This 1982 album can be seen as Neil Young's response to the electronic experiments of synthesizer ensembles during the preceeding 5 years or so (especially those of Kraftwerk). The very fact that Young should attempt such an album is testament to a spirit of adventure which he is seldom given credit for.
It must be noted from the outset that this is Young's most impressive (in my opinion) album of the 1980s, before he entered a period of artistic stagnation which produced some truly excrutating, at times unfathomably bad albums. "Trans" is far from such subsequent works. Indeed, although it will no doubt be seen as a form of "blasphemy" to say so, in many ways Young's utilization of new technology, within the traditional popular music framework, is in many ways more skilfully done than most of Kraftwerk's efforts. It could be argued that Krafwerk attempted no such mere aural facelift of pop, but the fact remains that their music IS (in the later albums at least) bound by the forms of pop music, and Young, to my ears, handles the synthesis better.
What it shares with the best of Kraftwerk's records, and what exalts it to a position above that of merely rock'n'roll played on synthesizers, is a genuine attempt to portray an artistic idea (that of the alienating effects of modern technology) by means of popular music. Hence the ambience of the majority of the songs on this collection is one of an ascetic beauty. The vocoder use is particularly effective in creating an atmosphere of other-worldliness, as is the sparse accompaniment.
In short, I urge readers to at least sample this release. It is true that it will not appeal to everyone who loves Young's better-known fare ("Harvest", "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" etc.) but it is an extremely beautiful record, which represents an era which was just coming to a realisation of the early computerization of the society around it, very well. Lovers of early-80s retro may find themselves greatly enamoured to it, also.