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Le Noise Import

3.7 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, 27 Sep 2010
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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 Sept. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: WARNER BROS
  • ASIN: B003ZBJ0ZM
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,286 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Digital Booklet: Le Noise
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Product description

Product Description

32nd studio album by the influential Canadian singer-songwriter. The album has been described by Young's old bandmate, David Crosby, as one of his most heartfelt and special records. The title is a pun of the producer's name, Daniel Lanois.

BBC Review

Neil Young now belongs to that rare stratum of artists whose work is no longer judged purely on its merits but on the basis of its status within their catalogue. As with Dylan and Bowie, interest lies not only in whether the latest record stands up to repeated listening, but what it says about them within the context of their career. So when Le Noise was announced, most stories focussed on the fact that it sees the veteran collaborate with Grammy-winning producer Daniel Lanois, previously responsible for records from Dylan (of course), Peter Gabriel and Emmylou Harris, and who here has reduced Young’s backing to (mainly) electric guitar and Lanois’ own "sonics". It sounded like one for the musos.

But what this means is that when Walk With Me opens the album with one crunching, distorted chord, it sounds like Crazy Horse, his sometime backing band, are about to unleash hell’s fury. Instead, Young’s trademark impassioned whine insists "I’ll never let you down no matter what you do if you just walk me", while he chops out chords that decay like thunder, Lanois adding a few restrained vocal loops and guitar treatments. There are no drums, no hurricane solos and, it has to be said, no great signs of a melody. In fact this at first sounds as though Young is merely demoing new songs, feeling his way through them, trying to decide whether they would work better if they rocked with a band or instead reached back to the tender acoustics of Harvest. His research appears to have been inconclusive.

This being a Neil Young album, however, it’s worth returning to, and what initially appeared indecisive reveals itself as an experiment in the rejection of standard rock arrangements. Le Noise therefore remains reasonably accessible, Young’s lyrics still as appealingly forthright as his playing, his melodies slowly rising through the unsettling, growling dirge. Hitchhiker sees Young look back over his life atop a bare and formidable landscape; Rumbling is plaintive yet full of an urgent energy, Young’s voice vulnerable but resolute, while Lanois’ greatest contribution is arguably his general absence.

It’s not an easy listen, obviously, but acclimatisation to the unfamiliar, monochromatic sound of such raw electric guitar brings with it the ability to recognise that Young’s songwriting skills haven’t dulled with age. Examined as a part of his overall body of work, furthermore, it’s amongst the more fascinating left turns he’s made, and once again confirms the evergreen restlessness of this gnarly and frequently inspiring Canadian. Once again, he’s not let us down.

--Wyndham Wallace

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a very creative and different production, which can be both challenging and extremely enjoyable.

Very intelligent production and it really grows on you, play after play.
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Format: Audio CD
As anyone who has ever been more involved in music that sniping from the sidelines will know it takes a certain amount of courage to walk up to the mic stand alone, whether you layer the result in effects or not. But then Neil Young, no matter what else you may think of him, has always been an artist unafraid to take risks. Whether you think of him yelling at the tree-hugging hippies of the seventies desperately trying to galvanize them into action, scoring the oddball Jim Jamarsch movie `dead man' almost entirely with feedback and atmospherics, employing Pearl Jam as the world's most well-known backing band or going totally off the rails for the Geffen-contract-wrecking `Trans', the man has been nothing if not delightfully entertaining over his lengthy career even while only the most die-hard fan would try to claim that all his works are worthy of his name.

However, despite what the critics might have you believe, the last decade was certainly a strong one for Neil. `Chrome Dreams II' (a sequel to an album that was never made), `Living with War', `Greendale' and `road rock Vol 1' (a live album) were all hugely enjoyable while `Silver and Gold' and `prairie wind' were strong acoustic outings that lacked the punch of `Freedom' but which still had their moments of classic Young beauty. `Le Noise' thus closes out the decade in fine style and sees Neil doing what he does best, namely confounding his fans (and his detractors) expectations to do things his way and it works all too well.

At 39 minutes `Le noise' is a brief affair, but given the densely sounds contained within that's probably a good thing. On offer are eight tracks of varying vintage (much like `Chrome dreams II'.
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I must be getting spoilt by today's CD-length albums - this one seems ever so short, coming in at 39 minutes or so. But partly this perception is heightened by it's quality - it's really very good. There's a limited edition LP available for audiophiles; perhaps they kept it short to fit it on the vinyl... oh well.

Neil is very prolific, and you'd have to be a really ardent fan to enjoy everything he's released over the years - I'm a long-standing fan of his, but I always check out one or two tracks on any new album of his, just to see which 'Neil' I'm getting.

I love this album - for me, it's like a solo Ragged Glory - there's a whole soundscape of feedback and echoes (the album is named after the Daniel Lanois, the guy resonsible for the noises) going on behind and around his guitar-playing.

There's a mixture of semi-acoustic and electric guitar tracks; all of which sound like they could have been written at any point over the last 35 years or so.

I love it. It's intimate, but it has that magic something that makes you want to turn it up LOUD.

Lanois says that when working with Neil, he wasn't prepared to accept songs from him that weren't representational of what he was going through at the time, which has resulted in an album which feels very emotionally connected - there's anger, love, a certain amount of nostalgia there, and more.

Most people will get different things out of this album, but for me its one of the best things he's done for years. His music has been one of thesoundtracks to my life, and with this sort of quality music still coming from him, it will continue to be so for a long time.
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Le Noise is an album that Neil Young needed to make. Just when it seemed like the ornery old cowpoke may have said all he had to say, along come 38 minutes and 1 second of sonic assault that remind us why his career has lasted over 40 years, and why he still matters.

Daniel Lanois's production signature is far less evident that might have been expected (or feared), but whatever his role in the delivery of this album, his touch has been just enough to breathe new life into Young's 'Old Black'. Songs like 'Love And War' with its echoes of 'Eldorado' from 1989's Freedom, 'Sign Of Love' and 'Angry World' are the best things that he has written since.... well, since some of the previous best things he has written. There is no band accompaniment; just Young spitting brooding and distorted soundscapes from his electric guitar. Sometimes, this sounds almost like the precursor to a full-on band sound that is about to rush in and thrash a song in true Crazy Horse style, but the restraint is in many ways the album's strength. Here is something entirely familiar, but new.

Most welcome of all is one of a number of 'Holy Grail' songs from Neil Young's archives, 'Hitchhiker', which finally appears on an album 36 years after it first surfaced. Unlike 'Ordinary People' on Chrome Dreams II, 'Hitchhiker' is surrounded by a set of songs that are almost of equal stature. It blends in beautifully with the album's mood, a journey through the past of Young's back pages in the spirit of 'Don't Be Denied', or even 'Helpless'. There is relief in the beautiful 'Love And War' and 'Peaceful Valley Boulevard'. These electric and acoustic bedfellows recall one of Young's previous career highs, the glorious Rust Never Sleeps whose sonic assault saw Young tipping his hat to punk. 32 years later, Le Noise is an album that will sit high up in the canon as one of the best things he has done.
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