Review: The Neil Young Archives Vol 1 (1963-1972)
The Ark of the Covenant:
The Neil Young Archives Vol 1 (1963-1972)
It's been almost 2 months now since the Neil Young Archives Vol. 1 (1963-1972) was released.
We thought it best to do a review justice only once we had gone through nearly every song, menu, easter egg, hidden track and feature. And yet, we're still absorbing it with even more to go.
Putting this review together has been a challenge. Over the years, we've covered this project fairly comprehensively. We've had all sorts of labels for The Archives like "legendary", "mythical", "Holy Grail", "Arc of the Covenant", "sign of the apocalypse", etc. All of which do little to describe The Archives experience.
So we'll just start where it matters: the music.
It's pristine. It's revelatory. It's a sonic bonanza. It is a digital wall of sound with analog warmth. And that's the just our impression of the music quality alone.
And the songs? Placed from one end of 1963 back to back through 1972, we hear a literal chronology of Neil Young's music evolving from his critical early career phase when he went from small town high school gigs all the way to #1 on the charts with "Heart of Gold". Simply put, the career arc of Volume #1 is astonishing to listen to over the course of the 10 discs.
Neil Young - Sept 10, 1971
Boxset Photo by Joel Bernstein
With that said, there has been a bewildering amount of criticism registered on this blog of The Archives' music which we can not begin to fathom from our undeniably biased perspective. If it is all about the music, then can someone care to explain how the 24-bit, 96kHz digital audio resolution played on a Bluray system is somehow inadequate? Can anyone point to ANY release ever that has ever sounded better sonically?
We raise the sound quality issue because we hear folks talk about the Archives in the same context as the rarities compilations like Archives Be Damned, Perfect Echo or Rock-n-Roll Cowboy. Hey, we've had these fan tapes and bootlegs for years now and frankly could not wait to replace their hiss, flutter and murkiness with a sound quality that did the music justice. And the same goes for our dearly beloved old vinyl. We'll be the first to admit that our nearly 40 year old vinyl of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere has seen better days. And, no, we never "upgraded" our vinyl to CD.
And then there is the selection of the music tracks themselves on The Archives that some seem to have a problem with. Too much of this. Not enough of that. Where's this? Why isn't this on it? I already have these songs already.
To which we say a) no, you don't have these songs already in 24/192 audio @ 9216 kilobits per second (which is ~6.5 times as much data as found on CDs @ 1411 kilobits per second and 20-50+ times the bit rate of MP3's). And, frankly, don't get us started on this MP3 business. The Archives was never intended as a low-fi MP3 experience and any discussion about it is a moot point entirely in this regard.
Back to the track selection issue. This all comes back to Neil's vision and whatever that might be. For us, laying out the career chronologically works. Yes, there are missing critical tracks like Harvest's "Out on the Weekend". Regarding the whole subject of "missing" tracks, we think folks should just wait and see how the whole BD Live download thing works out. We've got faith that a lot of holes will be filled in the coming years.
So that's just the subject of the music itself which so many critics see as paramount to the whole Archives project. And we don't disagree that it's all about the music. So you have unsurpassed sound quality and rarities like the Comrie Smith tapes and the Riverboat concert that even the most hard core collectors have never even heard before. So what's the problem?
OK, so we ended up with some extras like Sugar Mountain, The Fillmore and Massey hall that we had already. Our take on this is that we could have waited several more years until Volume #1 came out before hearing. But we were happy to have sooner and now have some freebies to give away. And we only had the CD versions before so now we have BD editions, so no again on are we getting the exact same thing twice.
Well, enough about the music. Let's talk about the box, the package, the book, the poster, the MP3 download card, the little handwritten note from Neil for you. We found our little box at the top of the stairs to all be quite flawless and exactly as advertised. Sure, getting the BDs out of the box was a little tight and we had to shake it for 10 seconds but give us a break. And getting the BDs back in the box? We don't know because we haven't tried to put them away as of yet. Ask us in a few years.
So onto the Archives video, easter eggs, hidden tracks, & memorabilia stuff. A couple of points. It is our understanding that the vision for The Archives came about in the late 1980's, i.e. pre-internet. Neil wanted something that folks could listen to while navigating around lyrics, photos, and memorabilia. Now we don't know about you, but if someone explained this to us in 1989 we'd have a hard time getting our head around how the technical vision would work. Well it took about 20 years for the technology to catch up with Neil's vision. In the meantime, something called the internet came along which does make the navigation of Bluray seem a little old school. But hey, we've got a Sony PS-3 and all the gamer kids seem to be just fine with the console. Not being a gamer ourself, it take us a little while to get the hang of it but once we did we can say that the PS-3 console is a far superior navigation tool than a DVD remote control.
NYA Disc #1 Back Cover
Regarding the knock on visuals. What were folks expecting for a period of 63-72? Concert footage of The Buffalo Springfield and the Mynah Byrds?! We're not sure where some expectations came from but to think that there would be a ton of great video on NYA V#1 is just plain unrealistic. Now with that said, we found the footage of the recording of "A Man Needs A Maid" with the London Symphony Orchestra to be absolutely priceless. And the Harvest barn sessions with a "young" Ben Keith on peddle steel to be revelatory. Or how about the interview behind the barn with Neil lying in a field on his ranch trying to figure out what it all means? We've never seen any of this before and found it to be utterly fascinatingly insightful.
So what about those spinning records and reel to reel visual wallpaper? Here's where we stand on this. It takes us back to the day when the visual for music was a little black disc going around and around in circles. And that's exactly the ambiance that these visuals conjure. We know. Boring. Which misses the point entirely. In today's hyper twittering manic world, the thought of just turning down the lights, popping a cool one, and just zoning out to the music just doesn't seem to occur to folks. So if it's all about the music, then why do folks complain about MP3's for their iPods that they can listen to while they commute, shop, etc.?
We don't know about you, but our sense is that the MP3 ipod phenomenon is NOT all about the music. It's something that goes in one's ears while doing something else. And that's exactly what NYA is NOT all about. NYA was designed to be an all encompassing musical experience. Something you listen to, watch, and interact with solely. Not something to listen to while you're chatting, texting, biking, running, walking.
Some folks get it. Some folks don't. Walk on.
And then there was the whole price thing. Well, we've been waiting 20+ years so if you put a quarter in a jar every day you'd probably have had enough for the boxset, the Bluray player, a flat screen, and surround sound system. It's only fuckin' money for god's sake.
But you know what? Who cares what we think. That's just us.
So how about those fans? What do they think?
Here's Zak Claxton: Neil Young Archives Vol. 1 -- Review:
"This is a serious retrospective from a guy who's been continually cranking out great music for well over 40 years. I knew it was going to be a great package, but I didn't know it would be this great."
From Winnipeg Free Press by lifelong fan John Einarson:
"Not even the most dedicated rustie — the nickname for Neil nuts — will be prepared for the staggering volume of information and memorabilia the rock icon has amassed in the long-anticipated multimedia autobiography Neil Young Archives Vol. 1: 1963-1972."
Or fan D.I. Kertis, who commented here :
Among the highlights:
- The entirety of Disc 0, 1963-65, especially the instrumentals, which show a whole different side to Neil (including the letters he mailed himself of his early compositions!) and the early versions of Sugar Mountain and Clancy, particularly the latter, as fine a take as any, perhaps better. (I don't care very much for the Springfield version; Furray shouldn't ever have sung that song.)
- Down, Down, Down; Slowly Burning (greatest Springfield outtake ever?), Sell Out, alternate Mr. Soul and the pristine-sounding Springfield recordings. I've longed to hear Broken Arrow that way for sometime. I also enjoyed the montage from the last Springfield show--one of those bonuses that really adds to the set's worth--and the various audio clips of Neil talking about the springfield, and especially the video in which Charles Green and Brian Stone are interviewed and the band shown at work in the studio.
- All the rare audio clips in general
- All the footage of Neil, Joel Bernstein, etc., putting the archives together.
- Down by the River on Music Scene
- DVD-quality Filmore East
- The stills, documents, memorabilia and such in the song files. There are some really great original drafts in there.
- The record sleeve for Stampede-- proving it did exist.
- The book, which provided not only more great photos and memorabilia, but a chart and very detailed information on each track in the Archives
- Alternate mixes of I've been Waiting for You and What did you do to my Life?
- Alternate Birds (2x)
- Alternate Everybody Knows this is nowhere.
- the Timeline in general
-Everything on the Massey Hall DVD
-The rare tracks from Riverboat
-Country Girl (really interesting track that gets forgotten a lot and sounds great here)
-Remastered Expecting to Fly (forgot to mention above-- really brings out the best of Jack Nitzche)
- Versions of Dance Dance Dance, the long Words (better than the original and in such great quality), a wholly superior restoration of Soldier
- finally getting to see Journey Through the Past, which is weird but entertaining
-All the video on North Country
-Superb remasters of the Harvest material
-Neil and Steve Stills play an interesting version of Mr. Soul
From LAist by Bobzilla :
"Among the contents are several tracks I have never heard in many years of obsessively seeking out Young’s music, along with a lot of others I have heard before, but in a fidelity that surpasses anything in my collection.
Yes, fellow Rusties, it was worth the wait.
There’s enough music here to last a normal person for years. Given that, the prices don’t seem so out of line anymore. It is, after all, the (nearly) complete early output of one of the greatest talents rock music has ever seen. And that's worth something."
1st night with Neil Young Archives by John R., New York
From Aquarium Drunkard:
"Here’s the thing about the first installment of Neil Young’s Archives project: only the obsessive will care, and with the (variable) price point, care enough to pony up the cash to purchase. This was never intended to appeal to the casual fan and/or newbie. Now that alone isn’t revelatory, but when one considers the amount of previously released material included, and how long the archives have been in the works (and repeatedly delayed), it is understandable how its release has come off as anti-climatic in some fan circles. Granted some of this derision is splitting hairs, but I also believe some of it is due to the information age we find ourselves in versus had the set been issued, say, 10-15 years ago. The enormous online proliferation of bootleg recordings and videos, and the relative ease of obtaining them, has in turn rendered the archives less essential. Not entirely de-fanged, mind you, but much less engaging than it would have been prior to YouTube, P2P, blogs, bit-torrent, etc.
So, with that caveat out of the way, let me slip in fan mode and state for the record that the (DVD version) is pretty fucking great. A notoriously uncompromising artist, Young has created an archival project grander in depth and scope than most anything seen before related to music. It’s obvious the curation of the set was painstakingly labored over with every attention paid to detail. Those who want to get their hands dirty in the minutiae of it all are sure to be kept entertained for days (weeks?) on end with never before seen photographs, old lyrics sheets, notes, concert footage and interviews. It is simply a massive undertaking."
Enough about how the fans feel. What about those "critics"? What do they think?
TONEAudio MAGAZINE's Bob Gendron says that The Archives: "defy expectation and transcend limitation". Gendron's rave review continues:
"And nowhere is that attribute more manifest than in the sonics. The warmth, richness, fullness, airiness, separation, body, extension, detail, intimacy, tonality, depth, dimensionality, clarity, and sheer life-like presence that these recordings convey defy expectation and transcend limitation. At every step, whether on 1965's "The Sultan" or a wowing, previously unheard 1971 version of "Dance Dance Dance" with Graham Nash, the sound is room-filling, balanced, natural, lively, and utterly engaging. Digital has never been better."
Over on Metacritic which compiles and ranks CDs from a wide cross section of sources, NYA has the top score of 93 out of 100 and is the highest rated release of 2009.
We guess that if the Bluray version sold out immediately, than somebody must've bought the thing.
But so what. Numbers add up to nothing.
The critics -- who usually sit alone -- seemed to be pretty ecstatic, as well.
Uncut Magazine's Archives Preview
From Goldmine by Peter Lindblad:
"A mammoth excavation project by any measure, Archives Vol. 1 (1963-1972) — the first in a hotly anticipated series of similar releases — isn’t so much a boxed set as it is a museum packed to the rafters with Neil Young artifacts and recordings.
As others have already said of the much-ballyhooed set, and they are right on the mark, these volumes will undoubtedly revolutionize the way record companies reissue the back catalogs of its most prominent artists. It’s absolutely staggering how much bonus material is included."
From The Huffington Post Mike Ragogna:
"We have to stop here because, quite frankly, words don't do it justice. If you like this artist, go buy this box. It will bring joy to your life for weeks since you will never get through it in your first few sittings. Despite scores of excellent, high concept, minutia-driven collections, or even Grammy-winning box sets released over the years by some of our greatest artists, and regardless of if you like or dislike the music of Neil Young, nothing comes close to what Archives achieved. And that's not an exaggeration. Let's just call this what it is--the best box set ever made. Surely, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, The Rolling Stones, and other musical icons deserve this treatment as well. Thanks to Archives, they just might get it."
From Blu-rayDefinition.comby Brandon DuHamel:
"It’s not just the high-resolution that makes the set sound as good as it does, but the obvious care and attention that have gone into the analogue restoration and analogue to digital transfers by John Nowland at His Master’s Wheels in Woodside, CA and digital editing and mastering by Tim Mulligan at Redwood Digital, also in Woodside, CA. One can rest assured that Neil Young, an ardent guardian of his legacy and outspoken commentator on the ills of modern digital sound quality, watched (or listened, as the case may be) over the proceedings diligently.
Archives is a set that falls way to the left of what has become the normal mode of operation for mastering techniques in the music industry today. The set screams “analogue” with every warm bass line and every moment of natural tape hiss that is allowed to bleed through. This collection has not been over-compressed or peak limited to sound loud; it has been allowed to breathe. There is a great sense of natural dynamics, air around the instruments, and smooth high frequencies. This is a collection that one can sit down and listen to at virtually any volume level without fear of ear fatigue."
From The Observer by Barney Hoskyns
This exhaustive project is the most impressive retro-fest of recordings, photographs, video footage and digitised memorabilia ever assembled.
From The New Yorker by Ben Greenman:
"To say that it’s mammoth is something of an understatement, like saying “Live Rust” is loud.
"There’s a paradox here. Earlier this year, on “Fork in the Road,” Young lamented economic pressures, self-centered thinking, and corporate greed; now he’s charging through the nose for the most self-aggrandizing product imaginable. But, as music becomes more and more difficult to monetize, the rock-and-roll world must grapple with new profit models. Young’s fusion of history and commerce may point the way out of the cul-de-sac. The question is how many artists will amass a body of work that rewards this kind of treatment. Here’s one, at least."
From The Allmusic Blog by Stephen Thomas Erlewine:
"Any project in the works for two decades is bound to generate its fair share of myths and so it is with Neil Young’s Archives, a series of a multi-disc box sets chronicling Young’s history. Originally envisioned in the late ’80s as a Decade II, the project quickly mutated into a monster covering every little corner of Neil’s career. With its escalation came delays, so many that it sometimes seemed that the project never really existed; it was just a shared fantasy between Neil and his faithful. During that long, long wait, fans held tight to the idea that Archives was a clearinghouse of rarities similar to Bob Dylan’s The Bootleg Series, a treasure trove of unreleased songs and epochal live performances that would trump whatever bootleggers had to offer. While rare and unheard music is certainly a key part of Archives, particularly on the first disc covering the pre-history of 1963-1965, viewing this project as merely a CD box set is wildly misleading. Neil Young has designed Archives as nothing less than an immersive multimedia autobiography, an interactive experience where the music, text, video, and pictures feed off each other, creating a virtual journey through Neil’s past.
This level of detail may suggest the one serious flaw in Archives: it cannot be taken casually. It demands complete, undivided attention, requiring users to dig as deep as they’d like, and it’s no stretch to say that it could take a week or two to discover everything here. Also, the set comes so tantalizingly close to being complete, it’s a major irritation to have one song lopped off of each the albums; surely, the extra storage space on DVD and BluRay could have allowed for complete runs of Everybody, Gold Rush, and Harvest. But really, these complaints feel churlish when faced with a box that is an embarrassment of riches, offering so much more than anybody could have imagined during that long, long wait. Not only was the wait worth it, Archives feels like it was 20 years in the making. It’s an extraordinary work that redefines what an autobiography can be.
From Popdose by Ken Shane:
"It goes without saying that if you’re a Neil Young fan, you have to have this, but it’s equally true that if you are interested in the course of American popular music in the last 40 years, this is an indispensable collection."From EYE WEEKLY BY Phil Dellio :
"First of all, about a third of Archives is drawn from the years 1969 and 1970; for me, Neil’s output during those 24 months (Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Gold Rush, “Helpless,” “Country Girl,” and “Ohio”) is matched only by what The Beatles and Dylan put out in ’65-’66, and the Massey Hall and Fillmore discs take you to the very epicenter of that singular moment of genius and mystery and vision.
Much as Decade was 30 years ago, Archives is the culmination of that side of him (the latest installment, anyway; more boxes are scheduled), and, faults and all, it chronicles an obsession well worth excavating."
From NPR Music by Will Hermes:
"To many, it'll all seem like overkill. But if you're like me, you'll waste hours with this stuff. Neil Young's Archives is definitely the new gold standard for artist anthologies, and I'm sure many will follow suit, since it's a cash-cow concept for an ailing industry. But few musicians have a body of work that deserves this kind of treatment. This guy definitely does."
From Sound & Vision Magazine by Mike Mettler:
“FUCK THE AUDIENCE.” So says Neil Young in one of the Easter eggs on Archives Vol. 1. This blunt point — made at his Broken Arrow Ranch during a video shoot for the Archives back in (yes) February 1997 — is critical to understanding this long-gestating passion project. Especially key is what Neil says next: “If I’m going to survive, they’re going to have to eat it.”
The Canadian-born, California-entrenched singer/songwriter has followed his muse down any and every rabbit hole he desires, embracing all genres and styles with the commitment of an artist willing to express his creativity in whatever form he chooses. The message: Join me or don’t; it doesn’t matter. I’m still going. But far from being an exercise in esoteric navel-gazing, Archives is the Holy Grail — a fine reward for the patience, understanding, and loyalty of his followers, and a truly comprehensive chronicle of the first phase of his epic career. From the evidence on Vol. 1, it’s a digital love letter to Neil Young fans, one that’s wholly worth the wait in ways heretofore only imagined.
From All About Jazz by Doug Collette:
"With the possible exception of Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home (Columbia, 1965) and Highway 61 Revisited (Columbia, 1965), there may be no rock of modern times with more clarity of purpose than Young's Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After The Gold Rush. Flush with confidence arising from his solo shows, the chance encounter and earthy spontaneous bonding with the California bar band Crazy Horse constitute symmetrical pillars of Young's career. The higher profile and more refined approach of Crosby Stills and Nash, to whom Young brought more than a modicum of idiosyncracy, seems in retrospect a patchwork of disparate elements never so seamless as Young and The Horse: their chemistry flourished both in the studio and on the stage.
There's as much to be said for the ringingly succinct version of “Cinnamon Girl” that begins Topanga 2, as the beautiful sprawl of “Cowgirl In The Sand” and “Down By The River” from Live At The Fillmore. In contrast, neither “Helpless” nor “Country Girl” have ever sounded more studied, especially as CSNY compare with the splendor of Young with Crazy Horse on Don Gibson's country standard “Oh Lonesome Me.” From the mournful harmonica that introduces the song's world-weary pace, to the vulnerable delivery in Young's voice, it's possible to feel the fragility of the moment in the lyrics and the musicians' capture of a truly collective moment.
As with Archives at large, the three discs comprising this flashpoint period in Young's career are sprinkled with rarities, including an excerpt from the performance at Woodstock in the form of the slight “Sea Of Madness,” and unreleased gems such as the Stray Gators version of “Journey Through The Past” that never made it on to Harvest, and rare gems of the time including “Bad Fog Of Loneliness” and “See The Sky About To Rain.”
Then as now, the level of Neil Young's prolific creative output is virtually impossible for even he to keep up with, which is why the release of The Neil Young Archives Vol. 1 generates as much if not more rumor, speculation and debate as it did during its repeated delays. Still, that sensation can't equal the level of fascination conjured up by the best of the music itself, which is haunting and cathartic, an effect that no doubt struck the artist as he assembled this package."
Wired By Steven Levy:
"When you follow an artist closely for many years, your own consciousness inevitably becomes intertwined with theirs, and sudden access to their personal vault of unreleased tunes, alternative mixes, and private paraphernalia is a bounty that requires a lot of unpacking. Archives drops you into the Neil Wide Web. At first I jumped from one gem to another. It thrilled me to hear gorgeous versions of tunes I'd experienced only on fuzzy bootlegs, to discover cheesy instrumentals from Young's high school band, and to view evocative items like the article his father (a well-known Canadian journalist) wrote after seeing his son play Carnegie Hall."
From Donald Gibson's blog:
"In a career as uncompromising as any in popular music, Neil Young has seldom sought the creative path of least resistance, instead yielding to the mystifying influence of his own muse. With unwavering conviction — believing that the best, most inspired works flow through, rather than from, one’s consciousness — Young is a rare figure in rock, one who is inextricably attuned to his art while, at times, shamelessly expressive of his most visceral and vulnerable emotions.
Long running on his own wavelength — and not just in the realm of music, incidentally — Young has produced a canon so prolific and singular that chronicling it has posed a host of problems, not least of them being its eventual scope and format. After years of false starts and thwarted expectations, though, the first installment of what promises to be a monumental undertaking has ultimately come to fruition."
The Holy Grail
From Rolling Stone by WILL HERMES:
"This 10-disc ultra-mega-anthology is like Geraldo's trip to Al Capone's vault if the gangsta had the smarts to retain librarians."
Audio Audition by Jeff Krow:
Besides Bob Dylan, no other single rock artist can match the recording output of the inimitable Neil Young. Young has gone through similar stages as Dylan, from pop singer to country and grunge electric rock. Like Dylan, Neil has a fervent fan base who has followed his journeys for over 40 years. Dylan’s output has been prodigious and he continues to tour and record. However, with the release of this mega Blu-ray 10 disc set, Archives, Vol. 1, Young has even outdone Dylan. Perhaps, it may be more appropriate to say that Neil WILL outdo Dylan in scope, as this edition of Archives covers only the first nine years of Neil Young’s recording career.
Sure, you can view it as an ego trip, but for those of us - myself included -who have followed Mr. Young into our nearing retirement phase of life, it is a chance to revisit our youth when listening to Neil made things feel “right,” and we felt in sharing his changes in musical taste that we too could change ourselves into whom we had hoped to be.
From Stuff.co.nz by Simon Sweetman:
"The stuff to salivate over is a solo acoustic See the Sky About To Rain - before it would end up in its recorded version within On The Beach's delights. And then there's the outtake Bad Fog Of Loneliness - excellent. You can also hear how Young repeats himself in an endearing way throughout his career; taking a guitar line, a familiar little lick, a percussive strum and turning it into the basis for more than one song. It's as if he goes back, listens to something he did, decides he likes that and goes 'that'll work again'. Here with Archives Vol. 1 he has done that with a whole bunch of his stuff. And I think we're pretty lucky to see the start of this roll out during his lifetime.
There's potentially volumes two, three and four to come - maybe a volume five - and who knows what else. Young will play it out until he's happy and could suddenly back away from the rest of this series. But I doubt it. And I like the idea of seeing/hearing his recorded life - the bits that tell the story - unfolding in a series of box sets. To think that in nine years Young could achieve more stylistic growth and diversity than so many people manage in careers three times that length means that there will definitely be some good things to look forward to in the future volumes. We fans know that already, from the best of his released material.
But hearing it correctly contextualised - for me - made it worth the price of admission.
Of course not everyone has been thrilled by NYA. Take for example our favorite commenter here Anonymous whose reaction seemed to sum up much of the hard-core fan carping and whining:
all i can say is i'm massively disappointed. I plopped down $323 bucks for the Archives, another $433 for a PlayStation3, and $15 for an HDMI cable....
i wish i could return everything and get my money back. To shell out nearly 800 bucks for something i'm not satisfied with gives me cramps.
there is so much material in the archives, it's a multimedia extravaganza....but maybe i'm old school, all i really care for is the music. Unreleased tracks and such.
For me, it's a pain to endlessly search around for nuggets on the BluRay discs. Searching for the hidden stuff is, well, stupid. It would be nice if you could play everything in a loop, and have slide shows pop up showing the photos.
I just dont have the energy or desire to navigate from one photo to the next, or searching for easter eggs etc.
I give Neil an awful lot of credit to pull this massive set together, it is impressive. Lots of blood, sweat and tears went into this, and he deserves props.
but for me - well, it's just not worth it.
i guarantee one thing - once the newness wears off, only a small percentage will consistently plop the BluRays in and search around day after day. Frankly, it gets boring.
In the end, the MP3's (or CDs) will get played.
after all, it's about the music.
boo-hoo. Thanks for your concern Anonymous but you spare us next time.
From The News Blimp who apparently the only thing negative they could think of was the cost:
But we honestly believe Neil Young’s over-the-top collection is one that could have remained on the shelves of his own personal library. Because in creating a tribute to himself…which he believes many will spend big bucks on…he’s actually succumbed to the same awkward, clueless embarrassment that other classic acts of the 70’s era like the Eagles and AC/DC created for themselves by selling CD’s only through socially wicked retailer Wal Mart.
Neil Young…like the Eagles and AC/DC…has forgotten who helped make him successfully famous…and rich.
Real people. The Woodstock Generation.
Unless there’s a realistic way for his true fans to enjoy Neil Young’s terrific life story…without having to miss meals and live without AC during the hot summer…as far as we’re concerned…he might as well skip the next few planned installments of “Archives”.
No one will be able to afford them…except rich guys like Neil Young.
From Neil Young Archives Blu-ray: Rip off? | The Audiophiliac - CNET News by Steve Guttenberg:
"Summing up, I can't recommend 'Neil Young Archives, Vol. 1: 1963-1972' on Blu-ray. If you really love Young, get the CD box. Then again, if Young really cared about his fans he'd ditch the filler and put out a killer two-disc set of just the unreleased stuff."
(Note the comments section for this review where Guttenberg is ripped as being totally clueless.)
From Neil Young Shows Gems, Indulgence on $350 Box Set: Bloomberg.com by Mark Beech:
"“Archives” isn’t an ideal introduction to Young. “Decade” covers his career up to the mid-1970s better. Still, “Archives” is the most technologically advanced box set yet.
The only really bad thing is how many other rich hippies will get the idea to rush-release their own “Archives.” Who’s next: Maybe the Grateful Dead, with a 50-volume offering and endless 40-minute versions of “Dark Star”?"
(A rather back handed compliment which we note that lots Dead-heads would really like to hear.)
And Neil Young Archives Blu-ray: Rip off? | The Audiophiliac - CNET News. blah-blah.
But enough of the naysayers. The haters. The doubters. The let it bring you downers. Mellow harshers. The 4% Clubbers.
From Young's Archives worth wait by Jordan Zivitz:
"As a career retrospective, Archives is without peer in its loving attention to detail and respect for Young's legacy."
Pitchfork by Stuart Berman:
"Taken individually, the reams of extras that accompany every track on the DVD/Blu-ray editions-- candid photos, original handwritten lyric sheets, radio-promo spots, newspaper clippings, tape-box doodles, and so on-- may not seem like a compelling reason to pony up for Archives' enhanced options. But cumulatively, they chart an evolution as intriguing as that heard in the songs.
Brian Eno was recently quoted as saying that if the practice of selling music in physical form is to continue, the emphasis will have to shift from the content to the form, to enable a unique user experience that can't be replicated with the click of a mouse. Archives constitutes a bold step towards this new paradigm, where the delivery system is as much in service to the supplemental materials as the music that ephemera serves to canonize."
From Uncut.co.uk by NEIL SPENCER:
"Archives bristles with much more – you’ll find, for example Young’s father’s review of his 1971 show – and it’s hard not to believe that Neil the tech-head has not laid down a template for all future retrospectives (one can imagine Dylan and McCartney, the only artists of comparable stature and longevity, paying close attention). There’s more, too much more, to come, but for now, Volume One will do just fine."
We'll just conclude by saying that we think that we'll be enjoying The Neil Young Archives Volume #1 for years to come -- or at least until Volume#2 is released. And that's good enough for us.
Be the Rain, Be the Change.
Be the Wheat.
And I've been waiting for you.
For such a long time now.
ps - Thanks to the folks at NY.org for all the links!
Also, see The Making of The Neil Young Archives.
Labels: neil young archives