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10 Reasons to Be Cheerful
on 18 August 2003
I can imagine the reviews this album will receive - "A concept album in 2003 for crying out loud" they'll indignantly splutter.Well, never one to listen to critics (or anyone for that matter),the venerable Mr Young has gone and delivered just such a curio and his best album since 1990's 'Ragged Glory' to boot.
Weighing in at 78 minutes 'Greendale' tells the story of the Green family,inhabitants of the fictitious town of the title.
The musical texture is thin as one would expect of a collaboration with Crazy Horse (there isn't even the extra guitar of the mysteriously-missing Frank Sampedro). Young's utterly unique,fuzzy,buzzy,scuzzy guitar sound dominates throughout.There are touches of harmonica here and there (employed to ghostly effect on 'Leave the Driving')and a pump organ (used on 'Unplugged''s 'Like A Hurricane'?) appears on 'Bringin' Down Dinner'.
Three tracks last over 10 minutes each but somehow, despite the simplicity of the music and Young's beloved one note solos,they are nothing less than riveting.
Okay I'll admit for a 58 year old man, Young's lyrics are strangely child-like and naive and his rants against corporate America offer precious little insight,nevermind answers. However, the sheer ramshackle rambunctiousness of the music tramples these misgivings and it's such a blessed relief to have a smile on my face again when listening to a new Neil Young album that I can overlook a few lyrical inanities.
The special edition of the album comes with a DVD of Neil performing 'Greendale' at Vicar Street,Dublin.Well - what are you waitng for? Click on 'add to shopping basket' and let Neil Young deliver you an aural treat of the kind you had no right to expect but which you knew deep down he was still capable of if he put his mind to it. The man is remarkable and it's a pleasure to report that once again he is producing remarkable music.