TRANS Revisited: When New Wave happens to Baby Boomer rockers
An interesting analysis of TRANS over on CultureCloud by Bob Cook. Cook looks at what happens when artists from the '60's meet up with New Wave and examines Neil Young's TRANS.
"In the late 1970s, established Baby-Boomer rockers -- the kind now the target audience of Dennis Hopper's rebellious retirement plan TV ads -- got jolted by the double-barrelled commercial attack of disco and New Wave. The results of rockers' sudden, survival-instinct embrace of disco (from artistic and commercial successes as the Rolling Stones, to commercial successes and artistic failures such as Rod Stewart and Kiss, to failures all around such as Aretha Franklin) has been well-chronicled.
But what of those rockers who succumbed to New Wave? In North America, punk was slow to break out commercially, but the edgy, choppy, synth-driven, skinny-tie sounds of New Wave caught fire, making many veteran artists sound like dinosaurs. Which many of them, thanks to a combination of substance abuse, aging and general torpor, indeed were. While bands like the Allman Brothers (at least for a while) were lost in New Wave's wake, other acts decided they had better start sounding more like Gary Numan."
Cook goes on to describe the painful backstory in detail and the resulting TRANS sessions. While Thrasher would have to disagree with the overall assessment, as flawed as TRANS might be, it is still an essential component of Neil's discography.
Also see review Trans - Neil Young Albums In Order and Neil Young Interview - Village Voice Rock and Roll Quarterly, Winter 1989.