EARLY REACTION: "Psychedelic Pill" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
#1 on Amazon Top 100 List
Today, after much anticipation, "Psychedelic Pill" -- the new album by Neil Young & Crazy Horse is being released.
After spending over a month in the Amazon Top 100 List, the album is now sitting at #1, with Taylor Swift and Rod Stewart following?!
Past, present and future, for sure.
Lots of interesting reviews have been dropping for the last few weeks falling into the usual range of opinions. From "improbable and brilliant" (SPIN Magazine) to "loose and indulgent" (Telegraph).
From Neil Young album review; Psychedelic Pill reviewed - chicagotribune.com by Greg Kot:
Like the blues, the albums Young makes with Crazy Horse have almost become a genre unto themselves.
This review captures the essence of " Psychedelic Pill" on American Songwriter By Jim Beviglia:
It doesn’t take a math major to figure out that several songs have to be extremely long to fill out that space; indeed, three tracks combined take up an hour’s worth of listening time. That bit of knowledge will probably send certain Crazy Horse fans into fits of joy at the free-form, rocking possibilities, while fans of Young’s more efficient songwriting are probably smelling the fumes of indulgence in the air.And, our favorite review snippet, Album: Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Psychedelic Pill (Reprise) - Reviews - Music - The Independent by Simmy Richman:
"moments of sublime majesty" making it "the best non-essential album Neil Young has ever made".
From review on Rolling Stone by David Fricke:
In "Twisted Road," one of eight new songs sprawled across this turbulent two-CD set, Young recalls, in a brilliantly mixed metaphor, the first time he heard Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone": "Poetry rolling off his tongue/Like Hank Williams chewing bubble gum." And Young tells you what he did with the impact. "I felt that magic and took it home/Gave it a twist and made it mine," he sings over Crazy Horse's rough-country swagger, as if the marvel of that time and his dreams are still close enough to touch.
So are the mess and his dismay.
NEW VIDEO: "Ramada Inn" - Neil Young & Crazy Horse
From Blogcritics.org by Glen Boyd:
But because Neil Young – at least when he is hitting on all four cylinders, and despite all of his hits and misses over the years – has established such a high artistic standard, his fans just as often place equally lofty demands on the man. Taken on that level, Psychedelic Pill delivers the goods and then some.
From Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Psychedelic Pill :: Music :: Reviews :: Paste by Douglas Heselgrave:
One of the first things that becomes apparent while reading Waging Heavy Peace and listening to Psychedelic Pill at the same time is that they are deeply interwoven and operate together.
Most of the songs on the two-disc set refer to episodes, issues or emotions expressed in his book, as MP3 sound quality, drugs, old friends and the passage of time are all contemplated in what must certainly be the most unassuming and artless collection of lyrics that Young has ever recorded. It may strike one as ironic that Young’s autobiography runs at nearly 500 pages long, while the words he sings on his new record are perfunctory at best. The good news is that it doesn’t matter one bit. Young has obviously said all he has to say for the time being in his book. Psychedelic Pill is a flat-out guitar record, and it’s one of the best ones you’ll ever hear.
The music on Psychedelic Pill has its own groove and tempo that—despite the often harsh and raw timbre of the songs—encourages the listener to relax, wait and feel all of the communicated emotions in an unhurried manner. The record’s sonics are grounded in the language of rock music, but there’s something truly unique in the thick stew that Neil and Crazy Horse have brewed here. Miles Davis in 1970, Jimi Hendrix’s “Moon, Turn the Tides” from Electric Ladyland, Grateful Dead live “Dark Star” from around 1973; it’s hard to think of better comparisons.
From Review: Neil Young, 'Psychedelic Pill' : NPR by Tom Moon:
It's almost impossible to not be cynical about rock stars working the myth one more time; it's what they do when they reach a certain age. The thing is, even when Young deploys a chord sequence we've heard from him before, or sings a melody that echoes something he wrote in the '80s, the jagged, relentlessly fierce Crazy Horse is there to inject new backbone and spirit into the mix. The band doesn't just redeem Young's mawkish moments — it transforms them. They won't let this guy phone anything in, or rest on any laurels. He might prattle on like an old crank about the sound quality of digital files, as he does in one tune here. But it hardly matters, because when the singing stops and Young falls into step with the Crazy Horse ethos, the music positively erupts.
From Album Of The Week: Neil Young & Crazy Horse Psychedelic Pill - Stereogum by Tom Breiha:
If you’ve ingested enough psychedelic pills yourself, you’re well aware of the phenomenon of the flashback, that brief and disorienting instant when you have no idea if you’re five or 25. And Psychedelic Pill is flashback city, Young lyrically calling back to nuggets of thought from decades ago, sounding vaguely amazed by how vivid they still feel. The album has lyrics about hearing “Like A Rolling Stone” for the first time, about playing the same venue where he once saw Roy Orbison, about the province where he was born. And when he and Crazy Horse launch off on one of their extended instrumental journeys, which they do often, there’s an air of sense-memory about it all.
Young’s generous solos here don’t blaze or soar or shiver. His guitars and those of Frank “Poncho” Sampedro murmur back and forth, having quiet conversations that they’re not sure they want us to overhear. The vocal harmonies bring a sighing, comfortable awe that’s not quite as expected. Even on “Driftin’ Back,” that 27-minute opener, where Young occasionally steps to the mic and issues another old-man complaint, the complaints aren’t the real point of the song. The real point is in the stretching-into-infinity instrumental passages, and in the quieter bits where Young and his friends just repeat the song’s title softly to themselves. And I’ve found that the best way to listen to the album is to unstick myself from time, to let all those currents of guitar and voice carry me to a place deeper inside my own head.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Psychedelic Pill | Album Reviews | Pitchfork by
Thankfully, the album's final epic, "Walk Like a Giant", scrawls a jagged line through that cuddly history with a single chord change, coming immediately after an immensely dopey verse about how Neil and his friends were gonna save the world. In fact, "Walk Like a Giant", is easily the best studio Crazy Horse performance since Ragged Glory. Once again, the formula is unchanged-- it even swipes pretty heavily from the "Hey Hey My My" riff-- but between the verses the Horse is whipped until it foams at the mouth. Everything great about Neil Young, electric guitarist, is on full display, his singular tone veering from feral growls and feedback to blistering fury while the other three egg him on with subtle, perennially underrated counterpoint.
Despite the patience required to get there, the track underlines the greatest trick of Neil Young's long career: that his most self-indulgent mode can also be his most crowd-pleasing. At this point, the "these old guys still know how to rock!" angle for Crazy Horse is itself old enough to collect Social Security. But there's enough life and fuck-you attitude left in Psychedelic Pill to remind a listener that "it's better to burn out than to fade away" wasn't necessarily about dying young, so long as you avoided phoning it in. If circling the wagons is what it takes to keep Neil Young's fire raging, then just be happy he lets us pay to watch.
Bring on the self indulgence and revel in its ragged glory!
And while Pill probably isn't destined to be held in the same regard as such stone ‘70s classics as Zuma or Rust Never Sleeps (and its concert counterpart Live Rust), it's easily as tunefully unhinged as 1990's Ragged Glory and as sonically immediate as 1994's Sleeps With Angels; it's as pure a distillation of the band as one could hope for in 2012.