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[music, albums]

Neil Young - Greendale, review

I picked this up yesterday from the post office with the book I quoted from yesterday (apparently I miscalculated the size of the small parcel as it did not fit in our mailbox). The first listen was very pleasant. 100% Neil Young, very simple words and tunes with this naive quality of most of his work. Not only has he got the voice of a child, he also seems to have its soul. Neil Young has always had this kind of therapeutic effect on me when I was down because of relationships falling apart and heartbreaking stuff like that. And it seems the same with this album. It's soothing and unobtrusive. I didn't listen to the story line as it doesn't interest me at all what happens to this family somewhere in a small Californian town. It is very rare that concept albums move me. The last one and probably only one ever was Lou Reed's Magic and Loss where he transformed the pain of losing several friends due to AIDS into great art.

On the other hand two subsequent listens made me unsure if this is good. Some very conventional arrangements like in song two (Double E) which is absolutely unbearable and song four (Leave the Driving). Even Carmichael, the ten minute middle ballad and a peak which I loved immediately at first listen maybe isn't as extraordinary as I thought. The electric rough-sounding guitars (Crazy Horse) are to my liking but the song is definitely too long and repetitive. The next song, Bandit has an acoustic guitar on it evoking the open atmosphere of Joni Mitchell's Hejira but it turns into something else with Young's falsetto getting lost in schmaltz. Song number 7, Grandpa's Interview is electric again with a lot of blues, an excellent captivating song on grandpa's death. A killer riff, close to Cortez the Killer actually. But again the song is far too epic, not substantial enough too fill almost thirteen minutes. Bringin' Down Dinner is a synthesizer meets drum-machine-like-drumming bore. The second last song Sun Green has some more bluesy electrified mouthharp on it (as some of the earlier songs) and rocks smoothly with slightly distorted shouting voices in between Young's singing. Almost making me think of Trans, an electronic experiment which constitutes the worst Young has ever released. Be the Rain finishes the album full of simple-hearted shitty political lyrics like "save the planet for another day" and this background lady choir I have always detested, even on the Leonard Cohen albums.

A very mixed affair all this. I think I will edit it to thirty minutes on tape and that will improve it considerably. Nevertheless Neil has tried to tread some new territory with this music novel, with 57 years that is a little feat considering that Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac and Santana are touring right now in front of amazingly big audiences with music which is as fresh as a stinking dead fish. Neil Young who has had polio in his childhood and has two handicapped kids still hasn't lost it. He is a miracle in the pop music business. A marathon runner who is still on his way.



em....I have also just listened to his new album. he really brings me to another new journey when I listen his songs.

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Crazy Horse...are you in there? Neil is persuing music with enthusiasm that is natural to everyone. He is in the groove.

Fred P.

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Greendale Rocks

Listening to every tune-every word-it's all Neil Young & Crazy Horse at their finest. Love the 'story'.

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last updated: 12/8/21, 5:41 PM
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