Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
Diverse, interesting and enjoyable
on 17 February 2008
'Chrome Dreams II', Neil Young's 30th studio album, is - bizarrely - a sequel to a late-70s album that was never released and, I must confess, when I heard that fact and saw the title, I feared the worst. Quite honestly, I shouldn't have feared anything as this album is wonderful, a continuation of the artistic roll that Neil has been on for a considerable amount of time and is very similar in feel to his 1970 masterpiece 'After The Gold Rush'.
The first track, 'Beautiful Bluebird' is, indeed, beautiful. A gentle, romantic piece of acoustic tenderness, it convinces you immediately that this album is going to be no dud. It, like all the first three tracks, was written and shelved in the 1980s during Young's well-documented artistic struggle with Geffen. Incredibly, 'Ordinary People', a stunning horn-laden epic, manages to last for an amazing 18+ minutes without ever overstaying it's welcome. Such ambition doesn't end there - 'No Hidden Path' also clocks in at 14 minutes and 33 seconds and also manages to be both a great piece of music and also continually interesting.
In fact, this album has enough depth, texture and diversity to make it one of the most varied, most intresting and fulfilling Neil Young album for quite a while. Although arguably the majority of Young's releases in the past 15-20 years have been excellent, it can be argued that even the very best of that work has been a little one-dimensional, with Young tending to pick a genre, dedicating the whole album to the pursuit of that particular idea or feeling. 'Chrome Dreams II' doesn't suffer from that particular trait and, as a result, feels more complete and is certainly more engaging than much of his recent work.
Chrome Dreams II highlights all of Neil's strengths without really revealing any of his limitations whether it is the country-influenced folk of 'Ever After' or the Weld-era gritty, grungy rock of the enjoyable 'Dirty Old Man'. This album should be a must for any Neil Young fans and is so good that you could also probably recommend it as a great starting point for any music lovers new to Neil's particular sound. Great stuff!