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3.8 out of 5 stars21
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 30 June 2003
Generally reckoned to be one of the worst Neil Young and Crazy Horse albums, this deserves reassessment. Sure it has it's low points, 'T-bone' is okay for the first few minutes but goes on for too long and some of the playing is a bit loose even by Crazy Horse standards. On the up side 'Southern Pacific' is one of the best songs Neil Young has ever written and the sheer sonic barrage of 'Shots' gives most of 'Rust Never Sleeps' a run for its money. The rest of the album is a fairly raucous and somewhat eccentric selection of songs dedicated to surfers, old cars and ageing rockers. Business as usual then (only louder).
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on 20 June 2003
Re-Ac-tor saw the begining of the eighties for Neil Young, a decade that would see a very strained relationship with Crazy Horse and many eccentric musical changes from album to album. Its an album that would be very easy to write off as much of the material sounds a bit dated and doesn't really stand the test of time. However this album does feature one of the most underrated classic Neil Youngs tracks in "Shots". This track alone is one which no Neil Young fan should be without. Other than that its a great period album of where the artist was in 1981.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 August 2009
I quite like "Reactor" and always have done, but more for its quirkiness than the timeless, inspiring quality of the songs or musicianship! The trick is NOT to put the CD player on repeat. Listen to it once, then put it away for a year, and keep doing that and the music and lyrics will be quite rewarding. Shut yourself in for a weekend and listen to it in the dark and I think you`ll go quietly mad, unless you fortify your head with a bottle of something strong.

The reason for my opinion? Well, Neil was obviously in a funny mood as he wrapped his first contract with Reprise. It`s always good to hear Neil with Crazy Horse, but this really is a loose record, and in some ways is an even grungier work than the more famed NY offerings, but without the charm or skill. Or maybe the skill is making it sound so loose and unskilled? I don`t know! What I do know is that this record is strange, and you`ll rarely hear an odder pair of songs than "T-Bone" or "Rapid Transit", which are insane both lyrically and musically, or at least something like guitar-solos and singing performed whilst sleepwalking, moments of clarity interspersed with banging your head into a doorframe or foot into a plant pot. "Motor City" is about the all-American car, but doesn`t sound very serious - he deals with this theme better in the 2000s. "Shots" is often considered this album`s redemptive note, but it`s not better than the splendid "Southern Pacific" (inspiration for "Crime In The City" a few years later perhaps?), the episodic "Surfer Joe and Moe the Sleaze", or even the amusing album opener, "Opera Star". Actually, Opera is about the only genre Neil didn`t attempt in the 80s isn`t it? Surprising, when you think what notes that falsetto of his can hit!

Anyway, worth owning, and worth an occasional listen. Sure, it`s no "After The Goldrush", but can be enjoyed if you`re in the right mood.
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on 14 November 2008
Like many others, I never understood the flak that this album received. The lonnnnnggggg T-Bone track is just classic NY&CH - raw, churning, chundering, dirty, sprawling, extended back-to-basics riffing ad infinitum wonderstuff that at the time I wanted to go on for at least the whole side of the LP vinyl. Now? I still want it to go on and on and on.... Southern Pacific is a majestic track that stays in the hearing for years I can tell you. The 'product decription' for this is absolutely spot-on. An absolute steal at less than a fiver.
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on 15 December 2005
Re-ac-tor the oft-maligned 1981 offering from Neil & Crazy Horse is nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be, in fact i think it's rather good. As long as you approach it with an open mind and accept it for what it is a straight-ahead, no frills rock album then you might be pleasantly surprised. Defiantely worth giving it a chance! HIGHLIGHTS: Get Back On It / Southern Pacific / Shots.
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on 30 January 2013
Ok its not Everybody knows this is nowhere...On the Beach or Rust Never sleeps...but I love REACTOR...its claustrophobic, tight, obsessive but its a masterpiece...it perfectly sums up the spirit of the 80`s ......there`s a whole atmosphere of dismissal in the record...like the whole 60`s 70` let`s give peace and love a chance vein had completely run out.....
not even time for standing "on the beach" anymore looking back on what went wrong...time to face reality again and reinvent it..... a painful process....exactly what this record represents ...in my opinion...but maybe I`m just too high....:-)
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on 12 August 2003
Well, I'm very pleased to see this released at last on CD and can now retire the copy made from my mother's LP.
I'm one of the odder Neil Young fans as I like the classics, but I'm a big fan of his more unusual stuff with Trans being my very favourite Neil Young album and this a close third.
If you want to try less folky Young, this isn't a bad place to go and repetitive tracks like T-Bone really resonate well with a fan of classic electronic music (more John Cage than Kraftwerk). Fans of Heart of Gold will be disappointed, but if you want to try some experimental rock this isn't a bad place to go.
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on 3 June 2013
Alright I am a Young fan and I find very little of his probably too large output unlistenable. Re-Ac-Tor isn't one. It's certainly not his best album but there are some interesting tracks here. Southern Pacific is quite tuneful and has one of his better lyrics. Shots would have been hailed as a minor masterpiece if it had been made by an obscure garage band. Even the apparently unforgivably repetitive T-Bone can become strangely hypnotic. You probably do have to have a high opinion of Young's work to like this but if you have it's much better than some would have you believe.
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on 11 October 2009
The other reviews hereabouts lay out the main points, this was the end of his first stint on Reprise, the album is largely a fuzzed-out, rapid-fire ragbag of rockers notable mainly for its quirky twists and fleeting moments of extreme glory. So, it's inconsistent and the best moments are overlooked in his canon largely because he didn't tour this one and it didn't get the promotion that would have turned the would-be anthemns here into the standards they deserve to be. There's a great story about the recording of Re.ac.tor in which Reprise ring up Neil to ask how the overdue final album is going and he assures them he was laying some tracks as they rang, failing to mention the tracks in question were for a model railway!

That off the wall attitude pervades here. When it hits the target it's worth the trouble. If you don't buy this for the best moments you'll get a lot of music for your money downloading the epic 'T-bone' (moronic to the point of mind-numbing and still played with a ferocity that indicates he was onto something). He once kept a straight face when asked about the repetitive lyrics on this one, claiming he was thinking of something different as he sang each verse. 'Shots' is a must too, pretty much the heaviest rocker in the Young canon and something of a sidekick to 'Hurricane' and 'Free World.' Elsewhere the US single 'Southern Pacific' and 'Opera Star' are catchy character songs that wouldn't have been out of place on Rust Never Sleeps and the rest is full-on clanking rock, probably a little too reliant on slogans rather than deep thoughts lyrically but still grat fun cranked up loud in the car.
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The first of Neil Young's `electronic albums' the last on Warner for a while and a precursor to `Trans'. This album was not available for a long time due to Neil's dislike of all things CD. Finally released on DVDA and HDCD separately, I have the DVDA and have to say it's a great album. Highlights `Southern Pacific' & `Shots', while `T-Bone' does go on for a verse too long. Not nearly as bad as many suggest, not quite as goods as Neil's best but even Neil Young's bad is better than many artists best.
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