The Americana-ness of Neil Young & Crazy Horse's Americana
Frank "Pancho" Sampedro, Bill Talbot, Ralph Molina
Musicares Honors Paul McCartney
Los Angeles, CA - 2/10/12
After what seems to have been a long couple of days here at TW, it would seem that we more fully appreciate the "Americana-ness" of Neil Young & Crazy Horse's Americana album.
So what the heck does that mean you might ask?
Well, if you've been following our comment threads lately, you might understand. If not, well, you may have saved yourself some time -- or depending on your point of view -- missed quite a bit of entertainment. Maybe it's just the summer heat that's getting to folks?
To summarize if just tuning in, last week we decontructed a rather harsh review of Americana on The Herald-Review by Tim Cain. The reviewer found Americana to be a "self parody because it is too rich, too perfect, too comical to be anything but a parody."
Some agreed with our take on the review and others did not. Fine. This was followed by our posting of an equal opportunity dissenting opinion (which we do indeed welcome), of a thoughtful, well considered rebuttal by Babbo.
So we included a poll asking if folks really thought that Americana "Drifts into Self Parody" of a Neil Young & Crazy Horse album?
And what did we find?
Interestingly, it seems that the majority think that no, Americana is not a "Self Parody" because it captures Neil Young & Crazy Horse in all of their raw, ragged glory. Between those who say Americana is not a "Self Parody" and those indifferent, it seems about 95% of folks are OK or neutral with Americana. Only 5% of voters thought Americana is a "Self Parody" because it is "too rich, too perfect, too comical to be anything but a parody." (Could this contingent be the dreaded "4% Club" that emerged after Fork in the Road? Let's hope not since they seem to be growing.)
[NOTE: If you're one of those numbers add up to nothin' types then just read these often heartfelt ordinary people comments on our Facebook page ThrashersWheatNeverSleeps (74).]
In other words, the poll results and positive comments seem to be fairly representative of the mythical "Americana" itself, i.e., passions on the extreme fringes of the Neil-love and Neil-hate camps are unrepresentative while it is the great middle ground of Neil-moderates who are the true silent majority. In other words, the Neil Young fan base is reflective of "Americana" itself where the discourse is dominated by the hype/wind/noise machines on the fringes which is unrepresentative of the true mainstream "Americana". And those mainstream or "ordinary Neil fans" have stood and been counted and they think Neil & The Horse's Americana is perfectly OK.
So where do we go from here? Between a very analytical comment by Greg "A Friend Of Yours" and several other supportive comments like Sandy H's giving us a sanity check along with the poll results, we think we're good for another 15 years of "Separating the wheat from the chaff".
Lastly, here's a comment by setlistthief:
I've just put "Americana" on heavy rotation so I've only formed a few initail impressions. I hear "Powderfinger" in a couple of those folk songs. "High Flyin' Bird" is a NYCH classic that's going to be a live scorcher. "Wayfaring Stranger" is a gorgeous "Boxcar"-like acoustic piece. And in many ways, the remaining songs remind me of Dylan's "Love and Theft." Right now, however, the album doesn't flow for me, but I may get there eventually after a few more listens.
Maybe I won't be listening to "Americana" next year at this time, but right now I'm absolutely intrigued by what Neil's done this time around.
Honestly, I thought Neil would never work with Crazy Horse again. Glad I was mistaken.
So how about it "The John Q. General Ordinary Public of Americana" and Rusties of the world? What do you guys really think?