on 29 October 2001
I really can't believe that there has only been one review previous to this, and that it gave the album a measly four. This record really is the best thing we've heard from Neil since the amazing Rust Never Sleeps, and I can see arguments for it toppling even that's might. I would go as far as to say if I were to own only 3 NY albums, I would have to choose Harvest (sorry, but it's undeniable), RNS and THIS. It displays so much, says so much, contains so much incredible diversity. Let me demonstrate the first track is a beautiful solo-Neil harpsichord-thing song, wonderful, lovely. The next is a full band grove, the first few times seemingly a dull guitar number that goes nowhere, but really a great song, trust me, with unusual for Neil subtle dynamic variation. Next is the depressing dirgy "Driveby", Neil rasping and heartfelt, the chance of it all. Next the short feedback-layered dark-metal (practically) of the title track, all about poor Kurt's death (we are led to believe, I remain sceptic). All of these four songs, so diverse and containing inexplicable beauty, standing so well next to each other, yet apart.
The rest of the album is better in places to, The stunning 16 minute "Change your mind" beats "Down By The River" in my opinion, even if it never touches "Cowgirl...". The six-minute outro "Blue Eden" isn't bad either. The other main highlight is "safeway cart", with it's slide-bass riff and spooky chord progression, a new wonderful direction for Neil. Oh, and I literally love "Piece of Crap", hilarious, trust me, political (shallow, I admit) too. The album ends with another harpsichord number, this time with the rest of the band though, not amazing, but a fitting end. There's so much I haven't mentioned. Perhaps the worst track(s) is/are "western hero"/"train of love" (they share the same vocal track, just contain different guitar feedback solos and vocal tracks), so its disappointing they show up twice, but they are strong lyrically and add a less dark element. This is truly a great record. Oh, by the way, don't base your view of this on a few listens, at first the only thing I liked was "piece ofd crap" (!) but as with all of Neil's best, with a bit of effort the reward is priceless. This really is an essential purchase alongside Harvest and RNS for a music fan, and for a NY music fan alongside ragged glory, goldrush EKTIN, TTN and lucky 13(and maybe more... silver and gold, freedom, on the beach, comes a time anyone?).
on 7 November 2003
Sleeps With Angels may stand as Neil Young's last great work. The hit and miss, and general misadventures of Young's work after this album (Broken Arrow, Silver and Gold, the utterly throwaway Are You Passionate?, and the good, but not brilliant Greendale) just highlight the importance of this album in Young's already great catalogue.
This album covers similar ground to the dark Tonight's the Night and the the heavier parts of Rust Never Sleeps. But what makes this album so strong is the consistent songwriting: reminsicent of these two landmark albums, and even topping them in places.
Starting with the light tac piano melody of My Heart, Young seems to probe darkness and loss without ever being consumed by it. Prime of Life's wonderful flute/ guitar interplay makes this song a highlight. Driveby follows with a wonderful acoustic intro, merging with stark electric guitar later in the song. This leads into the title track, a likely tribute to Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, and another highlight. Reflecting grunge in it's muddy mix and dramatic guitar play, it's a fitting tribute to Nirvana's master.
Western Hero is more optimistic, with a piano and acoustic guitar lifting the spirit, and remembering the dead (Train of Love, later in the album intriguingly visits the same tune, but with different lyrics looking at the theme of love. But it looks at love, reassuringly, with no slushly feeling whatsoever).
Change Your Mind is one of Young's great guitar epics - 15 minutes in scope, with another muddy mix. This song just has to be heard in full to be fully appreciated. Blue Eden is a guitar type jam with Young and Crazy Horse, leading into Safeway Cart, with an addictive bassline hook that pulls the listener in, and breathy vocals from Young.
After the previously mentioned Train of Love, comes Trans Am - another highlight. A deadpan vocal delivery from Young, mixed with Crazy Horse backing vocals, and minimal instrumentation.
Piece of Crap is the only full on rock out from Young on this album, and it's a minor delight - an irreverent, thinly veiled swipe on consumer life and corporate life, with insane guitar. If only the likes of some grunge/punk bands presently could write such quality throwaway material.
The album closes with it's final highlight - A Dream That Can Last. In some ways, this song revisits My Heart, and reaffirms the positive after the cycle of the negative that much of this album encloses. A rolling piano melody, and delicate harmonies from Young and Crazy Horse beautifully close the album.
Fans of Young in general should be delighted with this album, and even casual listeners should find much to enjoy here. While this album isn't instantly accessible, and has a mournful feel, it represents Young at his very best. Repeat listens of this album with yield ample rewards over time. So do yourself a favour, and buy this album. If you've got open ears, and an open mind, the misery, mourning and optimism in this album will lift you for a long time to come.
on 13 January 2012
no question at times I've thought of this as perhaps neils greatest ever album.No doubt it is certainly his best of the last 30 plus years and easily as equal to his 7o,<s classics...MORE IN MOROSE STYLE TO TONIGHTS THE NIGHT THAN ANY OF HIS OTHER ALBUMS,THO WOTHOUT THE STONED DRUNKARD FEEL OF THAT MASTERPIECE...Bookended by two of his most hauntingly beautiful song MY HEART and A DREAM THAT CAN LAST..and the incredible CHANGE YOUR MIND contains one of his best ever long crazy horse jams..BLUE EDEN sounds like zztop on tranquillisers..piece of crap is just a rust never sleeps type rave up..the rest of the album is sombre,dark,and beautiful..just buy this record
on 3 August 2008
I was turned onto Neil Young early on in my life through this album specifically. I 'rediscovered' it in my mid-teens, a perfect time. After reading other reviews, I have to say, the whole album with possibly the exception of 'Piece of Crap' induces a beautiful tension that one can't quite put your finger on. It begins with 'My Heart', uplifting from a very deep place indeed. The album ends with 'A Dream That Can Last', and it is here that you will be able to feel a tension with every note of Young's voice, not because of the actual song itself, which is beautifully written, but because of listening through the whole album. Let this album into your mind and heart and if you listen to it from start to finish a few times, you will realise its full qualities. An exceptional album, I have never came across anything like this. Best listened to whilst quietly relaxing and reflecting with friends - for the most part, as the song 'Piece of Crap' has power chords and tone that sounds brilliant a little bit louder. It used to go on whilst me and my friends played card games.
on 17 September 2014
I'm not gonna attempt to be a pretentious amateur music critic, this is simply my favourite Neil Young album, 'my heart' is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard and I love the stomping 'prime of life', some beautiful rich guitar sounds like only Neil Young can do with tight accompanying from crazy horse, stop reading this and go buy it!!!
on 16 November 2001
Definitely 5 stars. Up there with Decade and EKTIN. The title track, too, is up there with the best electric work too, Like A Hurricane (any version) and Cowgirl. I know it's short, over before ya know it. But I think it is as evocative as either, and as enjoyable. The feedback, the way it opens - this is the sort of stuff I expect every rock band aspires to. I can play this song over and over.
Other stuff impressive, Trans Am, Driveby. Change Your Mind is great in places, but something about the chorus doesn't seem to fit. But I aint complaining.
on 9 December 2009
Sleeps With Angels is my favorite album by Neil Young and I do understand it may be very surprising to many lovers of this prolific artist. The album was released in 1994 and I grabbed on to it and started listening for a few days and with every next listen I liked it more and more. It is much more of a rock album than many of his other work but to me it still retains and transcends a perfect amount of Neil's superb folk ballad tone. Sleeps With Angels is a lot about love and it contains more songs, spectacular to me, than any other album of Neil Young.
My Heart makes a perfect beginning of this album. It is about human will and optimism and the power of love or something for us to rely on. Love is the best chance we have, that is for sure, and Neil Young one of the greatest examples for us to follow. Prime Of Life is a song about graceful aging. You can find your comfort in older age and on your death bed, but yes, it does depend on the relationship you have established with your own conscience, which by now can be your best friend or worst enemy, I guess. Musically the following song Drive By might be exceeding the preceding one. The title song Sleeps With Angels was written after the death of Kurt Cobain, and it addresses him. Western Hero is a beautiful song mourning the death of the cowboy. And that was before the arrival of George Bush junior that big spender boy. I guess Neil feels even worse now about our good old straight shooting values... Since the structure and sound of this song is so similar to the music of Train Of Love, I choose that later one. Change Your Mind is another gorgeous song with beautifully flowing music and lyrics as always coming straight from the heart. Once again, the topic of love comes back to us, throughout this album. Perhaps that is my attraction to it, because this world could be a better place if we all loved ourselves a tiny bit less and directed that energy towards the ones around us. Blue Eden is musically harder and it really feels like it is directed towards someone real, but I have no details. Try listening to Safeway Cart on repeat a few times. Even this song brings on a special mood. And the repeating line `baby looks so bad with her tv eyes' I can relate to completely and I am glad someone is talking about it, because from the outside, to me, the situation seems fairly obvious but hardly anybody seems to notice the damage. Train Of Love is simply spectacular, on the spiritual level and I love it musically as well. All of the misfortunes in Neil Young's life were turned by him to his advantage. His heart of gold is out in the open for the world to see. Trans Am is another excellent song putting me in almost a trance like mood when I am inside of it for a while. What a trip this song is, lyrically. Neil Young could turn reading vacuum cleaner manufacturer's operating instructions into a beautiful song. Well Neil, I guess they don't call you the grandfather of grunge for nothing, but I don't care that much for your Piece Of Crap. I do agree the commercialism is killing us; traveling abroad is becoming such a bore and the whole commercial world starts looking more and more like a huge wal-mart. Nothing we can do about it, Neil. A Dream That Can Last is a perfect ending song of an intriguing beginning and lyrics full of charm and mystery. And here are my favorite songs of this beautiful artist: Train Of Love, Razor Love, Pardon My Heart, My Heart, Sugar Mountain, Comes A Time, I Am A Child, After The Gold Rush, Natural Beauty, Old Man, Change Your Mind, Such A Woman, Cortez The Killer, Without Rings, Harvest, Trans Am, It's A Dream.
on 14 December 2010
The last great Neil Young album: '94's Sleeps with Angels. A brilliant album. It has the tunes, a unifying mood, the words, innovation and care with every moment (ok, maybe 'Piece of Crap' doesn't cut it). It's the most recent album that shows he was a great. He seems totally inspired and the inspiration has connected fully with the song writing skills. Every song is excellent. As befits such a good album, it's not an easy listen. Those who are mad about Harvest Moon may find this album problematic, troublesome. The Allmusic site is wrong again with their 3 1/2 star review. Why review when they have no idea?
on 24 July 2012
Soulful, sensual, sexy, smooth, rough, melodic, tender, wrenching, stretching, sinuous-y.
Beautiful guitar and vocals.
This album is made up of songs where Neil Young reaches into my very being and wrenches out my innards!!
I should have bought it years ago!
But then don't take my word for it...if you like Neil Young with Crazy Horse, I'm sure you'll love this!
on 19 January 2015
Highlighted by the superb Change your Mind,this is a better album than Harvest Moon,lacking the mawkishness of some of that album's tracks
Western Hero is another classic and very Neil Young ish.
Shows his full range between ballad and grunge
Crazy Horse never tighter