A mediocre Neil Young?
Was this to be a mediocre Neil Young album? That is what a review or two led me to believe, as well as hearing the title track myself - a pleasant, funny rocker of fleeting charm. I bought the album + DVD in preparation for attending his 2009 concert in Rotterdam, thinking he would concentrate on this new album. I can only say I was pleasantly surprised and played it 6 times in a row (easy, because the album is short at 38 mins.) The man is quirky, but never mad. His spirit and energy remains exemplary; he is no 60s dinosaur. What I found was a fairly varied collection. The production suggests Neil's trademark lo-fi sound (Ragged Glory - my favourite, Living with War etc etc), but there are a sophiscated spatial quality and elements of refinement - the Buffalo Springfield guitar in Just Singing this Song, a true rock anthem, and the 60s harmonies in When World Collide, Cough up the Bucks. Most songs are upbeat, with the exceptions of Off the Road with its interesting chord progression and Light a Candle for those that need a dose of Harvest on occasion. There are great guitar riffs underlying When Worlds Collide, Fuel Line, Hit the Road. Easy rockers like Johnny Magic, reminiscent of Status Quo. I am not a lyrics man, but Neil is. Is there anyone so with the signs of the times as he? Living with War is a monument, but this one is up there - the environment, the credit crunch and the government's responses and his lovely mix of the bad old American guzzler and electric propulsion - the LincVolt. No mediocre Young album, in short, but a minor classic in my book. Disappointed that he only played the title track during the Rotterdam show (but three off Ragged Glory!) The extra DVD surprised me with his respectful rendition of the Beatles' Day in the Life, but fortunately his quirkiness did not leave him when he butchers his great black Les Paul at the end.