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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Comment of the Moment: Archives Preview

The Comment of the Moment is on the Neil Young Archives Blu-Ray preview by Shittyhorse:
I, for one, cannot wait for the parcel containing Neil Young Archives Vol.1 1963-1972 to land on my doorstep. My wife already knows I will be locked in our office for a few days digging through the Archives. While it's true most of us already own a lot of this music already, the idea of a collection such as this is what appeals to me and the music is only one part of it (yes, a big part) there is also the photos, information, history, film, book etc. etc.

I love the fact that this was a labor of love done by Young himself....not some postmortem cash-cow done by relatives, benefactors and record company clowns. Neil's fingerprints are all over this box and if you take a look at many other box sets; while the music is by the artist the whole package is missing a kind of mark by the artist. I find that all the great artists create their own universe, a creation all their own that is undeniably theirs. You look at a t-shirt, an album cover and without reading the name you know who the artist is. There are certain symbols, slogans, lettering, etc. that Neil Young uses… I see a buffalo and it reminds me of Neil Young (or Hunter S. Thompson) and we all know Neil’s handwritten scrawl, a Native American symbol, a ragged worn object, or a grainy photo.

As was the case with Nirvana. Kurt Cobain oversaw EVERYTHING Nirvana so that it met his approval. Kurt understood art and image and he wanted to make sure Nirvana had an image. When I think Nirvana I connect specific images to that band: a fetus, that font, mangled dolls, flowers…etc. Kurt Cobain was Nirvana and all those things we connect to them were intentional. That is part of creating a look, style and brand, it’s memorable. Now, look at the Nirvana box set “With The Lights Out”. If you’re a fan you know; the music is fantastic but the package is lacking (as was their greatest hits honestly) Kurt’s artistic touch. The big picture of Kurt and the band in suits, all the black and the inside cover that you touch and the heat from your hands lightens the page? God what is that?! Even the title is horrible, the most uncreative thing; Kurt would have never; in a million years stand for that package being released to his fans.

Kurt Cobain was an art student and later an artist and his stamp is so sadly lacking from this box set….his band, his career all stuffed into a poorly thought-out rip off.

With Neil Young Archives we have a collection of songs in a multi-media project…the likes of which we’ve never seen. I hate to say it again but this IS a living-breathing thing here. From the preview disc we can tell Neil Young has been here. This is his (and Joel Bernstein’s) baby. I keep reading all these folk’s complaining about how they don’t need another copy of ‘Cowgirl’ or ‘Down by the River’. Well I’m glad those tunes are on there because I don’t need a HUGE set of ALL outtakes i.e. The Beatles Anthology. (There is a reason they are called outtakes by the way) The Beatles project is very interesting only BECAUSE it’s THE BEATLES! But let me tell you I’ve listened to those things maybe once all the way through…enjoyed in enough and now they collect dust. I now put on ‘Abby Road’ the album or ‘Revolver’ because, quite frankly, they were done better then! Not the outtakes.

People will always find a million things to complain about when it comes to Neil Young because that is the kind of artist he is; weird enough that wonder what he’ll do next and frustrating enough to keep it interesting. It’s that way for his every project, album, live show. That’s a big reason why we love him and we keep coming back from more but also the MUSIC!

Listen some of use don’t like Oreo Cookies but do we blog about why we don’t? The archives may not be for everyone and I think Neil knew that going into it. But don’t try to bring the 96% of us who can’t wait for it down.

As for me, when that big box comes in the mail, I’ll hunker down for a week with some beers, roll a few numbers and take a fanatic trip into the Archives.

Thanks SH!

More on Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About The Neil Young Archives But Were Afraid To Ask.


At 5/24/2009 07:38:00 PM, Anonymous dr dip said...

Shitty, as I've said before...You always Nail it!


At 5/24/2009 10:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(I'm only doing this anonymous because I cannot for the life of me figure out what my google password is, and sexybeast78 does not work)

Right on man. I know exactly what you mean about Neil's big picture. It was the same way for Frank Zappa, and at least his family is trying to maintain his original integrity (I'm sure there is way more than 4% negativity in the Zappa camp).

I too find myself listening to the studio albums of my favourite bands way more than the compilations or the umpteen thousand concert recordings I've scoured the internet for. I would be shocked if someone's outtakes were better than their best released songs. People don't leave their gold in the vault. I've read lots about people wishing he had put out Homegrown back in the day, but then we wouldn't have had Tonight's the Night (if the listening party legend is true). Think about that for a minute.

And though, I'm going to have to wait for a bit until I can afford the Archives, a BR player and an HDTV (where the hell are my priorities), when I do eventually sit down to take it all it, I'm hoping to have a wonderful experience.

Neal Burgess

At 5/24/2009 10:30:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I have spent the day going through the DVD version of Archives and it is stellar in every way.

Sure, I wish there was more bonus content or unreleased material, but it is a pretty phenomenal box as is.

The attention to detail is astounding.

At 5/24/2009 11:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with most everything you said except that people don't leave gold in the vault ... actually I generally agree with that too, but Neil might be the exception ... Massey Hall and 'Sugar Mountain' from Ann Arbor are about as close to gold as you can get ... given's Neil's constant pursuit of new projects and his proclivity to leaving almost done albums and projects behind (Chrome Dreams) I'm thinkin' there might be some gold buried under (or inside) of that barn ... If AG is right maybe we'll see some of it show up in the ongoing performance series and in Archives series II ... in addition to what's coming on Archives I.

At 5/25/2009 12:52:00 AM, Blogger Sigma6 said...

kerouack, how did you get yours already?

At 5/25/2009 05:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i should have mine on thursday...i have the preveiw disc on is pretty lovely..i want to know if their is going to be anymore material on disc the box??or is it exactly the same as the preview disc?? i do feel very weird about the fact that there are so many songs left off..its almost perfect so it seems strange to leave those springfeild etc tracks off

At 5/25/2009 11:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Young wrote a timely song about the 96-percenters....

"Why Do I Keep Sucking Up?"

It is slated to be released on Vol 3 of The Archives, but don't hold your breath.

Shakey Neil is hording all the good ones, and re-releasing all the old retreads, time and time again.

Archives my a$$!

Cough Up The Bucks!!!

Johnny Rocket!!

At 5/25/2009 12:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barney Hoskyns wrote a long piece about the Archives on his Rocksackpages wedbsite at

First two paragraphs:
Young certainly doesn't hide much in this 10-disc monument to himself, which after all is only the first of several pyramids this rock pharaoh is assembling to enshrine his artistic legacy. No outtake, no scrap of scrawled lyrics, has been left unturned in the effort to encapsulate the Canadian's 50-year career.

Many diehard Neil Nuts had begun to wonder if the Archives would ever become a reality, so long have they been promised, postponed, rescheduled. Now the first instalment is here, is disappointment inevitable? Actually, no. Tailor-made for the boxset culture that Dadrock has become, this exhaustive project is simply the most breathtaking retro-fest of recordings, photographs, video footage, press cuttings and other artefacts ever constructed. Suffice to say that Neil Nuts could lose several weeks of their lives in the multi-layered, omni-navigational experience it offers (particularly after they've figured out the slew of cunningly "hidden" features available in the sections marked "MORE").

At 5/25/2009 08:53:00 PM, Anonymous dr dip said...

Johnny, if you keep coughin' up as much as you have been, your gunna need a lung transplant..And I know just the doc that can do it for ya!

Although success rate is only at 4% I'm afraid...does that percentage sound familiar?

At 5/25/2009 08:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The notion that Neil is "holding out" on unreleased tunes on this box set is a statement made without any thought or common sense! Why would an artist, who is just starting out, write a Fantastic SONG and then put it on a shelf? They wouldnt and it didn't happen! The closest Neil got to that was not putting a song on album because he didn't like the take or wanted to work out some things Birds, LA, Dance, Dance, Dance,...but the were released one why or another. I would say the bulk on the unreleased tunes will be on the next two sets....when Neil was writing VERY personal Material and then shelving it or re-working it. Use your brain man...this set wont be a HUGE money Maker!

At 5/26/2009 07:05:00 AM, Blogger Mick said...

Like your suggestion Dip , and would assist in the operation, but skills are limited and tend to be clumsy.

There will ne no money made on the bluray set. The cost of development of new technology would ensure that, but also the ongoing cost to maintain the BD live functionality. Cost of Servers, maintenance, support staff to keep this up and running years on end and with no additional money being received to pay for this. Sure we pay our Internet providers for data , but NY sees none of that. Its a myth that bluray version is ripping consumers off .



At 6/03/2009 12:40:00 PM, Blogger dbs1972 said...

Can anyone tell me where the hidden tracks might be found on the DVD set?
In particular, "I've Loved Her For So Long" on the Topanga #2 disc.
Thanks! ~Helpless


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