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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Poll: Favorite Neil Young Studio Album of 21st Century

Quite a bit of discussion lately over on the Rust List regarding folks favorite Neil Young release in the 21st Century/The Zero's.

Of course everyone has their favorites and those they can pass on. Eventually, Karen put together a poll on streamland to put the question out there. Karen's poll included all of Neil's 21st century output -- studio and non-studio.

Surprisingly -- or not so surprisingly - The Archives came in first place.

So we thought we might try this from a different angle and just include studio releases since 2000.

Rock the vote!

ps - drop a comment below letting folks know why you voted for your selection.

UPDATE: Results and discussion of Poll for Favorite Neil Young Studio Album of 21st Century
Comment of the Moment: Poll Results for Favorite Neil Young Studio Zero's Album

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At 1/12/2010 04:59:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

Does Trey play on any of these albums?Coz there seems to be something phishy goin' on here!


At 1/12/2010 05:50:00 AM, Anonymous Luke said...

I Voted for Chrome dremas II because of Spirit Road, No Hidden Path, Boxcar and The WAy ( one of the most beautiful songs ever) !!!

At 1/12/2010 05:50:00 AM, Blogger Harm said...

As a contemporary piece of art, Living With War is probably the best one out of all these, but in the long run it will be Greendale that will be remembered. No matter which way you look at it, you will have to agree that, as a concept album, which touches on many societal aspects, such as environmental issues, it is right up there with albums like Pink Floyd's The Wall and The Who's Tommy. It's also one of the more focussed efforts of Neil in the 00's, after all, it came with a book, live concert series and even a movie! Perhaps even more than Living with War, Greendale is quintessentially Neil: when he started performing his new (unreleased) material on the road, people were just as surprised/angry as they were in his heyday when he gave the songs form Harvest, Time Fades Away and Tonight's the Night the same treatment. Greendale is not merely and album, it's a full blown art project, and for that reason it's his greatest achievement in the last decade and one of the greatest in his career.

At 1/12/2010 07:37:00 AM, Anonymous Deborah said...

I loved them all, except I had to pick one, so it was Siver & Gold for me...Greendale came second, Prairie Wind and Chrome Dreams tie for second as well...

At 1/12/2010 07:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is that 2000 fell in the 20th Century, not the 21st... so no Silver and Gold for you. -- Internet Pedant

At 1/12/2010 07:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tough choice, but Chrome Dreams II wins it, but only just.

No Hidden Path is one of the greatest songs Neil has ever written.


Davie from Scotland

At 1/12/2010 08:07:00 AM, Anonymous Feathersfall said...

Fork In The Road was the best driving album in years. It would be better in LincVolt of course - and greener!

At 1/12/2010 08:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I voted for Greendale. I thought the two live concerts that I went to in Toronto were great, Loved the music on the CD, The DVD movies 'Inside Greendale' 'Greendale the film' 'Live at Vicar', all of them were so cool! We got to see another side of Neil with his Greendale project and I loved it all! 'LINCVOLT in T.O.'

At 1/12/2010 08:50:00 AM, Anonymous Donal Murphy said...

I voted for "Living With War", Neil really went on a limb with this one. No one else did anything like this or sang anti war sentiment in such a direct way. I applaud him for that. It was of it's time, and will date quickly as it's hard to replicate the feelings around at the time. These songs were only toured once and we will probably never again, hear them live. It was the album Neil had to do.

"Greendale" was my real favourite, but Living With War gets my vote as the message was, well, potent.

At 1/12/2010 09:24:00 AM, Anonymous SONY said...

You polled for 'favorite' which I voted for Silver and Gold. But the one the hit me the hardest was Living With War. That thing grabbed me and shook me and didn't let me go for about 2 months. I hate war. I hate hate. I hate necessary evils which I think war is. But when the guy is coming at you with his hate clenched in his actions you either fight or die. Even that part sucks. Anyhow, I'm glad that with mother nature on the run in the 21st century we still have uncle Neil to help us along. Long Live Neil Young and his music.

At 1/12/2010 09:25:00 AM, Blogger Burnzy said...

Personally, it's a close call between GREENDALE and CHROME DREAMS II. Nevertheless, I have chosen CHROME DREAMS II but I still feel quite torn. These two albums are above and beyond Neil's other studio releases of the 21st century. Both are undeniably fantastic pieces of art and rank alongside some of the best work of Neil's career.

GREENDALE is a more important and culturally relevant album, whilst CHROME DREAMS II is an incredible joy to listen to.

At 1/12/2010 10:14:00 AM, Blogger J said...

This was a tough one....thankfully it wasn't all of Neil's work! While Silver & Gold & Prarie Wind are so so special, Chrome Dreams had overwhelming adavantages for me personally ~ No Hidden Path (words don't really come close)Spirit Road & Shinning Light....shed your light all around me ~ what can i bring to you to stand in your glow.....this is what it's all about....pure love

At 1/12/2010 11:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prairie Wind, I think, gets short-changed because it didn't have a tour associated with (but it does have a great concert movie). He doesn't play those songs in concert either.

If I were to put together a single 2000's album from the pieces, it would be:

No Hidden Path
Spirit Road
Here for You
Goin' Home
Restless Consumer
After the Garden
Razor Love
Be the Rain
When Worlds Collide
Light a Candle
It's a Dream
No Wonder
Let's Roll

Just my opinion, and in no special order. That would make a fine album in any decade.

Old Black

At 1/12/2010 11:46:00 AM, Blogger stake241 said...

This is a difficult call... Best sounding album, best songs, most consistent from front to back, most passionate. I chose Greendale, and was surprised that most of you did. I think it's a brilliant group of songs, and live, absolutely incredible show..I saw it twice. But i must say, it's a crap sounding record, and I love Neil's hack job recording, I really do. The drums sound beyond bad... you almost have to work on it to make drums sound that bad. Take those songs from the MSG show from 2003 or the Mullins Centre show in Amherst MA, that I saw and put that out.

At 1/12/2010 12:01:00 PM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

By the way everything from Neil is good, but I voted for Silver & Gold because I've waited for four years for this record.Furthermore, It's a very crafted and well conceived record.

Andrea." So Tired"

At 1/12/2010 12:08:00 PM, Blogger stake241 said...

Does anybody have any info on a Trunk Show release to theatre or DVD?

At 1/12/2010 01:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These albums are cool, but there's no masterpiece susch as Sleeps with Angels in the 90's.

At 1/12/2010 01:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Greendale' is the best album since 'Rust never sleeps'.

At 1/12/2010 01:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greendale is really cool, but at last a little bit boring. The last great masterpiece is Sleeps w Angels. That's why we need the entire Horse.

At 1/12/2010 01:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Among all these Neil Young albums of 21st Century, the best songs are 'Be The Rain' 'Sun Green' and 'Ordinary People'.

At 1/12/2010 01:44:00 PM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

I picked Fork in the Road, primarily because it's an awesome sounding album with extremely strong material on it. I believe the material on FITR is stronger than Greendale, even if it doesn't have that overarching concept/story that made GD so special.

Everything from the mix to the songwriting, the guitar playing, etc. on FITR just works for me.

A lot of people dismiss this album, but I think they'll eventually come around - just give it some time and a bunch of spins and it'll start opening up to you.

I voted for Living with War in the original poll, because it's the most socially important album he's done in the 00's. But FITR is just getting short-shrift, and it shouldn't be.

I also agree with anon 2:20 - Sleeps with Angels is most definitely a masterpiece that hasn't quite had a successor in the 00's.

At 1/12/2010 01:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best song from album 'Sleeps With Angels' is 'My Heart'. The next one is 'Change Your Mind'.

At 1/12/2010 02:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Sun green' and 'Be The Rain' are the best songs since 'Hey Hey My MY' and 'Rocking in The Free World'.

At 1/12/2010 02:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got to go with "Greendale". Nothing by any artist in the last 20 (or more) years has spent as much time in my CD player. I think this one will go down as one of Neil's masterpieces. This is the one that my wife finally "got". She came home one day and asked me " who's Lenore?" Awesome!

One of eleven thousand

At 1/12/2010 02:32:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Whoa, I feel like someone has just handed me a box of chocolates with all my favourites in it!

I've gotta agree with ol Black
I'd like to make it "the best compilation album" of songs from all these albums..I don't think I've made a harder decision since getting married!!

Geez ya gotta throw in "No hidden path", "be the rain"
spirit road, Just singin a song..
Wait a minute..what about Ordinary People and Light a candle...
Can't I put my dot in a few spots!
Pleeeaase! lol

Trouble is a lot of these studio recordings sound soo much different live and raw..and are my Faves!

This is a dilemma!!


At 1/12/2010 02:33:00 PM, Blogger stake241 said...

I agree with Mathew...
I aid greendale was the best but not from a sonic point of view. FITR is by far the best sounding electric record neil has put out in a long time. This is why I love Neil... amazing tunes and concept (greendale) worst stinkin sounding record. and then he pulls out FITR and people bach it or ignore it and it's actually abrilliant soundscape with SOME great tunes

At 1/12/2010 02:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Chrome Dreams II - 2008
2. Greendale - 2003

T3.Prairie Wind - 2005
T3.Silver & Gold - 2000

5. Fork in the Road - 2009

6. Living With War - 2006

7. Are You Passionate?-2002

Favorites and rankings are nebulous because they change over time, but for now I'd rank them as above (gaps indicate closeness of ranking).

Greendale might actually be a stronger "album" taken as a whole but I prefer the songs and performances on CDII. PW and S&G are both solid albums but just don't have the "grabbers" to rise above the middle. I think my bottom 3 will always remain the bottom 3 and in that order. To be brutally honest. They'd be at or near the bottom of my list for all time (LOW might give AYP a run for least favorite).

At 1/12/2010 03:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think "Greendale" is the best and it was absolutely the right choice for Poncho not to play. The sound is so lazy and minimal - a really consistent piece of work. I love "Fork In The Road" too - just a great rock'n'roll noise.

At 1/12/2010 03:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me it was close between FITR and Greendale.I think it was Greendale at The Vic that tipped the scales."Carmichael you asshole."

Rancho Relaxo

At 1/12/2010 03:28:00 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

I voted Greendale (this despite playing "Good to see you" at my wedding reception). The reason simply being that I've played it more than any of the other albums in the 2000's.
On the other hand I've not really had as much time to listen to music since then and I do love parts of CDII.

BTW Does anyone else find that by playing Neil's songs yourself on the guitar you can turn an OK album into a much loved one. This is how I fell in love with Harvest Moon.

At 1/12/2010 03:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Living With War - 2006
2. Silver & Gold - 2000

3. Fork in the Road - 2009

4. Chrome Dreams II - 2008
4. Prairie Wind - 2005
4. Greendale - 2003
4. Are You Passionate?-2002

If picking one great songs on each album:
1. The Restless Consumer
2. Razor Love
3. Fork In the Road
4. Ordinary People
5. It's a Dream
6. Be the Rain
7. Goin' Home


At 1/12/2010 04:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hard decision as I love all of these albums for different reasons and at different times, but in the end it had to be Greendale because of the sheer breadth of vision and originality. It contains so much of what I love about Neil - passion, integrity, truthfulness,story-telling, humour, and most of all, great songs! I just can`t imagine any other artist today coming up with such a concept.

I`ve tried to rate the other albums but couldn`t, although PW has a special place in my heart and is such a fine album, FITR rocks, CDll has the amazing No Hidden Path, LWW was such a bold and necessary statement and an album I keep going back to, AYP has Going Home and Let`s Roll, and SAG has the beautiful Razor Love, etc, etc, etc.

I play these songs because I love the man!


At 1/12/2010 04:55:00 PM, Anonymous Dayton Dave said...

I want to know what the 19 people who voted for "Are You Passionate" were smoking.

That ranks as one of the worst NY albums of theem all.

At 1/12/2010 04:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goin Home is the last masterpiece song. Guess who plays ? The HORSE.

At 1/12/2010 05:39:00 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Tough choice, but Living with War made my number one. I don't listen to it much now but when it came out in 2006 it kicked so much ass.

My top 3:

1. Living With War
2. Greendale
3. Silver & Gold

At 1/12/2010 05:48:00 PM, Anonymous Thos said...


So after all the hate shown to the 4% club, now we can see that actually those who were raving about how great 'Fork in the Road' is are the 3% club! (at the time of writing).

I personally think 'Fork in the Road' is mainly filler, on a par with 'Re-ac-tor' which I rate as fun but not worth much airtime.

For me it is: Greendale, Chrome Dreams II, LWW.


At 1/12/2010 05:54:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Well, this is the beauty of being a Neil Fan.
Everyone is so diverse in their taste and we're only talkin' from the start of the new century. Imagine if we didn't limit the years..this could be the longest running thread of all time!


P.s. I still can't Choose!!!!

At 1/12/2010 06:30:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...


Let's get one thing straight once and for all about the 4% Club.

We don't hate the 4%'rs for their opinions. Differences are cool.

We hate their tone, belligerence, repetitious snark and sanctimonious hypocrisy.


At 1/12/2010 06:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanna smoke with the 19 people mentioned above

- Not Rotten Johnny

At 1/12/2010 07:16:00 PM, Anonymous J Neo Marvin said...

I picked Greendale, even though I don't actually have the album and have never listened without the DVD. Still can't get "Carmichael" out of my head when I think about it, nonetheless. The final lyric is devastating.

If "Chrome Dreams II" had consisted entirely of a 50 minute version of "Ordinary People", it might have had the edge in my book. But that's just me...

At 1/12/2010 07:46:00 PM, Anonymous Smoke gets in yer eyes said...

Years and years ago I was so into
putting my favorite vinyl recordings onto cassette tape. I still have most of them!
With the CD format and MP3 (yech!) and knowing most of us have all of Neils' releases on CD, we can burn our own collection of favorite songs, which I do.
I am also going to burn a CD of the least appreciated Neil songs too so I don't lose "That Ditch Feeling".
Hey! I think I'll call it that!
Where's my sharpie at?

At 1/12/2010 08:00:00 PM, Anonymous expecting2fly said...

Looking at the poll results, I'm aghast that Are You Passionate? has not yet received very many votes. I haven't yet voted. I'm leaning toward Greendale but AYP? is one album that has a lot going for it. The songs Differently and Quit are quite soulful and worthy of Booker T's participation. She's A Healer is just amazing. I really like the grizzly-voiced Mr Disappointment. Let's Roll is I guess maybe just so-so as a song but I think it's one of the first pieces of art that pays homage to the hero passengers that prevented another major terrorist strike to the U.S. Plus, it has an very good guitar solo. I think it's a solid album.


At 1/12/2010 09:26:00 PM, Anonymous BigChief said...

To me, it was a close race between Silver & Gold and Greendale. S&G isn't even near a favorite of mine, however 'Distant Camera','Razor Love',& 'Without Rings' were worth the price of the C.D. even if they were the only tracks included.I've grown fonder of 'Greendale' of late, sort of an aquired taste ... only wish I had been more familiar with the tunes prior to seeing it performed live twice. Those concerts were more of an event, sort of like 'Tonights The Night' under appreciated and misunderstood at the time, but now a "wished I could have been there" moment in time of Neils creative brilliance where you just can't go back!

At 1/13/2010 03:40:00 AM, Anonymous Thos said...

Hi Thrasher.

Fair point.

I certainly don't support the 4%ers or their nastiness, I just find it interesting that (at the time) everyone argued agains the 4%ers saying that 'Fork in the Road' was as good and as vital as 'Living With War' and 'Greendale' - which in retrospect, it clearly isn't!

However, as far as I'm concerned Neil can do whatever he likes, and it was certainly nice to see him having a laugh with the music videos for it.

Wonder what he'll do next!


At 1/13/2010 05:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CDII for No Hidden Path, especially in DVD Audio! - Boxcar and Spirit Road also stand out (can't wait to hear the Trunk Show version, saw the CT show and Spirit Road came alive in concert). Loved the photomontage video too.

I love "Ol' Black's" 00's compilation list, just toss BOXCAR into the playlist and you've about nailed it.

I was happily re-discovering Greendale solo live recently and it's really quite a lovely telling of the story.

old sound man

At 1/13/2010 06:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im sure that the best album from this 10 years is Toast. That's the Horse sound !

At 1/13/2010 07:55:00 AM, Anonymous look out joe said...

Living with war was such an in your face response to the bill of goods we'd been sold vis a vie the Iraq War. Neil pretty much articulated what a lot of us were feeling, and he said it during a time when a lot of folks weren't speaking out. Though not as lyrical as Ohio, Southern Man or After the Goldrush, it was powerful. Anti Bush policy, pro troops, pro veterans, anti war profiteer. It was the most patriotic album Iv'e ever heard.

At 1/13/2010 08:47:00 AM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...


Try incredibly well-arranged and thoughtfully constructed soundscapes of pure rock fury!

When Worlds Collide is one of the most original, complex and interesting songs Neil has written in quite some time, IMO.

There's a level of experimentation on this album that I think transcends Greendale or LWW.

But all that aside...

You know what I'd like to see? Ask people to pick their 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th choices and get a best-of list that way. Like instant-runoff voting. I bet some of the bottom albums rise in the rankings if people can choose them as their number 2 or 3... in any case, I bet the whole list comes out different that way. It would be interesting to see.

At 1/13/2010 04:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best Album of this lot, hands down, it's Silver and Gold - most polished, accomplished, introspective and immediate. The Great Divide is astounding... Razor Love is amazing... Silver & Gold is timeless... And Distant Photograph has be balled up in tears. And, to top it off, Buffalo Springfield Again is nostalgic. So, I say S&G as #1 - second choice would probably be Greendale, since Grandpa's Interview, Sun Green and Be the Rain are so strong...

At 1/14/2010 03:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Going Home' is the best song from album 'Are You Passonate'. I have seen CSNY playing this song in their concerts of "American Tour" of 2002 in Canada.

At 2/10/2010 08:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Greendale
2. Are You Passionate?
3. Living With War
4. Fork in the Road
5. Prairie Wind
6. Silver & Gold

...haven't heard Chrome Dreams yet

At 4/19/2010 01:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that Prairie Wind didn't place higher in the polling. I find it to be one of Neil's most heartfely albums and it's always a pleasure to hear him acompanied by Emmylou Harris. "This Old Guitar" alone makes it worth the price of admission.
S.P. in K-Town

At 4/19/2010 01:21:00 AM, Anonymous Scot said...

Going all the way back to the Buffalo Springfield days I've never heard a bad Neil Young album but having to pick a favorite from this decade it has to be "Prairie Wind". "Falling Off The Face Of The Earth" and "This Old Guitar" are among the best songs he has ever written. I believe the elegant simplicity of the album causes some people to overlook it.

At 10/10/2010 02:06:00 AM, Blogger Ian said...

For me, the best one is Chrome Dreams II. Lots of different styles, and I love almost all of the songs. Silver and Gold is very consistent, and Are You Passionate has some great ones too. The others are all very admirable for different reasons, and have some great songs, but I don't play them very often.


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