crap, pure and simple. When it gets to the snippet of "Like A Hurricane," my ears ALMOST perk up until I realize that other albums have the whole song, and I'd be better off listening to those. A 1 is generous. And I'm a bitter, bitter man.

nekoniku@yahoo.com (Poop Lovance)
A little info'mation about Arc: it was originally a bonus disc included with Weld, and never meant to be sold as a stand alone CD, so anyone who paid ten bucks for it should be pissed off, and should mail their feces to whoever charged that much. Anyway, if you keep in mind that it is essentially a bonus track from Weld, it is kinda cool. Admittedly, I hardly ever listen to it, but sometimes, when I'm too angry and depressed to listen to any other CD of "music", I put this on at an unreasonably loud volume, and it pleases me. All that distorted guitar and feedback is cool when it makes the room vibrate. Plus, that fragment of "Like a Hurricane" haunted me for days after I first heard it.

theadamsadam@yahoo.com
Arc is the best record ever made. I thought that that site was cool until you started dissing on Arc. Neil Young is a pimp on a wash board twice. (Regarding the coarse textures of pudding)

pedroandino@msn.com
FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK

susieliva48@nyc.rr.com (Susanne Livathinopoulos)
FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK

pedroandino@msn.com
ARE U TRYING TO ONE UP ME?????????????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Add your thoughts?

* Weld - Warner Bros. 1991. *
Rating = 10

I'm going to review this one without even listening to it. Yay. Another Neil Young live double-CD. Look at all those hits. Wow. I can't wait to hear "Cortez The Killer" again. And with Crazy Horse, you just know there's gonna be lots of loose guitar rock action. Don't know why it has "Blowin' In The Wind" on it though. That's one of the worst songs Dylan ever wrote.

There. I'll listen to it now and if my listen reveals anything I wasn't expecting, I'll be sure and let you know.

(a few minutes later)

Hey!!! "Blowin' In The Wind" is really pretty!!!! Predictably awesome guitar tone and excellent harmony vocals in the chorus. Mark my words! This is a great damned double-live CD!!!!

Mark: "My words!"

(about 50 minutes later) Jesus - this is awesome. No "Sugar Mountain"? THIS gets the 10!!!!!! So many awesome songs, both old and new! "Powderfinger"? SHIT YEAH!!!!! "Tonight's The Night"??? "Cinnamon Girl"??? Man, I know Live Rust more adequately demonstrates his overall songwriting ability and diverse nature, but these songs kick ass!!!!!

Reader Comments

COSMICBEN@aol.com (Ben Marlin)
I wouldn't give this a 10, but it is damn good: one of my favorite memories is lying in bed the night 11th grade ended and listening to this in the dark. Great sound, great songs, and you're right that "Blowin' In The Wind" is fantastic. The two longer songs from "Ragged Glory" bore me, but the rest is great: squeaky guitars, shouted vocals, and sloppy passion like you wouldn't believe. A really high 8.

alora@northcoast.com (J. Alora)
I couldn't see giving a live album the ten in any artist's case, Mark, until I pciked up this baby at the used record store today (both discs for $7.99! Rapture!). This is FOOKIN AMAZIN, as Malcolm Young would say. Neil is my Dad's age, and my Dad can barely get out of bed in the morning, much less rock like a goddamn maniac for two hours solid. The live version of "Like A Hurricane" is pure audio smack. Gets me off! Definitely a ten.

Add your thoughts?

Harvest Moon - Reprise 1993.
Rating = 9

WOW!!! This is mellow as hell, but the songs are just incredible. Beautiful, mostly acoustic, slow countryish songs. I usually go for the more rockin' stuff myself, but I'd be doing you and the world a disservice if I chose to give this an 8 on account of my gonorrhea.

Did I mention that Neil was 48 when he made this album? Usually 48 year olds put out shitty albums (Rolling Stones, John Lennon, Nirvana), but this is a great one! Neil really knows how to tug at one's heartstrings with his tales of love and loss in America, as well as with a big knife and a pair of pliers.

Reader Comments

alora@northcoast.com (J. Alora)
This is indeed a beautiful album, and a worthy sequel to Harvest. The one song with the orchestra is kind of dull, but most of the others are worth repeat listens, especially "Unknown Legend", "From Hank to Hendrix", and the massive smash that was the title track. Oh, and "Old King" is goofy buck- toothed redneck moozik... and I like it!

gag05@bigpond.com.au
“Harvest Breed” is a sweet song…but that’s off a great album “Pink Moon” by Nick Drake, I hate Neil “Its better to write shit songs then fuck off” Young, where’s your Nick Drake reviews?

takac@panet.co.yu
Easy listenning music is quite popular between middle aged and lazy and meek people and those people that work in dead end jobs (unlike me - I'm unemployed! Ha ha ha...bad joke huh?! What do you think how do I find time for this?!).

"Unknown Legend" has the story. And has THAT guitar riff that belongs to Shadows. Easy lisnin' totally! Aw come on! Slide guitar?! Those dead hippies from early 70's are turning in their graves big time...

"From Hank to Hendrix" sounds like ending credits on those 50's western movies... Nice song though! Slide guitar again!

"Harvest Moon" was a big hit! On MTV that is!

"War Of Man", "One of These Days", "Such a Woman" induce drousiness and dry mouth that leads nowhere but to the bar (Yeah, even if it isnt past 17:00. Yeah, you know the feeling...Yeah!)...

And thats it. Whole album is easy listenning.

Best song in the album?!

"Natural Beauty" stood up nicely!

I LOVE that song!

psychotic_deity@hotmail.com
9!?

I couldn't stand this piece of crap. therefore no one should have been able to. The writing is such bland "80 year old sad with world and self, choosing to fish instead of try and change things". Not that i resent that type of writing, Its just every song is that way.

hate it. I order you to hate this album Prindle.

Add your thoughts?

Dreamin' Man: Live '92 - Reprise 2009
Rating = 8

So I gets up around 6:30 PM the other day and discovers a bunch of hilarious status updates and IM conversations on Facebook of which I has no recollection! Some say the previous night's vodkar is to blame for this sort of thing:

Mark Prindle thinks both Madvillain and Outkast stink to high hell, and can't figure out whey their albums were voted onto my top 73 list.

Nicole J. Rawding: i love the moody blues.

Kevin McElvaney: Henry the dog > Outkast.

Mark Prindle: Nicole - YOU HELPED GET MOODY BLUES ON THE LIST!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kevin - you're goddamned righ!

Nicole J. Rawding: I KNOW! YAY! and sol invictus and black tape for a blue girl. tee hee

Mark Prindle: you asshole. who the hell are they?

Kevin McElvaney: Henry the Dog > Leonard Cohen > Kevin McElvaney > Lady Gaga

Nicole J. Rawding: it is so not cool to hate on Leonard.

Mark Prindle: Nicole - he's not hating. He's correct. Henry is better than Leonard because Henry never sang a song about your naked body and your mind or whatever the hell.

Nicole J. Rawding: but that dude's probably not > lady gaga.

Mark Prindle: Nicole - hi! Hi you girl lady woman! Hi!

Nicole J. Rawding: HI

Mark Prindle: You think I'm ugly, don't you!? (*begins crying, drunkenly*)

Brett Lass: Mike Patton > All

Mark Prindle: Brett - Mike is a one-trick pony. Grow up.

Nicole J. Rawding: mark, are you drunk?

Mark Prindle: Nicole - very much so.

Nicole J. Rawding: i figured after that last "one trick pony" comment that you were. hehehe. i LOLed... HI. and you're not ugly. so stop your bellyaching.

Mark Prindle: that's your way of saying "Mark Prindle is ugly"!? WHY ME!!!!

Brett Lass: No way. Patton has versatility among his collected discography.

Mark Prindle: Brett - keep dreaming. his only skill is picking talented sidemen. have you heard his solo work? completely worthless bullshit. Nicole - you hate me because I'm so ugly. I'm sorry I went bald.

Ollie Amerigian: What?! The album "Madvillainy" is amazing!

Nicole J. Rawding: it's not your fault you went bald. blame your mom's dad!

Mark Prindle: Ollie - Yeah, if you like shit. Nicole - Thanks for the support that I'm ugly.

Brett Lass: Solo? Sure. But are you going to tell me that Chuck Mosely is better than Patton on Faith No More? Also Tomahawk and Fantomas almost thrive on Patton vocals.

Mark Prindle: Nicole - Am I sexy? Look at my wrinkles! Brett - I know, but am I sexy? Look at my wrinkles!

Kevin McElvaney: I am gonna keep getting notifications on my phone because I had to give props to Henry the Dog. This may have been a mistake.

Mark Prindle: Nicole is a woman, so she's the only one who matters. Nicole, I'm sorry I'm ugly. Kevin - NO. FUCK YOU ASSHOLE. Henry The Dog is not a joke. He is literally the greatest dog ever. I love him so much I can't even tell you. You were correct in picking him. He is so wonderful.

Andrew Kaster: DOOM is boring. Andre 3000 is the only person with a shred of talent in him within Outkast. Mike Patton is pretty awesome in Bungle. Henry the Dog is pretty awesome in "My Life, as Henry the Dog".

Mark Prindle: WHAT AM I LISTENING TO? IT'S THE WORST MUSUC EVER!>:

Andrew Kaster: Brokencyde? Please tell me I'm right so I don't have to imagine a band worse than that.

Mark Prindle: no, it's some woman. an awful awful woman.

Andrew Kaster: Gaga? Yoko? WHO?! Ah, and there IS a band worse than Brokencyde; Nevershoutnever/eatmewhilei'mhot (their spelling, not mine).

Mark Prindle: Andrew are you serious!? Worse than Brokencyde! Then they deserve to be murdered. DO IT!

Thus, this album.

Dreaming Mang Liver '92 features live solo versions of every song on Harvest Moon. "Such A Woman" is piano, "Old King" is banjo, and the other eight tracks are acoustic guitar with occasional harmonica. On the one hand, hearing these songs in an even more stripped-down context confirms exactly how well-written they are. On the other hand, they were already pretty stripped down to begin with so I'm not sure why one would need a second version of the entire record. But I'll tell you one thing and it's for certain: It was hilarious how I vodkarly went to the Facebook page of this guy I haven't spoken to in a decade and posted a note to some woman I've never heard of that read simply, "Laura - Why are you posting a new message like every second? Knock it off." I have absolutely NO recollection of doing this, but discovered it the next day when she responded, "Who are you? And why do you care how many messages I leave? They're not for you." HA! They certainly aren't!

And another thing about this Neil Young album is that there was an open IM conversation on my page that went something like this:

Mark Prindle: Hi Lisa!

Lisa: Hello.

Mark Prindle: How are you?

Lisa: Wait. You don't know me, in case you think you do.

Mark Prindle: SURE I do! I know THE HELL out of you!

Lisa: Okay, we'll go with your story.

Oh Neil Young and his high alcohol content. Will he never learn not to let me on the Computer Television when I've been enjoying Cocaine Juice?

Reader Comments

lumpy_monkey@hotmail.com
This shouldn't make me want to add you on facebook, but it does.

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Unplugged - Reprise 1993.
Rating = 8

Hear that guy shouting "Yeah!" at the beginning of "Transformer Man" to show off his familiarity with such a wild, crazy, obscure Neil Young song? I hope somebody kicked that guy's ass after the show.

I'll give him one thing - that IS one of the highlights of this unplugged act. Sure, the tunes are great, but -- and feel free to balk if you feel I am erring -- I thought that the point of MTV's popullar Unplugged series was for the artist to showcase stripped down acoustic versions of his popular full-band electric classics? If that's the case, why does Neil mostly stick to songs that were acoustic and stripped down to begin with? Come on, "The Needle And The Damage Done"??? I love the song, but it sounds more polished on here than it did in its original recording! Ah but what do I know? I'm the same guy that would tell you that "Helpless" should be called "Worthless," and that "The Old Laughing Lady" isn't even interesting enough as a RARITY to be included here.

Or was it a hit? Oh who cares. The point is that if you like acoustic music, you'll probably like this. I expected more though. We already KNOW that he's capable of doing stirring, moving acoustic material (as evidenced by a third of his material!), but that doesn't mean we need to hear note-for-note renditions of them on what could have been an interesting showcase for rare quiet versions of popular loud Crazy Horse material. For example, that neat accordion sounding organ hurdy gurdy thing version of "Like A Hurricane" is fantastic!!!!! Why not more of like-minded twists and crinkles in the arms of shape?

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Sleeps With Angels - Reprise 1994.
Rating = 9

MANG! How do they DO it??? Every time out, Neil and his Crazy Old Horse manage to pull together an awesome collection of endless droners, pretty poppers and rowdy drunken rockers. EVERY TIME!!! And even at their ripe smelly old ages, they're still throwing some new garbage in the machinery -- a recorder/flute here, a godawful lite reverbed grunge guitar there, a spoken word recitation way over there, a song with the word "crap" in it a bunch of times here again, a guitar string that's thumped a little too hard and distorts right above your head before swooping in for a smoochy smooch -- aw MANG! MANG!!! So wonderful. Just one great tune after another, covering about a hundred different genres - just like the rest of Neil's career! The only complaint is that I would swear on my mother's grave (after she dies, of course - I feel it would be sacreligious to do it prematurely, even though she IS a lifetime smoker) that they've already used some of these melodies before. Like, say, "Train Of Love," whose melody is used about FIFTEEN MINUTES EARLIER ON THE ALBUM in "Western Hero."

Still -- you just can't beat this shit for straightforward guitar rock - not with Soul Asylum, not even with the Replacements. These old geezers beat 'em off! The drums sound like they're in your house, the guitar tones alternate between silky smooth and silky jagged, there are still lots of nice vocal harmonies (something Crosby Stills & Nash sure can't pull off anymore!), and - jesus christ, stop listening to your fucking Yo La Tengo for a second and listen to "Blue Eden." Or "Change Your Mind." Or "Safeway Cart." The songs are steadily paced drones -- they can't have more than one or two chords each -- but you never want them to end! HYPNOTIC - NOT BORING. And that's in addition to fantastically gorgeous little tunes like "A Dream That Can Last" and the hilariously stupid "Piece Of Crap."

Neil is the man. I don't mean to go off like this, but seriously - how many songwriters are this consistent? And this consistently INTERESTING? DIVERSITY, THEY NAME IS NEIL!

Reader Comments

COSMICBEN@aol.com (Ben Marlin)
Half of this is entrancing, but the other half (as in, most of the songs Mark mentions - oops) do nothing for me. I go for the prettier stuff: "My Heart," "A Dream That Can Last," and so on. The Cobain tribute is solid, but a lot of these songs seem to go nowhere. And I hope he was aware of the whole "repeated melody" thing, as nice as the melody is. Maybe if I came up with a good one, I'd want to use it twice? Recommended, but inconsistent enough to only earn a high 7.

takac@panet.co.yu
Michael Jacksons career spans through...

Wait a minute, this isnt Jacko essay. Who sleeps with angels?!

Damnit!!! I should go to sleep or something becouse soon I'll have those LSD flashbacks from the 60's...

I already started mumbling...

OK Lets see!

Well we have just "Change Your Mind" that really stays with you. The song is true masterpiece. Monument.

Its big, long, wide, shakey, ... yeah! Just like Courtney Love's behind... just like that!

Then there are: "Drive By", "Trans Am", "A Dream That Can Last" and "Piece Of Crap" - those are ones that I could remember at this hour. Yeah! They were Good songs that I mmmmm'd and hmmmmmaaaammmmm'd those weeks or months...

Overall - This record is decant! If only...

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Mirror Ball - Reprise 1995.
Rating = 8

Okay, I've finally figured out why the newer Neil CDs seem to capture my fancy more than the popular '70s ones (which I also like a lot, mind you, but not ALL of them, and not as much as critics do). It's because the '70s albums were geared towards '70s audiences. Aging hippies. Potheads. Jackoffs. But his 90's albums are geared towards MY generation! Noise freaks! Potheads! Pretentious little fools who think they invented hedonism! He now avoids the country/western schtick that won him over so many Eagles fans of the seventies, and sticks to either noisy rock or drony sentimental stuff for the girls and sensitive boys. And it speaks to me, baby!

Granted, that doesn't change the fact that "Downtown" is one of the dumbest songs of Neil's career and that's the one they chose to release as a single off of this otherwise excellent '90s alternative rock record. This is a disc that he quickly threw together with his young fans Pearl Jam (without Eddie Vedder, I'm assuming?). But you can't really tell! I guess Pearl Jam borrow more from Crazy Horse than is immediately noticeable on their records because, aside from the tighter drumming, this could easily pass for a Crazy Horse record. And a good one! "I'm The Ocean," for just one example, may be the same four chords over and over again but they're played with an amazing amount of determination and energy for a man best known as a '70s country/folk/rocker! Was Neil Young really the father of grunge? I honestly wouldn't say he is -- if anything, he was more influenced by grunge than the other way round. Which is good for me!! I may not be the biggest Soundgarden/Tad fan in the world, but when you add in Neil's songcraft, you get a great messy catchy blop of foozeball. I'm told that this was thrown together in two weeks and it's not difficult to believe - the songs are very simplistic and repetiitive -- but they still rock and they still have great hooks, especially vocal. Neil's voice has only gotten better as it's deepened over the years - less whiny and annoying!

But what's with all the hippie writing and peace symbols and stuff? Why does Neil continually hold onto that crap? Worthless, stupid symbolism from an era long gone. Neil is one of US now - not one of them. Which doesn't explain that horrid CSN&Y reunion album, but hey -- if a guy's nostalgic, a guy's nostalgic. And Yeil Noung is NOTHING if not nostalgic for that time he got to hang out with Beck!

Man! Can you imagine? Beck! That guy's a GENIUS! Have you heard that "Devil's Haircut" song? Man! I LOVE "artists" who don't bother writing their own music! They RULE!

Reader Comments

jason_a@earthlink.net (Jason Adams)
Rough and rowdy, as if Mr. Young feels he has to prove he can rock as hard as Pearl Jam (he doesn't have to prove that). I like all these. This is a good car album ("For the young motorist's commute to work, school, or play - pick up Neil Young's zzzzzooming new car album, Mirrorball!" Don't' you remember the ads?).

ian.moss@yale.edu (Ian Moss)
Also known as Ragged Glory: The Sequel, this one is even worse than that tepid effort. Again, we have songs that sound EXACTLY the same ("I'm the Ocean" and the last one); the two best ones ("Throw Your Hatred Down" and "Scenery") use three and two chords, respectively--and most of the songs don't even have decent guitar solos (those last two I mentioned are the exceptions). "Peace and Love," the one that Eddie Vedder sings on, is overlong and mediocre; "Downtown" is just annoying. The others are hardly even worth mentioning. The lyrics deserve special mention for being overly preachy and topical--one sure way to ruin any song. Hey, Neil Young and Pearl Jam are two of my favorite musical acts, and you would think that a collaboration between the two, during the younger's prime and the older's renaissance, would be absolutely dynamite. But it was not so: mostly because I'm starting to think that Neil's "renaissance" has been grossly overrated. I'll have to hear some of the other albums from the '90s to be sure, but what I've already heard is not promising. In fairness, I do know that Neil enhanced Pearl Jam ("I Got Id") a lot more than the other way around. 4.

stevenjules@xtra.co.nz
Dang, I dig buying these $1.99 (about 90cents US) Warehouse tapes. When you wear out these puppies, ya just go and buy another. Beats paying top dollar for Soundgarden. Unlike Lou Reed, these days, Neil knows what it takes to sound good. He Knows what the kids want. Granddaddy of grunge or the only true grunge artist period. O.K so this sounds like he switched on the big wall of guitars sound, you know, which is about a mile wide, but it's all good. Agreed "I'm the Ocean" Could be the best, post Neil Young, where have you been in my life, song. But hay I'm out of my depth here, Neil Young is not really my cup of Earl Gray, I didn't know what I was doing when I bought this (whats new) its like when Freddie Murcury died, I was at the sink peeling carrots, crying, oh its a shame, its a shame. But no, this is good, its O.K. to like this. It is cool.

Comment: Best played while occupied by something interesting (Hey thats true for a lot of music) such as organising a peaceful demonstration, which is fine by me.

My rating is the flannel shirt of 7's

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Dead Man - Vapor 1996
Rating = 3

If you like listening to movie dialogue without actually being able to see what's going on, Neil Young's soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man will have you dancing on the roof of your house. Johnny Depp and Gary Farmer star in what sounds like the least interesting motion picture in cinematic history, slowly and boringly exchanging poetry and comments about the White Man for 27 minutes of this disc's running time. Luckily, Neil totally tears up some ass during the remainder of the disc, if sarcasm works over the Internet.

Befitting the seemingly made-up-on-the-spot nature of the dialogue, Neil didn't bother writing any music for the soundtrack. Instead, he just plugged in his electric guitar, switched on that rickety old Crazy Horse distortion/delay pedal, and rubbed his fingers back and forth along the strings. At one point he accidentally creates an arpeggiated chord and gets all excited and plays it over and over again for 10 minutes, but the rest of the time he just wobbles back and forth in an opium stupor, going "BRAZZZZHZZZZzzzz BVRAAAAZZHZZZzzzzz."

My theory: You're supposed to come out of the experience saying, "I'd rather be a dead man than listen to that piece of shit again." Then the title reminds you which album you're talking about in case you forget later.

Reader Comments

nerd.orange@mail.inet.hr
have you seen the movie? maybe you'd like it if you saw it because it perfectly fits with its dark mood... but i understand this guitar strumming can sound really boring if separated from picture... ...plus your short attention span. but we love you for having it. not every rock critic should masturbate over "music for airports".

adamburtrules@yahoo.com
I love this movie and its music, so I was happy to find a used copy of this disc a while back. I'm sure it definitely helps to have seen the film to appreciate what's on here, though I find the guitar-playing to stand fairly well enough on its own. I like the rickety delay and the buzzing chords and all that stuff. It's jarring/beautiful. The poetry reading is a little weird (Depp doesn't do that in the movie), but whatever.

Jeffery Hoelscher
Oh fuck that 'you have to see the movie' crap. I play this to my customers (I drive people around for a living) and they love it even though they have no idea what they hear. This record is great! The movie is better! Just stop thinking of it as a record and start realizing it's an experience. Drop your opinions. This record will make you happy. But then you hear the incessant diesel engine in the background and wonder what Neil Young was thinking about. The only engine in this movie is powered by coal and Crispin Glover. Diesel is roughly 80 years in the future. And the oftener you hear it, the more pronounced it becomes! Fuck!

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Broken Arrow - Reprise 1996.
Rating = 8

Wow. Wow again. The first three songs start off like they're little happy rock numbers. Then each song finds a mesmerizing groove and sticks with it like a frog on a plate of sizzling pus. The last five minutes of "Slip Away" are absolute heaven. Genius. Why can't supposedly "talented" bands like Phish and the Grateful Dead ever find fuzzy buzzy grooves like this and just go, go, go, go, go? They aren't so much songs as experiences. They alter your mood and make life seem much more dramatic than it actually is. And you never want them to end. Just terrific. No matter how close to senility these fuckers get, they keep coming back with more!

Oh yeah, then there are five other normal songs that are mostly slow, reflective, catchy and distorted. Except for that bouncy cowpunk one.

Oh, and that pretty acoustic one.

Oh, and that stupidass blues jam that closes the album.

But aside from those three minor digressions, the last five songs are mostly slow, reflective, catchy and distorted. Like a wrinkly, scraggly snail with a fishing hook caught in in its back, jamming a small mirror in and out of

You know, it just occurred to me that my reviews are incredibly profane. I don't think I like being known as the "profane music critic who isn't any good." But you've got to understand something, okay -- Sometimes I try too hard to entertain - not just myself, but you the reader. And that's not good. Nobody likes a curser. Heck, not even that many people like a cursor. But see, these Neil Young reviews were my big "comeback" reviews after two years off. I'm back for good now. You'll have to kill me to get me to stop. In fact, PLEASE KILL ME. But only if I'm in a bad mood at the time. Right this second I'm feeling okay. Got the Neil Young playing. Tomorrow's a half day at work. I lost the Flashcards account but it was a small one anyway. YadaYada likes me for some reason. My fiancee is asleep in the other room, and we're getting a puppy dog soon. I just wish I could scrape my brain with a pipe cleaner to get rid of all the irrational bad feelings I can't control. I wonder how Neil Young deals with that. Probably plays with toy trains. Fag.

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Year Of The Horse - Reprise 1997.
Rating = 7

Either I'm even more tired and depressed than I thought, or this double-live CD is REALLY slow. Even the long solo parts that wowed me into a stupor on the studio CDs kind of just lull me into a stupor on here. The band doesn't rock AT ALL. They sound very tired and confined to songs that only people who are tired can play, then they make the songs sound even more tired.

Don't get your panties in a wad though!

Ha ha! Oh me. "Panties In A Wad." Middle school was such a special time. Remember Jason Day? The stupid fat white dickhead who tried to be "down" with the "homeboys"? Of course you do. He was the guy who used to say "don't get your panties in a wad" all the time. You don't remember him???? Members Only jacket? Asked that blonde haired girl to "go" with him? Hung out with Reggie? Was a tool?

As I was saying, Don't Get Your "Panties In A Wad"! It's still a really good CD in its own slow, intimidating way, and it ends with two unexpected uptempo rockers ("Sedan Delivery" and -- what the heck??? -- "Prisoners Of Rock And Roll"??? From the Life LP????? NICE!!!!). Plus, as you know and once published in a respected medical journal, it would take a devious mastermind to ruin songs like "Slip Away" and "Scattered." But come on now -- a slow bluesy version of "Mr. Soul"? That's supposed to be a rocker! A low-key run-through of "Barstool Blues" with vocals sung an octave or two lower than the original? Well, okay. If that's what you want.

Old man, look at my life! I'm a lot like....tired.

Reader Comments

slurmsmckenzie@hotmail.com (Philip Maddox)
Good to see ya back writing reviews regularly! Always a pleasure. Anyway, I'm listening to Year Of The Horse right now, and I figure that that's as good an excuse as any to write in. You're damn right about that 7 in every way. It's a good record and all, and all of the songs here are pretty good (except "When Your Lonely Heart Breaks", which doesn't do much for me), but it seems VERY tired and low energy. "Dangerbird" lasts for 14 minutes. "Slip Away" lasts for more than 10. And so on and so on. Good tunes all, but I wish they didn't jam for quite so long. Ooh, and I'd never heard "Prisoners Of Rock and Roll" before I bought this album. That song rules! The electric "Pocahontas" is cool, too. The slow bluesy "Mr. Soul" certainly doesn't go anywhere, though, does it?

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Silver And Gold - Reprise 2000.
Rating = 6

Neil Young has spent his career doing whatever he bleeding well wants to do, whether it was good for sales or not. And here he goes doing it again! Silver And Gold is the gentle, happy 40-minute album of a content old family man. More folkish than anything he's done since the 70s, this certainly doesn't qualify as my personal musical tastes, but that doesn't mean you wouldn't like it. I'm only 27. He was 54 when he recorded this. That's twice my lifetime, in case you can't divide. So give me another 27 years if I don't die of a Luvox overdose first (peace, my brother) and ask me at that point what I think of it. Because right this second, it strikes me as having not much musically to say. Lyrically I'm sure that all of these tomes are important to the author, they being autobiographical-type deals about how at peace he is with his lot in life (even going so far as recommending a Buffalo Springfield reunion in one song!!!!????). But musically, especially during what in the old days we would have called "side one" of the CD, there's quite a few boring retreads of melodies you've already heard, by both Neil and others. But as it goes along, it gets better. The last two songs are actually probably the most gorgeous on here, so at least he goes out on a high note! Pleasant vocals. Very pretty instrumentation (acoustic and steel guitars, the occasional piano I think maybe). And so on. And so it is. And so it shall be. Okay then -- Bring back the almighty Crazy Horse!!!!

Oh heck, did I say "Crazy Horse"? I of course meant "Shocking Pinks."

Oh heck, did I say "Shocking Pinks"? I of course meant "Bachman-Turner Overdrive."

Reader Comments

COSMICBEN@aol.com (Ben Marlin)
This is all REALLY pretty, but Mark is right: he didn't have anything to say this time around. Nothing challenging, nothing innovative. The critics (meaning the dumb ones who get paid for this kind of thing) ate it up, but I don't buy it - he's capable of so much more that I hate to see him get away with this. Like I said, the melodies are really nice, but the arrangements are boring as heck - it's like he slept through the recording sessions or something. And the hypocrisy of the Buffalo Springfield song irks me - some of the former members of that band are dirt poor, and every time they try to spark a reunion, Neil backs out at the last minute. "Like to see those guys again / Give it a shot!" I agree with the six.

takac@panet.co.yu
I love this record becouse it starts with those brilliant opening lyrics:

"Good to see you..."

"Good to see you again..."

Like he came back from somewhere and has lots of presents for me...

But then you have the classic Young's chillin' times:

"Daddy went Walkin'" WTF?! Great song though!!! Cool one!

"Buffalo Springfield" another great song about them darn hippies! Blissful tune! Radio friendly too!

"The Great Divide" Oh I love this one! It's ballad but ... like ...sour one!

"Razor Love", "Distant Camera" (Nostalgia trip), "Horshoe Man" ... All HITS!!!

Really great, great record. I'm sure that mr. Young has about 1000 of these in his mind somewhere...

"If only I could remember..." sez he as he bashes his head.

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Road Rock V1: Friends & Relatives - Reprise 2000.
Rating = 6

Another Neil Young live album, this one featuring two women whose last name is Young (presumably they would constitute the "Relatives" portion of the title), plus a bunch of old men who aren't Crazy Horse. But one of them is Duck Dunn! Steve Cropper and Duck Dunn! (without Steve Cropper). On the drums! Mr. Bun E. Carlos! (not really). On the bass - the Doctor! Dr. Chris Squire! (not only is he not on here, but I highly suspect he doesn't even hold a doctorate). The guitar sound is as droney, wavey, electrified and mesmerizing as always, but the set list seems like it was camed up with by some old lousy person with lousy taste. All in a row right there in the middle, you have the slow bland Springsteenisms of "Peace Of Mind," 11 more minutes of that horrid "Words" song that I moaned about quite earlier in my profession and a stupid shitty redneck shit song called "Motorcycle Mama" whose lyrics aren't even clever enough to be about a motorcycle giving birth to a human baby because the Hell's Angel rider keeps cramming his mcgarnigle jenkins into the exhaust pipe. If he can't bother to put forth even THAT much effort, I don't see why I need bother reviewing the rest of the album.

Ahem.

Oh okay, Chrissie Hynde sings "All Along The Witchtower" and the 18-minute "Cowgirl In The Sand" kicks ass. BUT THAT'S ALL!

Reader Comments

takac@panet.co.yu
No inspiration these days Neil, huh?!

This is the good side of Neil's career. He can always come up with this sort of things!

18 minutes of "Cowgirl...". Doctors orders: 'To be taken two times a day with a 4 bottles of cold beer'.

11 minutes of "Words...". It just ROCKS.

8 minutes of pure hell called "All along the Watchtower". Forget that Hendrix version. This is the real deal!

And five or six more (this time - shorter) songs and you have A LIVE ALBUM BY NEIL AND THE GANG.

Acoustic?! No acoustic. Ok, just one. And that's it!

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Are You Passionate? - Reprise 2002.
Rating = 6

Long-time Canadian Neil Young is back with his fifty billionth CD, this time backed by Booker T. and the MGs of "Green Onions" fame (but without Steve Cropper - of The Blues Brothers fame! REMEMBER?? ?? REMEMBER AT THE END OF "SOUL MAN" WHERE JOHN BELUSHI YELLS "STEVE CROPPER AND DUCK DUNN!" HE'S FUCKIN TALKIN ABOUT THE GUYS FROM BOOKER T AND THE MGS!!!!!! DUCK DUNN EVEN PLAYS ON THIS CD!!!!! MY SWEET HOLY MOTHER MARY JESUS CHRIST GOD TEMPTATION ANGEL DEATH STAR!). And the guitarist is Poncho from Crazy Horse.

Let's talk about music for a second, if I may break from the topic. There's this thing called "influence." Something else called "homage." But there's also this thing called "adding absolutely nothing new to the world" which occurs when an artist relies too much on his "influence"s and paying "homage" to a particular type of music that he likes. This little problem becomes a big problem as it steveCROPperS up over and over again on this CD. From word GO, the introductory guitar/bass line of the very first song is a '60s soul music cliche that Booker T. and the MGs (I know this dog named MJ, by the way) have been exploiting for more than 30 years. Then two songs later, "Differently" utilizes ANOTHER '60s cliche soul bass line (it's exactly the same as the one in track one, but with two of the notes SWITCHED). A third variation on this tiresome three-note boogie pops up AGAIN in track nine "Be With You." This is worse than tribute - this is just complete lack of ideas. So there's three songs that are pretty much laughably interchangeable. Add two more to the shitpile due to "When I Hold You In My Arms" and "Two Old Friends" serving as the very DEFINITION of bland slow filler. In other words, songs that add nothing at all to the world that wasn't there before.

But the other six songs are good. THE END.

Have I even described what this sounds like? I haven't! In my haste, I lustily ignored the key role of every music reviewer: Use buzzwords. The pigfuck post-rock vibes emit cries of redemption in a post-9/11 world. In addition, all the songs are really relaxed, take-it-easy-on-a-rainy-day slow mellow under-rocking rock music with quiet, almost non-existent rhythm guitars, pretty '60s organs (duodenum, spleen, appendix - HAAAAAAAAAA! *spills battery acid all over lap* !AAAAAAAAAH), crisp drums, light noodly lead guitar and Donald "Duck" Dunn (so called because of all the "duck"s that he "done" when he didn't have a girlfriend) on genero-bass. There's this one killerass loud slow long trudge rocker that RULES, but turns out that's the one song that Crazy Horse plays on. Some of us here tonight think it's time for Neil to record a new album with Crazy Horse. These last two albums have been bland!

Oh! One other important issue -- there's a song on here called "Let's Roll" that's about that Todd guy that led the revolt against the terrorists on Flight Whatever-It-Was that the military shot down on 9/11 but didn't want people to know they shot down because how would it look if the U.S. military killed a bunch of Americans, so they claimed that this guy was a hero even though bravery in and of itself doesn't generally equal "heroism." (if it does, then call me a hero for eating those BEANS last night! They SUCKED!) But I'm not here to talk about Todd. Todd died and so did a lot of other people and it was truly unfair and awful -- horrifying. Being a NYCer in the middle of it here, you gotta believe me when I tell you this -- it was a horrible day. And, just like the news said over and over again, America lost its innocence on that day. Before that day, we were innocent. Now we are NOT innocent. We are the OPPOSITE of innocent -- in other words, we are GUILTY and/or CORRUPT. But let's not dwell on media bullshit right now. I just want to point out, as a NYCer who was lucky enough to survive that awful day, how unbelievably offended I was when Neil Young released "Let's Roll" like TWO WEEKS after the attacks. I know he was just trying to pay tribute to the guy, but the lyrics FUCKING SUCK SO FUCKING BAD YOU HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA. Here -- and let's keep in mind we're talking about a real-life tragedy here -- read these lyrics: ""Let's roll for Freedom/Let's roll for Love/We're goin' after Satan/On the wings of a Dove." You know, if I were to enter a "Crappyass Lyrics Contest" and spend several weeks preparing my least good word combinations in anticipation of winning a trip somewhere, I still wouldn't be able to write something as unbelievably atrocious as that verse. Let's continue: "Let's roll for Justice/Let's roll for Truth/Let's not let our children/Grow up fearful in their youth." Ignoring the fact that the rolling had NOTHING to do with "Truth" as far as I can tell (did it? and if so, how?), this verse serve (aww man, if i leave the "s" off, it's an anagram!) as additional evidence that serious songs are perhaps better left UNRHYMED. "Hmm... love, love, love -- I GOT IT! WE'LL FALL FROM ABOVE! No, too dark. Hmm... love love, I GOT IT! I'LL TOUCH THE TERRORIST WITH MY VELVET GLOVE! No, too glam. Hmm...."

In short, my message to Neil is to "get better again, please."

Reader Comments

pinksox@ncweb.com (Andy Knox)
Dear Mr. Young,

Please get back with Crazy Horse and write rock n roll.

Love, Andy

TVEye70@aol.com
(emits loud snore)

Good God, this album is dull. Every song on here sounds exactly like Booker T's "Can't Turn You Loose", save for "Goin' Home" - the best track, nine minutes of wildass crazy guitar rock and the only one with Crazy Horse, go figure. "Let's Roll" is just silly, sounds like a ripoff of David Bowie's "Fame", but I must admit I like the bit about "you gotta turn on evil when it's coming after you". Not much else here sticks though. Boring. 4/10

aquaiii@hotmail.com (Karl Mattson)
I don't own this album and, therefore, I have no right to review it. As a Neil Young fan, I do have a right to complain to our Canadian Uncle that the reason I haven't purchased this album is because of the song "Let's Roll." Like Prindle, I am completely offended by the song and I'm reminded of when Neil, in so many words, praised Ronald Reagan during the mid 80's. Huh?! Only Ragged Glory saved me from swearing off Neil for good and, like Andy's open letter to Neil above, it's going to take another great album with Crazy Horse for me to shell out cash for this old fart again. Hard to believe the guy who channeled his anger so well in "Ohio" (also a rush job after that event) now dishes out crap like this. Are you passionate? Yeah Neil, I am. Are you a speechwriter for George W. now? What the fuck?! Let's roll...a fucking joint..

SGEllis@aol.com
day late, dollar short, I know.

obviously pegi was withholding love from neil in order for him to put this embarassing old man brand of mid life crisis music out

it's like.... most guys, if they have been ignoring their wives... they say hey honey wanna go out to dinner and a movie and let me rub yer feet.

neil is too rich too actually cow tow to his own wife to say that kind of thing; instead he writes all these el lame a zoid lyrics and then puts em on a CD for her

it's highly gaylordsville when neil young is singing that song DIFFERENTLY. pegi must have stopped polishing his helmet for an alarmingly long length of time in order for him to release this CRAP

It's just gross.

mabewa@yahoo.com (Matthew Ward)
Anyone who's worried about Neil going right-wing again, the way he did in the 80's, should check out the lyrics for his soon-to-be released album with CRAZY HORSE, called "Greensville." If nothing else, all those references to "big oil" should put your mind at rest--the idea of drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve has obviously lit a big fire under old Neil's butt. Or, you could consider Neil's playing "Campaigner" in concert, altering the lyrics to include references to George W. Bush. Or, you could consider his complaint about his tour sponsers Clear Channel "It's too bad we have to work for people who sponsor pro-war rallies."

If anything, Neil seems to be taking a sharp LEFT turn. Long may he run.

Add your thoughts?

Greendale - Reprise 2003.
Rating = 6

Neil Young is 57 years old. That may not be OLD old, but it's noticeably elderly for a rock and roll star - especially one represented by Elliot Roberts of Lookout Management. As such, it may be possible that, like all old people, he's getting lazier and more prone to not doing anything at all. Just sitting on his old person ivory throne counting his welfare checks and drinking from his colostomy bag. This would certainly explain the lazy, half-assed feel of Greendale. It's lazy as SHIT!

(SHIT responds): I work hard every day and do not appreciate your epithets.

Greendale finds Neil Young claiming to work with Crazy Horse again, though you really can't help but notice that Crazy Horse apparently no longer has a fucking GUITARIST, so essentially Neil is working with the rhythm section from Crazy Horse, much like David Gilmour recorded his last two albums with the drummer from Pink Floyd. Actually, maybe "working" is the wrong word to use for an album where every single song has the exact same uptempo 1-2 drumbeat, every melody is a collection of two to three basic generic chords, and most of the tracks don't delineate between "verse" and "chorus." These are NOT "musical compositions" -- this is the kind of music that you create by walking into a garage with a drummer and bassist you've never met before and just playing the most basic, easy-to-learn riffs you can think of on the spot. And quite honestly, I'd be floored to learn that Neil put more than 3 minutes effort into writing ANY of the music on this release. These chord sequences are as old as the Hills! Benny, Blueberry and that cartoon guy Hank. All three of them.

The production is nonexistent, with the 1-2 drumbeats comfortably resting live and raw about 40 times louder than the bare-bones guitar and way-too-quiet bass accompaniment. Occasionally there will be a harmonica or guest vocalist -- and one song even has an organ! -- but man is this stuff demo-quality-sounding. If you thought Tonight's The Night sounded rushed and off-the-cuff, wait til you hear how the rhythm guitar on this one completely disappears every time Neil takes an uneventful solo. Because, one must assume, he didn't feel like doing any overdubs. Or fixing that hilarious buzzing low E string in "Bandit." Or bothering to write any climactic moments at all, instead treating each song like a metaphorical truck just driving driving driving across the dusty land with no destination in mind. Frankly, if this album cost more than $300 to record, some studio owner is laughing all the way to the bank, or at least a portion of the way; I don't know for sure how far away his bank is or how bad traffic is, so it would probably be presumptuous of me to assume that his feelings of mirth will remain unaffected by the ever-changing influences of time and everyday stressors.

So if the main reason for this CD's existence isn't the music, it surely must be the lyrics, right? You bet! Greendale is a walloping monster of a tale about a family living in the town of Greendale. The devil lives in the jail, the father is an unsuccessful painter, the teenaged boy kills a cop, the media comes in and causes the grandfather to have a fatal heart attack and the teenaged girl goes to Alaska with some guy to save the environment. SPOILER ALERT!

I can never remember whether the "Spoiler Alert" warning is supposed to come before or after the spoiler. Regardless, the story is as unresolved and arguably pointless as the music. In fact, I'm not even sure that the music or lyrics are the overall "point" of the piece.

IMPORTANT THOUGHT-OUT INSIGHT PORTION BEGINS HERE: Now stick with me here, even though I'm probably wrong and you're doing nothing but miseducating yourself by listening to this incorrect theory: Neil made a big hullabaloo before the album came out by travelling around from town to town playing the piece in its entirety to audiences who got all pissed off at him because people who are living comfortably enough to pay $65 for Neil Young tickets aren't necessarily the most "adventurous" people in the world. That's not my theory. That was just a set-up. Let me continue before you laugh and urinate at me.

My theory is this: Is it possible that Greendale isn't about music or the people of Greendale at all, but is actually a study of the creative process? In the very first verse on the album, Neil states, "Seem like that guy singin' this song/Been doing it for a long time/Is there anything he knows/That he ain't said?" This might be Neil looking at himself trying to come up with a new idea, wondering if he has it in him. Strewn throughout the rest of the songs are political and social feelings of Neil, fit uncomfortably into the plot as if he simply "knows" "anything" "that he ain't said" -- about the corruption of power, the importance of saving the environment and the coldheartedness of the media -- and wants to say it, even if it seems preachy and out of place. Then Grandpa's last words are ""That guy just keeps singin'!/Can somebody shut him up?/I don't know for the life of me/where he comes up with that stuff." Is this the character addressing the author who is killing him off? Saying "Stop writing my death scene, you bastard"? Could be. Who knows.

Then there are the liner notes and all the things that Neil said in concert between the songs -- stuff about how he didn't really know what he was doing when he wrote the story, about how sad the group were when recording the song about Grandpa dying, because they all liked him, about how he thought he was finished until he woke up one night wondering, "But what happens to Grandma"? This is the creative process he's talking about. He never allows you to think for a second that the characters and occurrences are real, which is, you know, the MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT of most works of fiction. Instead, he keeps reminding the audience and the liner note reader over and over again that he made up these characters and he can't believe the things they're doing. Is he looking at himself as a God of some sort? I don't know. Maybe just as an aging writer.

So those are the facts as I see them: (A) the music sounds deliberately unfinished, like a "work in process," (B) the lyrics make specific reference to the man singing the songs, (C) the liner notes and on-stage patter don't push forward the plot so much as remind the audience that Neil is kinda making up the story as he goes, (D) social messages are thrown in haphazardly all over the place, almost in desperation to bring meaning to the otherwise meaningless story, (E) Neil toured the album BEFORE releasing it, yet clearly was NOT using these performances as rehearsals for the album (as, say, Pink Floyd did before recording Dark Side Of The Moon). There is absolutely no possible way that these songs could sound less practiced than they do as captured on here.

So could I have something here? Is it possible that Neil has thrown a major curveball here, presenting a portrait of the artist as an old man, disguised as a story about a bunch of nobodies in a nowhere town? I hope so! Otherwise this is one lazyass piece of shit CD!!!!

Reader Comments

ahammack19@yahoo.com (Adam Hammack)
Haven't heard it yet. Damn though... Goooood (FUCKING FUNNY) review. I thought 'Passionate' was kinda shitty as well, and rather feared he was on his way down. I kinda liked 'Silver and Gold', but even it was kinda hokey... However, my most recent favorite album of Neil's is 'Harvest Moon', which sort of re-defined hokey. So I'm dumb anyway. (But honestly, as far as Neil Young goes, fuck some 'Ragged Glory'! "Old-Dude-Desperately-Trying-to-Rock-BULLSHIT"[TM]!!! Hokey is a thousand times better for this particular whiny old guy, I promise...)

Gin! GIN GIN GIN!

PS I'LL KILL YOU!

(I'll give you a coherent review when I've actually heard it.)

!PS I'LL KILL YOU!

mabewa@yahoo.com (Matthew Ward)
A few comments on Greendale:

1). Actually, guitarist Frank "Poncho" Sampedro is still very much a member of Crazy Horse, and is currently playing with them on the "Greendale" tour. As to why he's not on the album, my theory is that not having a rhythm guitarist made it easier for them to do those sloppy, rambling blues jams w/out stepping on each other's toes! Anyway, he's the second person under the "special thanks" list--methinks that Neil wanted to make sure there was no hard feelings.

2). That buzzing e-string in "Bandit," I think that is deliberate. Anyway, even if it wasn't, Neil must have LIKED it that way, since the guitar he uses in the acoustic live DVD for that tune has EXACTLY the same buzz.

The live acoustic DVD, by the way, is a good alternate version of the album--one which is, ironically, more polished than the studio CD! For those who are turned off by the primitive grunge-blues of the electric versions, play the DVD a few times first--it will show you how sturdy the little tunes underneath really are.

As for what I think of the album in general, I think that this is another "Tonights the Night." Partially in that it's another sloppy-yet-brilliant CD, but also because it's another album that befuddled a lot of people when it came out, but that will in time become regarded as a classic. In another ten years, as long as they'll all still with us, I expect that Young and Crazy Horse will still be bashing out their patented dinosaur stomp in concert, and I bet that songs like "Falling From Above," "Bandit" and "Sun Green" will be warmly welcomed. If CSNY manage to do another tour, I predict a great version of "Be the Rain" with Crosby and Nash filling in for the "mountainettes" on harmony vox, and Young and Stills doing guitar duels over the whole thing.

All in all, this is Neil at his crustiest and most cantankerous yet (TOLD y'all he wasn't going right-wing!), and it just gets cooler as you listen. After a few subdued albums, this is a VERY welcome return to Young sounding most alive, kicking, and pissed-off.

MOJOJEFFERSON@aol.com (Jeff)
Greendale shitty?
Well, maybe my ears are shitty, because I think its a work of a genius. Are you passionate was crap but Greendale? nooooooo way man.

oreb39@yahoo.com (John Drayton)
Great stuff, but why did they have to shoot the cat? (I can't help it, I'm a sucker for those little critters.)

"Bandit" is great, "Carmichael" really sad and "Be the Rain" a classic.

A couple of gripes: Poncho's rhythm guitar is really missed, the arrangements could do with a bit more meat at times. When Neil toured this a few months back he had Frank on some keys and that worked brilliantly. A live electric version would be something: the stuff really comes alive.

Gripe number two: the bonus dvd in the edition I bought includes very good acoustic versions of the songs, but unfortunately you have to weed through Neil's rambling introductions to get to the music. They were fine at the gigs, but in the comfort of your home? No thanks.

cddude24@yahoo.com
I was reading your Neil Young reviews and I found you were unclear on the concept of his newest album which I don't even own but do nonetheless know the concept of. Basically, according to Neil himself, the original concept of the whole project was to record the band in the studio recording the album. The album is moreorless soundtrack music to the film of the same name as you know and stemmed from there would be the story going through the lyrics. Throughout each song they movie is playing with the sound off on a large screen right in front of the band. Anyway, around the studio they put a bunch of green screens so that they could digitally alter it and make it look like they're playing in all these different locations.Neil commented on it and said the visual footage of the recording of the soundtrack is the truest thing to the project that was made. They just reissued the cd with a dvd which features this footage which has also been aired on Vh1 Classic. Hope that helps.

pgchaney@optonline.net
The liver version of Greendale is so much more, well, alive (as in the fish is still floppin’)

That “buzzing” de-tuned e-string on Bandit sounds positively INSPIRED live…crisp, buzzy, aggressive with a purpose, with thumb and fingers playing both rhythm and percussion.

The “I’m in my living room and making it up as I go” feel is not necessarily a bad thing – just different. In the context of the “tour/play/musical” it works.

So, I guess what I’m saying this isn’t exactly Buffalo Springfield nor is it Buffalo Pie…it is, however, somewhere between the organic and the eclectic, and, it works, but it WORKS IT’S ASS OFF live./

Neil_Donahue@Paramount.com
Well, it's funny. The album I think is a piece of genius. Sure it may be my own pretentious desire to be minimally chic, but stuff gets through in that album. Moments of pure simple emotion, of pure intellect and humor, "How can all these people afford all these things, when I was young we used to wear what we had on." Hey, maybe at 37 I'm old too but I'm so tired of overly produced, cross marketed shit. I think U2 should be put in front of a firing squad for their behavior as of late. They're sucking everything into their vortex, the evil doers, the marketers. Hell it's like Bill Hicks says (a spiritual kin of Neil Young), "If you're in marketing, kill yourself right now." We're lost, adrift and everyone is actually quite sad and I think Neil's strident melancholia still does what music should: talk to the soul. Good site though and funny review.

luapnamttip@hotmail.com
If this cd is so bad how come it gets more on your rating scale than Comes A Time which you admitted has at least 2 classic songs? Prindle Prindle Prindle....

craig.regan@optusnet.com.au
This one sucks. Crazy Horse (or parts thereof) without the distortion to cover the fuck ups? Nope. Bad idea.

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
"(SHIT responds): I work hard every day and do not appreciate your epithets."

this made me laugh out loud. and cough. and laugh.

I've never heard this album. Some people say it blows.

Add your thoughts?

Prairie Wind - Reprise 2005
Rating = 6

Two and a half years ago, an online music site called Stylus invited me to submit a "Desert Island Disc" article. Because everything on the Internet disappears forever when you're done with it, I thought I'd better archive here on www.markprindle.com, the world's first and last web site. Here it is. If possible, enjoy it:

I know that you've seen lots of "critics" and "fans" putting together their lists of "Desert Island Discs" -- that being "if you could only take 1 (or 10, or 5, depending on luggage size) album to a deserted island, what would it be?" And perhaps you've enjoyed these lists and muttered smilingly to yourself, "Yes, That Quadrophenia certainly is a good album. And Layla And Other Assorted Shitty Boring Redneck Shit Songs? Ah, ever! Therefore my musical taste is correct and I cannot be made fun of."

But there's one thing that they don't tell you about all these "critics" and "fans" who choose such light, rancid fare as their chosen desert island musical companions -- every single one of these people are now DEAD.

And why? Because they chose art over function, music over strategy, catchy beat over common sense. Well, I'm not that guy. I'd much rather survive the experience and eventually end up back home a happy healthy gent with thousands of records, rather than a rotting skeleton with jaw still clattering in the wind to The Replacements' Let It Be.

That's why my choice for Desert Island Disc is the DISC JOCKEY (VOL. VII) Sound Effects CD.

Let me describe a few quick scenarios to illustrate the sagelike wisdom of my choice:

(Scenario A: A wild boar comes rushing out of the bushes right at you.)
You: "Aaah! A wild boar! Maybe he'll like 'Lovely Rita'!" (*wild boar eats you*)
Me: "Aaah! A wild boar! Track 49 - Racing Car With Crash!" (*wild boar hears racing car, gets so scared he explodes*)

(Scenario B: A gang of tribal cannibals approaches.)
You: "Hey! These cannibals are black! They'll LOVE that I chose Fear Of A Black Planet! Here, I'll wave them over!" (*cannibals eat you*)
Me: "Augh! Cannibals! Track 19 - Drunken Vomiting!" (*cannibals become disgusted at the thought of having to eat somebody with gross puke breath - retreat into the ocean in mass suicide*)

(Scenario C: A search helicopter roars overhead, searching for you)
You: "Yes! Here's my chance! Oh no! Why did the quiet part of 'Close To The Edge' have to come up NOW?" (*helicopter leaves, you die*)
Me: "Yes! Here's my chance! Track 27 - Girl to Climax!" (*helicopter lands, naked pilot gets out with a big boner, looks disappointed, but gives me a ride home anyway)

So you see, maybe you'll have a few fleeting moments of joy with your London Calling or your Never Mind the Bollocks, but when the berries run out and you're eating your own skin to survive, somehow Patti Smith's Horses won't seem quite as "evocatively primal" as before. Meanwhile, I'll be at home with a martini and 650-disc changer crammed to bustin', as a never-ending loop of Track 20 - Elvis Has Just Left the Building wafts across the ocean in my wake.

END OF STORY

Two years ago an online music site called "Perfect Pitch Online" invited me to write a story about the music you hear when a company puts you on hold. Having (at the time) recently been sickened by the assholish elitist attitude permeating the book Incredibly Strange Music and some of the stuff on Feral House, I decided to do a piece parodying that very same attitude! It's not funny per se, but it made me feel better to know that I'd made fun of these people in a semi-half-public forum. As everything on the Internet disappears immediately, I figured I'd better archive it here. Here 'tis:

One of the most popular forms of outsider art among Incredibly Strange Music fans is "On Hold" music. Originally brought into the public eye by occultist Boyd Rice and now the subject of an upcoming RESearch book, On Hold music has quickly taken its place alongside song-poems, advertising albums and exotica as a cherished form of "weird" music for those seeking an alternative to the lowest-common-denominator radio swill so beloved by the "sheeple" of mainstream America. With records on such long-forgotten On Hold labels as Vespro, Dynamel and Holdfree being scooped up in thrift stores and sold on eBay for hundreds of dollars, we at Perfect Pitch Online felt it was time to alert the elite that On Hold music is NOT just a relic of the past. Indeed, this kitschy reminder of corporate ignorance and greed is still being produced to this day. But don't worry - we're here to let you know where you can get your fill of all the On Hold hits without blowing all yr dope money.

Illinois Audio Productions - This company claims to pride itself on "providing fast, efficient and effective services," but in reality their music demos page is a virtual smorgasbord of shit for the On Hold Music connoisseur. Browse through samples of IAP's creations in the categories of jazz, easy listening, lite rock, international, classical, rock, '50s & '60s, Dixieland, big band, country, party/fun, and holiday. Rest assured that this site features all the slick, dated and faceless sounds you need to let your most important clients know that their call is very important to you. Your S&M/body modification clients, that is - natch!

Vox On-Hold - These jerks allow your business to choose from light jazz, pop, classical, country, as well as others including a holiday set. Their sample page only features six audio clips (in slow, medium and up-tempos), but the mindlessness of each piano-and-synth-bass-soaked nightmare will drive free-thinkers into a paroxysm of hysterics, permeated as they are with the flaccid blandtones of workaday society.

EasyOnHold - Although these bottom-feeding mongrels don't have a sample page per se, this may yet be the Holy Grail of On Hold mediocrity for one key reason: An astoundingly so-bad-it's-a-must-own "sample hold message" for an imaginary company called "Gordon Water." This astonishingly racist ad begins with a golden-voiced negress singing "Gordon Water! Good for you!" like a good little slave before her White Masters chime in with a few words about how Gordon Water Systems makes it easy to enjoy pure great tasting water at work and at home. The light jazz music is secondary to the endless stream of conservative propaganda pouring out of the mouths of both male and female commentators, which ranges from employment information to clean water facts to repeated pronouncements that your call is oh so VERY important to them. Of course it is - you're the slow-minded consumer that they're trying to fleece!

Q-Music - The perfect example of a company that just doesn't get it. Q-Music's schtick is to provide up-to-date On Hold music - for use by hip, modern companies - in such "hip, modern categories" as techno, trance, breakbeat, high class rock and "chill out." Unfortunately, the music actually sounds real, and is thus completely worthless to fans of Incredibly Strange Music. There is no novelty value at all to the predictable, well-produced electronic music that this company offers. It's an admirable attempt to bring On Hold into the new millennium, but unfortunately they've left the kitsch factor at the door in favor of providing a more comfortable experience for their customers' customers. Perhaps it's an unfortunate side effect of not being American, but Q-Music is simply too intelligent and cultured to create any On Hold of lasting worth. Skip this one and listen to the Gordon Water demo again.

END OF STORY

One minute ago, an online web site called Mark's Record Reviews invited me to write an article about the new Neil Young album. Because I'm hilarious, I instead reviewed a Neil Young album called Prairie Wind. Because the Internet runs on used tin cans, here it is:

Neil Young? More like Neil OLD, if you ask me!

"Old man, look at my life"? More like "I AM AN Old man, look at my life," if you ask me!

With this release, Niel Yuong plays laidback country folk on an acoustic guitar while his friends accompany on pedal steel, drums, bass and occasional piano, strings and/or dopey, shitty horns. The first three songs promise great things, sounding more like early '70s Neil Young than anything he's done in the past thirty years -- even his VOICE sounds as clear, high and young as on After The Goldrush! Plus these three openers are, if not terribly innovative, at least quite memorable and pleasing to the ear with their 3-part CSN&Y-style vocal harmonies, gentle acoustic pluck'n'strummin', and in the case of "No Wonder," the wicked cool dark acoustic folk riff. Unfortunately, the CD then totally craps out for the next six songs before closing with the intriguing and excellent church organ ballad "When God Made Me."

But let's talk about those six tracks in the middle, between the three good ones and the one good one. These songs drag on forever, just repeating the same one or two musical bits over and over again. The title track in particular is FAR too long - 7 1/2 minutes of stupid-as-shit macho acoustic garbage, like he was trying to impress John Cougar. Even the more melodic songs in this series (particularly the gorgeous, meditative "This Old Guitar" and rousing uptempo "He Was The King") - are ruinized by their excruciating length and utter lack of dynamics (not to mention "He Was The King"'s boring, pointless lyrics about Elvis).

Since you brought up the topic of lyrics, let me make a CONTRIBUTION to your DISCUSSION: the OBSERVATION that most of these COMPOSITIONs are nostalgICK and romantICK. Neil bides our time by dully pledging eternal love, remembering old friends and times before, quoting Chris Rock, manag - WHAH!? Yes, he quotes Chris Rock. WHAH!? Yes. WHAH!? .

Only a few lyrics really stand out in this bland batch of forget-me-nows, but I am indeed moved by the following passages:

Was He planning only for believers/ Or for those who just had faith?/ Did he envision all the wars/ That were fought in His name?/ Did he think there was only one way/ To be close to Him?/ When God made me

AND ALSO

I just want to tell you/ You sure mean a lot to me/ It may sound simple/ But you are the world to me/ It's such a precious thing/ That time we shared together/ I must apologize/ For the troubled times

AND NOT TO MENTION AS WELL

This old guitar has caught some breaks/ But it never searched for gold/ It can't be blamed for my mistakes/ It only does what it's told/ It's been a messenger in times of trouble/ In times of hope and fear/ When I get drunk and seeing double/ It jumps behind the wheel and steers

HA HA HA!!! CAN YOU IMAGINE??? WHEN HE'S DRIVING DRUNK AND ABOUT TO RUN OVER A LITTLE KID, HIS GUITAR GRABS THE WHEEL AND STARTS DRIVING!!! HA HA HA!!! THAT'S GREAT! A MAGICAL DELIGHTFUL GUITAR!!! ALL DRIVIN' AROUND AND SHIT!

I'm tired of 'pretty good' Neil Young albums. Why can't he just either get great again or start totally sucking? What an asshole.

Reader Comments

electroretard@gmail.com
Greendale owned. No two ways about it. Prarie Wind I've had kicking around here for nearly a month, and haven't listened to it yet. I'm afraid Neil's move back to a true acoustic record will kill what I've dug about Greendale; a bit of tempered aggression. That's the wrong word.

At least Neil's still one of those guys who does something interesting every record, even if it is entirely derivitive and full of one note soloing; it's how he does it, and keeps on doing it, that means I should probably get a move on and listen to Prarie Wind.

Add your thoughts?

Living With War - Reprise 2006
Rating = 7

Music has no effect on politics. The Vietnam War wasn't called off until 1974, half a decade after all the hippy protest bands gave up trying to influence anything. The punk movement (aside from all the great riffs) was even more of a wasted effort, making not the slightest dent in the armor of Reagan and Thatcher. These precedents of protest rock's ultimate ineffectualism are likely a large part of the reason that not a lot of anti-War songs are hitting the charts or underground record stores even in the face of Bush's stupid, misguided attempt to force democracy upon a country teeming with undereducated religious boneheads whose chief desire is to slaughter everybody who believes in a different fake man in the sky than they do. (note I said 'teeming with,' not 'comprised entirely of') Why protest when nobody's listening? Christ, hundreds of books and articles laid out the plain facts about Bush's deceptions from day one, and 'we' re-elected him anyway. The majority of the people in our country (and probably the entire world) are either too blind to recognize a bald-faced lie if it's coming from a 'brave leader,' or they simply don't care what he does as long as their taxes don't go up. Well, Neil Young cares. And even if he knows he can't really make a difference in the grand scheme, he's going to say what he wants to say, goddammit. And what he wants to say is "Let's Impeach The President"!!! For this, I love Neil Young. THANK YOU, NEIL YOUNG!!!!

NeilYoung45: yr wlcm! ;7) LOL

Living With War is not only Neil Young's grunge folk protest album, but also the most incredible example of a 'rush release' ever created; the entire 10-song album was recorded, mixed, mastered and made available over the Internet within a span of THIRTY-FIVE DAYS. Four of the nine originals were written during the recording session -- three alone were both written and recorded on April Fool's Day! As such, the chord patterns and arrangements are obviously fairly simple -- but what is a 'folk protest anthem' if not simple enough for protesting folks to sing along with? You don't see black people in the '60s singing Emerson Lake and Palmer songs, do you? You don't see Country Joe and the Fish playing Dillinger Escape Plan's Calculating Infinity LP at Woodstock, do you? This is because folk protest anthems must be accessible to the common man. Otherwise you'd see Falun Gong rights protesters gathered together into 300-piece orchestras, wouldn't you??? I think you would.

Here's how the record sounds: Neil Young plays basic chords, arpeggios and the occasional note run on his fuzzy, sludgey Crazy Horse electric distorted guitar; Bluenotes drummer Chad Cromwell keeps a steady midtempo 4/4 beat; Bluenotes bassist Rick Rosas presumably plays bass notes of some sort; and an overdubbed 100-person vocal choir sings the lyrics along with Neil (occasionally doing a bit of call-and-response or harmonized backup "aaaah"s, but mostly just singing the lyrics along with Neil). But don't think that's all, because that's not even HALF the story! Man, you ain't even scratched the SURFACE yet! Three of the songs also have a trumpet and one has a harmonica.

As underwritten as these songs by necessity had to be, it's striking to note that they're still probably catchier and more developed than most of the songs on his last four albums! The vocal melodies are hooky enough, the chord sequences are appropriately sad, hopeful and/or angry as required, and none of the compositions are anywhere near as empty and boring as you'd expect from the hurried project of a 60-year-old man. Hey! My Dad's 60 too! Wait wait wait -- this is too cool not to mention. If All-Music Guide is correct (and when is it not?), Neil Young was born exactly 10 days after my father! They could be regular buddy pals! Unfortunately my Dad can't stand Neil Young's voice. And how can you be friends with somebody whose voice you can't stand? This is exactly why I should never have roomed with Joan Rivers our sophomore year.

Moreover, although it seems extremely unnatural and weird the first time through, the 100-voice choir singing in tandem with Mr. Young gives the project a feel completely unlike any you've likely ever heard. It makes the whole album sound like a totally kickass Church service! Not that it 'kicks ass' per se, but it certainly beats the distorted piss balls out of a faggotyass organ! Imagine a group of protesters holding candles and singing together on a grassy hillside, and you'll end up really wanting a Coke in a few minutes.

I think there are lyrics too, but I'm not sure. Goodnight! And if you drink, don't drive.... me crazy with your antics! Ha ha! No, but seriously.... If you're drinking tonight, be sure and drive home safely.

THE END OF THE REVIEW

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SPECIAL HIDDEN BONUS TRACK OF THE REVIEW

Lyrical concerns include:

"After The Garden" - Whatever this is about. The garden of Eden? Poor environmental decisions destroying nature? Nuclear annihilation? You be the symbol-decipherer guy.

"Living With War" - But wanting peace. Like Neil Young does!

"The Restless Consumer" - The fact that Neil Young doesn't need any more lies, and is going to tell you so by using poor grammar in a halted, unnatural speaking pattern

"Shock And Awe" - The failed Iraq War

"Families" - Losing your children to war

"Flags of Freedom" - The inability of patriotic symbolism to make up for the fact that our nation's children are being sent overseas to kill and die

"Let's Impeach The President" - Sure, some of the lines suck because he's trying so hard to make them rhyme, but some are good! "Let's impeach the president for lying/And leading our country into war/Abusing all the power that we gave him/And shipping all our money out the door/He's the man who hired all the criminals/The White House shadows who hide behind closed doors/And bend the facts to fit with their new stories/Of why we have to send our men to war/Let's impeach the president for spying/On citizens inside their own homes/Breaking every law in the country/By tapping our computers and telephones/What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees/Would New Orleans have been safer that way/Sheltered by our government's protection/Or was someone just not home that day?/Let's impeach the president/For hijacking our religion and using it to get elected/Dividing our country into colors/And still leaving black people neglected (okay, that's a particular dopey line)/Thank god he's cracking down on steroids/Since he sold his old baseball team/There's lot of people looking at big trouble/But of course the president is clean/Thank God!"

"Lookin' For A Leader" - Our nation's lack of a strong, intelligent and benevolent leader. Best lyric: "Maybe it's Colin Powell/To right what he's done wrong"

"Roger And Out" - An old friend of Neil's who went off to fight for his country, and died

"America The Beautiful" - A wonderfully appropriate end to the record. No Neil, no band, just choir.

THERE - THAT'S THE SONGS

Not all of the lyrics are fantastic, but the most emotionally affecting ones really DO succeed at pulling at the old tearstrings. And how can you not sing along with "After the garden is gone" or "I'm living with waaaaaar in my heart everyday"? They're just CATCHY pieces of music! And don't give me this "I haven't heard them yet" crap because I could sing Beethoven's 5th by the time I shoved my head out of Momma's verginer.

Granted I was 15 at the time - HEY! BLEORG

I've heard a few naysayers joking about how poorly this record will age, but that's not the point. This isn't MEANT to be an album for the ages; it's meant to be an album for RIGHT NOW. That's why he wrote, recorded and released it so quickly. It's a relevant, timely call for change NOW. He doesn't waste time with symbolism or wrap his ideas in poetic imagery (aside from the 'garden' bit in the first song); he flat out SAYS that George Bush is a terrible president, his War is immoral, and our nation is going to face the same predicament time and time again unless we stop believing everything we see on TV, start using common sense, and find ourselves some leaders that aren't just in it for the power. And if Living With War ages as poorly as David Frye's Nixon comedy albums, so fucking what? He decided to do it, he did it, and it's done. And even if many of its lyrics are pretty basic left-wing propaganda, it's still awesome to hear a legendary rock and roll institution attacking George W. Bush as vehemently as the celebrated Steven Colbert did a few nights ago before boring the hell out of me with the taped 'press conference'.

That said, if you're a Bush lover, you might want to skip this one.

Because no girl wants to listen to Neil Young during cunnilingus. ZING! Pussy joke!

Here's another pussy joke:

Q. Why did George W. Bush cross the road?
A. Umm... he was... he had a press conference to go to.
Q. Pussy.
A. Fuck you, he's scary.

Oh! One other thing -- my grade of 7 out of 10 is for the music and lyrics themselves, not the idea and effort. I'm saying that even ten years down the line, I think this would still be a good (if outdated) album worth a 7. If I were judging it on concept and timeliness, it would get a perfect 10. I fuckin' HATE George Bush!!! And 100-person choirs? Can't fuckin' STAND 'em!!!!!!

No hang on

Reader Comments

nazariusrudius@yahoo.com
After reading the first paragraph of this review, I feel compelled to inform you that the last U.S. troops left in 1973, and South Vietnam was finally defeated in 1975. Furthermore, the last official U.S. combat troops left in 1972 (all 50000 of them). Anyone who was left thereafter was either a military advisor, or a humanitarian worker. But, yeah, you're basically right about the rest.

Impressed by my historical prowess?

COSMICBEN@aol.com (Ben Marlin)
I really enjoyed your review of Neil Young's Living With War. I'd give it an 8 or a 9, but your review was quite thoughtful. And while your comic stuff is certainly a hoot, I always gravitate towards the way you can move people with a single line. When you describe "The inability of patriotic symbolism to make up for the fact that our nation's children are being sent overseas to kill and die", that is one of the many reasons why the world needs Mark Prindle. You really sum it up there. God knows how we are so blind to the fact that our children are being slaughtered while we cheer them on. I barely know anybody in the military, but I come close to crying every time an American dies in Iraq. Does anybody else notice? I'm glad you and Neil do. I could do wthout some of his dumbass lefty politics (and I'm a proud dumbass lefty), but I admire his courage for speaking out, with more compelling melodies and production than he's mustered for years.

mabewa@yahoo.com
Yeah, nice, thoughtful review, Prindle.

The only thing I really disagree with is the 7--this album is AT LEAST an 8 and maybe a 9. I very much agree with your statement that this hastily written album actually has more developed songs and melodies than his last several albums. OK, so I overrated Greensdale (though it’s still a cool album) above, but I don’t think I’m overrating this one. Good melodies, a lot of passion, a unique sound, and it opens with 8 consecutive cool rockers! What more can you ask for?

The only song I’m lukewarm about is "Roger and Out"; it’s one of those examples of Neil rewriting a song he’s re-written several times already. But, it brings the album back to Vietnam in a nice way. And, yeah, "America the Beautiful" is perfect. Neil gets out of the way and lets America speak for itself.

Also, I don’t agree that this album is necessary going to age badly. I think it will age about as badly as "Ohio" "Southern Man" and "Rockin’ in the Free World" have--which is to say, not badly at all! The sad thing is, George Bush and Co have screwed things up in such a horrible memorable way that future generations are going to know what stuff like "What if Al Quaida blew up the levees--would New Orleans be safer that way" means. They’ll probably know about it better than kids today know what "4 dead in Ohio" means. And yeah, music doesn’t do a lot to change things, but it can kind of articulate and crystalize things that are happening in society.

Best songs? Well, I like all of the first 8 very well, but Shock and Awe stands out especially--someone wrote on Amazon that it sounds like "Rockin’ in the Free World" on steroids, so I might as well steal that line. After the Garden and The Restless Consumer are also particularly great.

Like most people, I found the effect of the choir to be jarring on first listen, but after a few listens, it’s brilliant--really does sound like a protest rally. I love how they all start singing "Thank GOD" at the end of "Let’s Impeach the President"; sounds like they really mean it, man.

Neil Young’s a weird guy--his spontaneous approach to writing and recording means that he repeats himself a lot, and sometimes even big fans like me wonder if he’s got anything new to say. (BTW, I thought Prairie Wind was pretty good--good melodies--but very little we haven’t heard before). But, then he gets a bug up his ass and does something totally different, like this record. It sure beats the hell out of stuff like "Silver and Gold" and especially "Are You Passionate," that’s for sure.

It kind of cracks me up that CNN called this album a "stunning about-face" though--like Neil suddenly got reborn as a lefty last month. Songs like "When God Made Me" and the entire Greendale album should have made it clear enough. Hey, look at my review of Greendale above--I told you all he was gonna take a sharp left turn! Goddamn furriner, criticizing our GOVERNMENT!

kord0017@umn.edu
One day, Neil Young and the rest of you anti-American leftists (actually Young is Canadian) might realize that the American people are not a bunch of dumb assholes. Did it ever occur to you bleeding hearts that hatred and cynicism are not moral virtues? I wish you all would move to Sweden or somewhere else that is "smart." If this, the greatest nation on earth, really sucks for you because it is largely comprised of idiots, move somewhere else. I believe in this country, this President, and most of all, the American people. You all will remain losers because you despise the people that are your fellow citizens. There is poetic justice because the more you hate, the more Republicans win. George Bush is one of our best Presidents ever and I love him with all my heart. By, the way, I have tried to join the Army (unfortunately, I did not get in). Would you anti-American leftists ever do that or are you to busy whining about how your country and its ELECTED officials suck. There's a reason the military voted for Bush by an 8 to 1 ratio.

matthewbyrd@hotmail.com
OK kord0017@umn.edu I didn't read more than a sentence of what you said...... but I can pretty much assure you that a lot of Americans are dumb assholes....... I was in SM yesterday and the TANK decided that he "didn't use a shield or defensive stance... EVER" so GG kord, GG. Also QQ more, QQ. And also! I will answer your question with another question.... how many abadiginals do you see in male modeling? Hmmmmm ok Prindle I have an even-headed proposition to make to YOU sir. REVIEW SOME GOD-DAMNED ELVISCOSTELLOSTEVIEWONDERJONIMITCHELLERICB.ANDRAKIMOUTKASTPRINCETHEPOLICE!!!!!! hmmmm wait I think you do review the police.....

yeah........... also, about that desert island disc thingy........... in reality I would probably have like the Complete Bozz Skags, I mean I could be alone with it right?

danielrosenbe@gmail.com
Your review of Living with War rocks! Nice job. This is Neil's best album in more than a decade. Great lyrics, memorable tunes. I think it will stand the test of time. And the Bush lovers never liked Neil, anyway, so forget about them. I love the way Neil yells "Flip" and "Flop" around the taped Bush segments during Let's Impeach the President. One thing - why is it that a 60-year old is making the most relevant music of our times? Aren't there any younger bands speaking out against the madness?

Dannys Sister----Brenda
Hi there-----Just informing you that it is NOW official---NEIL YOUNG AND CRAZY HORSE LIVE AT THE FILLMORE EAST 1970-- is comming out Nov 21st---Bout time--dont ya think ?????

lfu52161@bigpond.net.au
Neil Young is the benchmark for music. What hasn't he sung? What hasn't he dealt with in his music. I am a product of the 50s and grew up with his music. He is the best and "Live Rust" is right up there.

johnnyt471@yahoo.com
I'm really not a fan of "protest" music, as I usually find that it becomes hailed as a great achievement because of the message rather than the quality of the material. I also find political lyrics to be kind of obnoxious and silly, but this one is an exception. The songs are actually pretty good! I find the title track to be quite beautiful.

I should note that "rush releases" are nothing new for Neil Young. Mirror Ball was written in 4 days and the album was recorded over 4 separate days, then released a few months later. He's a very impulsive songwriter and recorder. So let's not pretend this is too similar to the recording of "Ohio" a week after Kent State...the Iraq War has been going on since 2003, so he's not exactly rushing an album right after the fact. More likely he just got it in his head one day that he wanted to make an anti-war album, and went ahead and did it in his typically speedy style. But it's good to see him write some quality rock songs rather than the rambling and boring style on Greendale.

Add your thoughts?

Chrome Dreams II - Reprise 2007
Rating = 7

Speaking of Neil Young, I saw Van Halen in concert last night. They TOUR! But also, they TORE! Eddie Van Halen must be like 800 years old by now, but his technique is beyond astonishing. He still plays "Cathedral" and "Eruption" and the beginning of "Mean Street" like a 20-year-old speed-addicted heroin speeder! And David Lee Roth shockingly didn't act like a buffoon! Furthermore, the background vocals (Eddie and the fat kid from Head Of The Class) were "Van"-tastic, and I had no trouble "Halen" a cab when it was over! As the Beatles once sang, "A splendid time (was) guaranteed for all." They were talking about the Diver Down tour, but the same sentiment applies to this Van Halen 4 tour, which I never thought would happen and CERTAINLY never thought would be - as DLR promised in the tour-announcing press conference - "better than it ever fuckin' was." But it WAS!

You know how I am with counting, so here are the metrics. They performed every song on their first album except "On Fire" (which i love) and "Feel Your Love Tonight" (which i don't), all four singles from 1984 as well as a tape of the title snippet, and three songs each from the four albums in between. Non-singles performed were "Eruption," "I'm The One," "Little Dreamer," "Ice Cream Man," "Atomic Punk," "Somebody Get Me A Doctor," "Everybody Wants Some!!," "Romeo Delight" and "Cathedral." Singles not performed were "Push Comes To Shove," "Dancing In The Street," "Secrets," "The Full Bug" and "Where Have All The Good Times Gone?"

Four thoughts on this:
(1) They issued SIX singles for Diver Down!!!???!!?!?
(2) "Everybody Wants Some!!" wasn't a single? Why is it such a well-known song then?
(3) All three Fair Warning songs they played were singles!? And "Mean Street" charted higher than "Unchained"!?! I've never heard ANY song off that album on the radio aside from "Unchained."
(4) Their first single was "You Really Got Me"!? Who are the boneheads who thought up that idea? Because now, as a result, Van Halen is known only as an obscure cover band.

So far, nearly every word of this review is compiled from emails that I've sent to Official MarkPrindle.com Interview Transcriber Jim Laakso (who secured us the VH tickets) this morning. In the continued spirit of cutting-and-pasting, here is the 'hilarious,' 'split-your-pants,' 'wet-your-bed' Bulletin that I posted on MySpace this morning like a 'funny guy':

Date: Nov 14, 2007 11:49 AM

Subject: I saw Van Halen last night!

Body: I don't know who Eddy Van Halen is trying to kid but apparently he feels he can replace his entire band and nobody will notice. I was all excited for an evening of Cherone/Anthony magic and what did I get but some blonde jerk doing karate kicks and the fat kid from "Head of the Class." And what's with these new songs with all the loud guitars? Come on, bring back the socially conscious ethereal sound of "Fire In The Hole" and "How Many Say I."

The only real neat part of the show was -- and this will blow your mind -- they let their hair down at one point and did a cover of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me"! I couldn't believe it! Other than that I couldn't have been more dissapointed. Mark my words -- Van Halen IV is going to be a very bad ablum.

Particularly if they include this really stupid song about "Jump"ing that they played as an encore. What a piece of crap!

Okay, the bulletin is over so let's back to the Neil Young review. Yes, it was quite exciting to see Van Halen finally reuniting with original lead singer Neil Young last night and trotting out all the old warhorses like "And The Cradle Will Rock In The Free World" and "Beautiful Cinnamon Girls" but the most exciting news is his crazy new album Chrome Dreams II, whose title appears just 11 or so paragraphs up.

Regardless of its misleading title, Chrome Dreams II is not a collection of rarities but a brand new Neil Young recording. A few of the songs were originally recorded years ago (one for Old Ways, one for This Note's For You, and one during the Freedom era), but as far as I can tell from not owning the liner notes, the versions included here are new renditions. Still, I personally would forgive you for thinking it a compilation on first listen because, for the first time in many years, Mr. Young has put together a record with like five billion different types of music on it.

Seriously, think of his recent history: Living With War was all simple protest fuzz rock with a choir; Prairie Wind was all gentle acoustic music; Greendale was all simplistic repetitive fuzz rock; Are You Passionate? was all Booker T.-style r'n'b; and so forth. Chrome Dreams II, on the other hand, veers scattergorically from gentle country/western to angry banjo folk to endless epic fuzz rock to early '60s balladry to soul pop to Crazy Horse-style bitter hard rock to drunken scraggle to children's music. The arrangements too are all over the place, with one song blaring a trumpet section, another a lovely youth choir, a dobro here, a pedal steel there, that classic Neil Young raw guitar distortion here, a piano there, a harmonica here, folky acoustic strumming there....

Yes, it's truly amazing how every piece of audio information on the disc can be located either here or there. But I guess that's the nature of stereophonic sound. Just be glad it's not neither here NOR there! Because then where would you find it? Nowhere, that's where. And mister, nowhere is no where at all. That may be why they chose the term "nowhere".

Thirdly, this music feels much more natural and less stilted/forced than Neil's last few albums. He sounds more comfortable than he has in years, like he's just playin' good old Neil Young music. Unfortunately, some of the material is extremely slight, and two perfectly good 6-minute songs are dragged on to the flabbergastingly unnecessary lengths of 14 and 18 minutes! You didn't have that kinda crap back in the good old days of vinyl. The band "Yes," for example, never wrote a song longer than 3 minutes until CDs cracked the format limitations (Tales From Topographic Oceans was a pressing error; it was intended to be a 2-minute flexi-disc).

Having made the mistake of reading reviews of Chrome Dreams II, I'm led to understand that the 18-minute "Ordinary People" is widely considered the highlight of the CD. From this fact, I can only surmise that music critics hear this track the same way I hear Jello Biafra And DOA's 15-minute "Full Metal Jackoff": as a hypnotic headbanging masterpiece of repetition. Because the song only has three parts. And he plays them over and over and over and goddamned over again. For 18 minutes!!! And the main chord sequence really isn't terribly interesting! So I'll leave the peculiar taste of critics to the sociologists.

And cannibals.

As Neil Young once sang, "Fashions change, styles change, musics change." But this time, it all happens on the same album! Though not filled end-to-end with timeless classics, Chrome Dreams II is a fun, worthwhile listen and a welcome strange addition to Neil Young's quirky discography.

Mark Prindle's Current Favorite Songs On This Record Include:

1. "Shining Light" - A very pretty and sweet ballad that sounds straight outta 1960.
2. "Spirit Road" - Still a bit long at 6:32, but a great pissed-off Crazy Horsey piece of driving distorted rock
3. "Dirty Old Man" - Every bit as alcoholic, sloppy and hilarious as the Fugs song of the same title!
4. "The Way" - You wouldn't think a piano duet with a bunch of little kids would be any good at all, but this album-closer is surprisingly emotional and affecting.
5. "My Dick Keeps Making Tards, But At Least I Don't Just Hurl Them Out The Window Like Eric Clapton" - A haunting piece of introspection

In conclusion, I'm a complete asshole.

Reader Comments

Official MarkPrindle.com Interview Transcriber Jim Laakso
Regarding "Everybody Wants Some," I'm still pretty sure that this well-known scene from "Better Off Dead" has a lot to do with its fame: http://youtube.com/watch?v=eyxBh3C5kvo

S Fall
Reviews of this album led me to believe that it would be a towering masterwork that somehow captured everything that was great about Neil in the 1870s and distilled it neatly for this new era. In fact, Chrome Dreams II isn't very good. So what if there's a very, very long song on it? That doesn't make the album better. But tell the reviewers that. I would have preferred it if Neil had recorded 40 songs, each one-minute long, and each with at least one idea. As this album stands, it fails to satisfy the listener's yearning for gonzo-grunge (go for Ragged Glory instead), pleasing acoustic introspection (go for Silver & Gold), sci-fi weirdness (go for Trans) and all-over-the-place diversity (go for Freedom). It's not even as much fun as Everybody's Dockin' - Neil's harbour-themed rockabilly concept album. I played Chrome Dreams II once and haven't been brave enough to give it a second listen. One track, Dirty Old Man, is so thuggishly basic that it makes Piece Of Crap from Sleeps With Angels sound like Bohemian Rhapsody. Only buy this if you have all of the 1970s/80s/90s records and lots of spare money. Personally, I'm starting to wish I'd bought another Frank Zappa album instead - perhaps Lumpy Weasels Ate My Burnt Witch Sandwich. I'm off to Prindle's Zappa pages right now to make my choice...

cochese_04@yahoo.com
48 reviews and not a single "Suck My Ass It Smells" reference? You're getting soft.

Add your thoughts?

Fork In The Road - Reprise 2009
Rating = 7

SUCK MY ASS IT SMELLS!

In other words, Neil Young is back at his laziest, lazying out some lazy one-take lazy-bones guitar rock like Living With War without the choir or Greendale without the movie. And why the hell not? He's 63 years old, there's no MTV to play his videos, there are no radio stations to play his new songs, so why should he put forth anything like the time, money and effort he did in the 1970s or 1990s? What would be the point? Luckily, this time he has an ace up his schmekel!

I apologize for that. I'm converting to Yiddishism and trying to work some of my new faith into my record reviews. So excuse me if it seems like I'm trying to nosh on something and get some schmutz on my face.

The album is about Neil Young's electric car! Check out all these lyrics about Neil Young's electric car:

-- "When Worlds Collide" - "Runnin' low on the people's fuel/Ridin' in something that's really cool/On the proud highway"
-- "Fuel Line" - "The world is ready for a whole new game; the big oil companies just want to stay the same/But like to advertise how clean and green they are/But she don't listen to what they said; she burns domestic green instead/But she don't use much though -- that's smart for a car!"
-- "Singing A Song" - "You can ride in my car, see how it rolls/Feel the new energy as it quietly goes"
-- "Johnny Magic" - "And she did all that on electric power/Flying down Douglas at 100 miles per hour/Cutting through the air silently/In Wichita"
-- "Cough Up The Bucks" - "It's all about my car/It's all about my car"
-- "Get Behind The Wheel" - (guess)
-- "Off The Road" - (ditto)
-- "Hit The Road" - (okay it's wearing thin)

So all this crazy talk about Neil Young's electric car got me to wondering.... What if Neil Young had acquired an electric car at the very beginning of his career!? I think his catalog might look something like this:

-- "Old Man" - "Old man look at my car/It's a lot like you were/It used to have lots of gas/And belch out foul manure"
-- "Cinnamon Girl" - "I wanna live with my cinnamon girl/And by 'cinnamon girl,' I mean 'electric car'/That's my cinnamon girl"
-- "Ohio" - "I was driving my electric auto/Doin' 90 yet quiet as snow/I didn't know you're supposed to stop for a school bus/Four dead in Ohio"

Yes, it's a hilarious thought to enjoy and take in, but sadly this didn't occur at all so instead he crammed all his electric car songs on one late-period album that only about ten people will buy.

So now you're out there thinking to yourself, "Okay, Mark. So the music is half-assed and the lyrics are borderline retarded. Why on Earth did you award a coveted 7 out of 10 to what sounds like a truly bone-brained release?"

I'll tell you why: because the guitars sound great and the songs, as simple and repetitive as they are, are awfully catchy. Plus, as slapdash and thrown-together as the whole affair feels, he still manages to keep it stylistically diverse, breaking up the three-chord garage rock with forays into Crazy Horse dark rock riffing ("Singing A Song"), electric blues ("Get Behind The Wheel"), Stax r'n'b ("Hit The Road"), acoustic protest folk ("Light A Candle"), '50s balladry ("Off The Road") and even a bit of what you'd almost call 'hip-hop' if it weren't Neil Young performing it ("Cough Up The Bucks").

The highlight however is the title track, a funny and seemingly adlibbed three-chord six-minute rant against the recession, the bailout, the war, the energy crisis, MP3s, the state of radio and whatever other subjects he could think to throw in. If you aren't won over by lyrics like "Forgot this year to support the troops/They're all still there in a fucking war/It's no good!/Whose idea was that!?," then wait a few seconds for "There's a bailout coming, but it's not for me/It's for all those creeps watching tickers on TV." And if you don't like that one either, SURELY you'll enjoy "I'm a big rock star, but my sales have tanked/But I've still got you - thanks!/Download this - it sounds like shit." Come on man, the guy's 63. This is great stuff for a senior citizen!

I also urge you to visit www.neilyoung.com and watch some of the cheapass homemade videos he made to support the record. "Fork In The Road" finds him lip synching in his front yard while listening to earbuds plugged into an apple. GET IT? AN "APPLE"!?! In "Cough Up The Bucks," he's dressed like a businessman, lip synching in the back of a gigantic limo while reading the Wall Street Journal. In "Light A Candle," he strums the acoustic as his wife holds a candle in the background. And in one "Johnny Magic" video (he made two, for some reason), he lip synchs while driving his adorable Labradoodle around town in the infamous electric car! The two great things about all these videos are that (a) he filmed them himself, on no budget and (b) NOTHING HAPPENS IN ANY OF THEM. They're all just Neil lip synching in various locations! One has a dog though, so that automatically makes it an awesome video deserving of industry recognition.

Let me say just one last thing about this record. If you read online music record review sites around these parts, you're probably familiar with Adrian Denning of www.adriandenning.com fame. Well, Mr. Denning emailed me a few days ago and stated his opinion that this record is "so hilariously bad I don't even know what to say about it." And I couldn't really argue with his assessment! Simply put, Fork In The Road is nothing like a groundbreaking artistic masterpiece. However, if you enjoyed Greendale and/or Living With War, I'd be very surprised if you didn't enjoy this one as well. It's another album for us Neil apologists, I guess.

Us CATCHY Neil apologists, that is!

Reader Comments

stephendfall@yahoo.co.uk
Do you know why it's called Fork In The Road? Because if he'd called it Spoon In The Gutter, people would have expected another drug/memorial album like Tonight's The Night.

I think your '7 out of 10' grade is very fair and just about right. This is a pretty good album. If you think of it as a concept album about cars and the environment, it really works. I prefer it to the messy and baffling Chrome Dreams II, which had some good bits but didn't really hang together at all. Fans of the under-explored 'car/ecology concept album' genre may also enjoy Julian Cope's 1994 LP Autogeddon.

I was surprised how some of the reviewers laid into this new effort. It's one of Neil's better post-1970s albums, along with Ragged Glory, Silver And Gold, Sleep With Angels and the Dead Man soundtrack. It's certainly not a complete turkey like Are You Passionate? Plus, as with Living With Wars, Neil is singing about something he cares about and getting fired up about a cause. It's protest music: it's clearly not meant to be finely crafted or especially subtle. And who else bothers to protest these days? Dylan is merely coasting with Together Through Life, while Neil is still raging against the world. Sadly, some people have missed this point entirely and written it off as lazy or misguided. It's quite the opposite. An angry, ranting Neil is far preferable to Neil being a smug, self-satisfied old rockstar who turns out the sort of albums (Harvest Moon?) that attempt to please Rolling Stone and a mainstream audience that probably no longer even exists.

OK, Neil uses 'dumb' riffs and basic song structures, but I LIKE dumb riffs and basic song structures. Plus, Neil's riffs have been dumb from the early days of Crazy Hoss, so this is nothing new and certainly no mark of a decline.

Which other musician has made music this good in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s? I would have said Bob Dylan if this was late 2001 and Love & Theft was just out, but Bob is clearly flagging with Modern Times and Together Through Life. D. Bowie, L. Reed and R. Waters seem to have retired or vanished completely. L. Cohen is still pretty good, but hardly prolific. Joni has failed to release a classic LP for some time. P. McCartney and the Stones have no idea what to do with themselves except tour, since people only want to hear the oldies played live and have no interest in new material.

Neil wins the memorial biscuit.

capecodsues@aol.com (Susan Bryce)
FORK IN THE ROAD WOULD BE AN HILARIOUS MAD MAGAZINE CARTOON IF THIS WERE THE 70's

Dear Mark,

I mean this most sincerely:

You bring me such joy when reading your posts. I laugh and laugh, pure laughter. And nod in agreement when I am done laughing.

May God Grant You Many Years

Add your thoughts?

Le Noise - Reprise 2010
Rating = 7

Say what you will about Daniel Lanois: that he's an egomaniac, that he takes too much credit for others' work, that he's built a career from ripping off Eno. Seriously, say anything you want about him -- preferably through a megaphone while standing in his front yard. Come on, it'll be hilarious.

One thing I love about Neil Young is that, even though he's 102 years old, he's still experimenting. In the 21st century alone, he's given us a '60s soul record, an album about an electric car, a protest CD with 100-person vocal choir, and whatever the hell Greendale is supposed to be -- and now he's at it again! This time, he's recorded a solo album driven predominantly by voice and loud fuzzed-out electric guitar. No bass or drums -- just Neil singing through various effects and playing dark '70s-style riffs through his awesome blistering feedback-drenched psych guitar as Daniel Lanois (get the album title?) does whatever the hell he does for a living.

Some have argued that the songs sound incomplete without a rhythm section but, although these people have a valid point in that this could've been a kickass return to his '90s ragged glory, Neil has once again created an album that sounds unlike any other in his catalog -- which to me is worth even more than another great Crazy Horse album. These melodies are rock melodies -- they sound like the stuff Neil was writing in the late '70s, just without percussion. And the mixture of layered fuzz guitars, hypnotic sonic effects and classic riffs is an extremely satisfying one. The only sore spot -- and it's a pretty severe one -- is that in this austere environment, Neil's loose, unpracticed vocals simply have too much room to breathe, revealing themselves as one-take, amateurish and awkward.

As usual, his lyrics are a strange mixture of hackneyed rhymes and brilliant imagery, the finest of which appear to be brutally honest autobiography. In "Love and War," one of the disc's two acoustic songs, he begins with sorrowful tales of war dead before hitting much closer to home: "The saddest thing in the whole wide world is to break the heart of your lover/I made a mistake and I did it again, and we struggled to recover." In the scraggly, brooding "Rumblin'," he queries, "When will I learn how to listen? When will I learn how to feel? When will I learn how to give back? When will I learn how to heal?" And in the startling "Hitchhiker," he details how the drug use of his youth took its toll on his mind and body: "You didn't see me in Toronto when I first tried out some hash," he begins before outlining his years of experimentation with amphetamine, valium, grass and cocaine. What man will refuse to get a chill upon Neil's final revelation that "I tried to leave my past behind, but it's catching up with me"? Whoever that man may be, let him be cast aside.

Le Noise begins with a bit of love-inspired light, but turns dark VERY quickly, so don't be surprised when, for example, a song called "Peaceful Valley Boulevard" includes lyrics like "Mother Earth took poison in her soil," "A polar bear stood drifting on an ice floe" and "'People make the difference' read a billboard above a long line of idling cars." The music is equally threatening -- slow and studied, but as mean-sounding as the coda of "Cinnamon Girl" 40 years ago.

In conclusion, I hope that you are able to enjoy these songs even with the questionable vocals and lack of rhythm section because in my opinion this is the best collection of songs he's written in at least a decade and a half. They sound serious. They sound like he's trying again. There aren't even any songs about his electric car.

But this whole situation got me to wondering: What if ALL our favorite Neil Young albums had been named after their respective producers? I think his discography would look something like this:

Neil Young? Yeah, More like "David Briggs"!
Everybody Knows This Is Another David Briggs Album
After The Briggs Rush
Harvest (of Maize)
Taking A Schmitt On The Beach
Tonight's David Briggs' Night
Zuma, But Also David Briggs
American Briggs 'n Jiggs
Comes A Brigg
Rust Never Briggs
Hawks & Tim Mulligan
Re-Mulligan-Tor
Trans? Fuck That, "Briggs"
Everybody's Mazin'
Old Maze
Landing On Kortchmar
Life (Alternate Spelling of "Briggs")
This Note's For Niko Bolas
Niko "Freedom" Bolas
Ragged Briggsy
I Was Going To Name This Album "Harvest Moon," But Then I Remembered That The Producer's Name is Ben Keith
Sleeps With David Briggs
Brendan O'Brien's Ball (featuring Pearl Jam)
Self-Produced Arrow
Silver, Gold and Ben Keith
Are You Booker T. Jones?
Greenjohnson
Prairie Wind (From Ben Keith's Anus)
Living With Niko Bolas
Niko Bolas Dreams II
Niko Bolas in the Niko Bolas

Well, that was certainly worth the effort.

Reader Comments

kyleschmidlin@gmail.com
Mark,
Imagine my disappointment when the album I thought was such garbage, but got such praise from places like Pitchfork and was called "a stunning sonic adventure" by NPR, was given a 7 out of 10 by you. Why in the world is it so appealing? I'll admit your review makes me curious to want to listen again, but boy. I sat through the whole thing but once, while working at a record store, and heard a better portion of it a second time in another record store, but I struggled in vain to get any track to distinguish itself from any other. It sounds to me like Mr. Young got drunk, turned on a 4-track Tascam, and started dicking around with his son's Squire and practice amp. Which obviously isn't the case since enough fuss was made about Daniel Lanois' production to name the album after him. The title does work on multiple levels, though, since this thing is definitely noisy, and irritatingly so. A 7? I'll listen again, but I'll be amazed if I suddenly catch on and feel like it deserves more than a 1.

mabewa@yahoo.com
I'm glad you like this album, Mark. I've been listening to it ever since it came out, and it really turns my crank, if you know what I mean. It sounds really cool, and has a lot of cool songs on it. In fact, I like EVERY song a lot. Really. There are a few lyrical clunkers here and there, but it's one of Young's most melodically consistent albums since the 70's, the trippy electric guitar sounds cool (like a whole band, really). And then the two acoustic tracks just drip with atmosphere. It's like Lanois had the room totally mic'ed up perfectly, and Young walked in and liked the sound so much that he just grooved with it.

Anyway, the thing with Young is that you never know what you're going to get. Every time it seems that he's finally losing it, then he comes up with something really cool again. The late 90's/early 00's stuff was pretty marginal, but he started to get interesting again with Greensdale. Of the albums in-between, I like "Living With War" best, but this album totally romps all over that one and everything else in the last 15 year. It's definitely his best since Sleeps With Angels, which it kinda reminds me of, oddly enough--lots of noise, weird atmospheres, but lots of melody too. I'd give it an 8, and I might even give it a 9 if it keeps on growing on me.

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