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Sunday, November 04, 2012

Comment of the Moment: Reviews of "Psychedelic Pill" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

"She's Always Dancin'" Artwork
"Psychedelic Pill" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
#1, #2 on Amazon Top 100 List

The Comment of the Moment is on album reviews of the new "Psychedelic Pill" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse by D. I. Kertis:
Interesting story: I finally got 'Psychedelic Pill' today.

(Thing is, it was considerably more difficult than I thought. I ended up getting my copy from a local book and music store. I'm still very attached to the physical product, rather than mp3s. I was trying to get it through Barnes and Noble. They had it available for order online, but when I tried to find it in-store by entering my postal (zip) code, it was listed as "out of stock" at all stores with a 100 hundred mile radius! (Of course, I wasn't going to drive 100 miles even for Neil Young, but I extended my search that far just out of curiosity.)

And all of this happened to me just today, so it sounds like there are definitely some problems with retail delivery for this item at the moment. The street date was right when Hurricane Sandy hit, so that was crappy timing for sure. Although with online shopping these days, it doesn't seem to be getting in the way of sales, interestingly enough. I just wonder how long before some of the poor people in New York get to hear it. The last I heard, there were people out there still without power. Without iTunes and online stores, I suspect this album wouldn't sell as well. Say what you will about mp3s, but it means that people can buy the album without ever having to leave their house or relying on any kind of courier service.

I know the album's been pretty well-received by the critics and the fans so far, and it looks like it is selling well.)

Anyway, 'Psychedelic Pill' is interesting so far, although I've yet to listen fully. As such, I need some more time before expecting any great reflections. When the first track is twenty-seven minutes long, it takes time to work through things. "Driftin' Back" is a little nuts, it has to be said. I like it musically, especially the introduction--which I thought was a clever, engaging switch-up for Neil. It sounds cool and has its groove. The lyrics are on the bizarre side, although some of the earlier comments had me worried that they would be worse than they are. The form and structure are simple if not simplistic, but to be honest, I find it hard to take issue with "Hey, hey, now, now" without also taking issue with "Hey, hey, my, my."

"Driftin' Back" is evidently meant to drift a little, or at least, I doubt that the title is any coincidence knowing Neil. I get the impression it's also meant to sound like a mantra: "Blocking out my anger". It seems to be about the search for something soulful or spiritually genuine in a world where many things are commercialized, superficial, phony, and purely profit-driven, whether the issue is mp3s or organized religion.

"Driftin' Back" seems to be an experiment, lyrically in particular, and I'm glad he did it even though it may have its strengths and weaknesses. By the way, I'm not one of those who finds a twenty-seven minute piece to be especially "self-indulgent" or arrogant. Not when Neil is asking us to devote time to an 85-minute album in the first place.

I'm not going to give up on Driftin' Back like some others have, either.

Whatever Poncho or anyone else was aware of at the time, I don't think Neil wrote the lyrics like that by accident. Just like he wrote 'Fork in the Road' (the song) that way on purpose. Driftin' Back sounds like part mantra and, sometimes, part send-up of rap and other overly simplistic popular music. In the latter regard, it vaguely reminds of Cough up the Bucks. It's a little nuts (not least of all on account of its being twenty-seven minutes long), but it has potential. Neil openly states in the lyric that he's blocking out thoughts and letting feelings through, so it's not going to be one of his most prosaic or lyrically ornate numbers.

I made the mistake of leafing through the booklet while Driftin' Back was playing, and in the process saw a bunch of lyrics without the music, some of which didn't seem very impressive on their own. So I wasn't sure 'Psychedelic Pill', the song, was going to be that great based on lyrics alone, but when I heard the song, it clicked. It was all in what they did with it--the music and concept/arrangement. I love the sound. It reminds me a little of 'Opera Star', but at the same time, I think it's one of the most effective psychedelic throwback songs Neil and the Horse have ever done, which is saying something considering the amount of nostalgia for old times that the relatively recent albums ('Ragged Glory' onwards) have displayed. So, stupid me: I prejudiced myself by looking at lyrics I should have known didn't represent a complete piece of music.

'Psychedelic Pill', the title track, is remarkable just because of how well it evokes the sound and feeling of rock music circa 1970. (I"m talking about the first version here, not the bonus alternate mix, which I have yet to give the attention it's due). 'Ramada Inn' also has its appeal.

Overall, I love the musical sound of the album and it seems to have a groove, but based even on the partial impressions I've been able to gather so far, I'm hesitating to call it five stars yet. Four might be fair, but I really have to give the second disc more attention before I'm in any position to judge. So far, I will say it's not making the same immediate impression that on me that 'Le Noise' did.

Then again, my tastes may be odd.

I prefer 'Sleeps with Angels' over 'Ragged Glory', can actually bear to play 'Are You Passionate?' all the way through now and then, and I'm not one of those who's spent the last ten years saying Neil needed to get back together with Crazy Horse.

Thanks, Neil, for reminding this book worm that there's sometimes more to it than words.
Thanks D.I.! We'll just add that we're really loving PP. DB, RI, & WLAG are wonderful jams by the guys. We think we'll be listening to RI for decades to come it seems to have that timeless feel to it.

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At 11/04/2012 11:53:00 AM, Anonymous Zen Dadio said...

Wow. Makes sense and mr Young is using three no four mediums to tell a story maybe. I have the T-shirt from the concert at red rocks, I have BR of Journeys, and #4 his autobiography. Either a Hippy Dream or it's a Brilliant ultimate expression of an experience. My wife and I live with frugal habits, but I love that 'Taking care of Business' attitude that sustains his movement. God Bless the Youngs.

At 11/04/2012 03:13:00 PM, Anonymous Rory said...

My take on it is this: I believe Driftin' Back is entirely improvised.

The first verse has been written down. It sets the tone.

Hey, now now, hey, now now, I'm driftin' back.
Hey, now now, hey, now now, I'm driftin' back

Dreamin' 'bout the way things sound now,
Write about them in my book,
Worry that you can't hear me now,
Feel the time I took.

To help you feel this feeling,
Let you ride along,
Dreamin' 'bout the way you feel now,
When you hear my song.

However, as soon as the electric kicks in, it is an improvised jam. None of the verses are pre-written, it is all made up on the spot. That's why it has a ragged feel about it. He grabs for words, and doesn't always get a good hold, eg. "Like Jesus on the rock." He steps up to the mic with an idea, and then pulls it together on the spur. He doesn't always get the rhyme - Picasso and the wallpaper - but he doesn't care because it's a stream of consciousness thing. He's driftin' back...

He is not expert at improvisation, but in the theme of Psychedelic Pill it fits perfectly. The whole feel is dreamlike, and for me, the 28 minutes goes by effortlessly. It's like being invited into the studio to just be present while Neil and Crazy Horse do their thing.

At 11/04/2012 04:01:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

i subscribe to this improv theory re: driftin back. and this shows just how perverse ol' shakey is these days. to put this as track one on the big crazy horse comeback record. neil knows that he can jam a couple of chords ad infinitum with the horse, so musically the track will be solid. but he does himself no favors by spouting off half assed lines about hip hop haircuts and picasso wallpaper. wouldn't it be great if neil cared about his craft enough to put some time into the songwriting and recording process? i love psyc pill, i really do, but i'l love for him to actually take some chances again, a la "sleeps with angels". now THAT is a classic crazy horse record.

At 11/04/2012 04:40:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Rory - that makes sense. There definitely seems to be 2 distinct threads working on DB. Maybe just the end result of the recording process?

Maybe the whole track is the result of a "roll tape take "? Maybe there really wasn't a song but just a jam? Poncho seemed to indicate that's how the who;e album came together after Americana? They just wanted to jam out.

The acoustic intro to DB definitely seems to support that theory. It sounds like it was edited onto the front end after the fact rather than vice versa. The liner notes say it wasn't even recorded at Casa Blanca.

@Dominic Holdem - so if you also subscribe to the improv theory, why would the "quality of the lyrics" matter? More to the point, when NY sings about a "hip hop haircut" could that not reflect a nod of the head to the rapper art form? Free stylin' associatin'?

Jam raps aren't supposed to be a sophisticated lyrical craftsmanship.

We guess that's why we're having trouble with some of these "self indulgent" criticisms. Folks are using the wrong frame of reference to evaluate PP.

If you're onboard with where NY&CH are coming from then you can ride where they're going. If not you're standing on the platform.

At 11/04/2012 05:26:00 PM, Blogger La Johnson said...

Just looking at my Picasso wallpaper.

At 11/04/2012 06:23:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Wow; I don't even need to listen to the full album to get spotlighted. Thanks, Thrash...

Anyway, with another listen to Driftin' Back, I should amend/flesh out my commentary a little. It seems like there was a basic concept in Neil's mind when they went in to record--which was probably to improvise the lyrics and ramble based on a few core ideas he had in mind. Because he really does seem to be rambling at times, just pounding out his thoughts and feelings as they come. And it did finally hit me that, in spite of the lack lyrical finesse or poetry, or technical excellence, there is just tremendous feeling behind this song/jam, especially in the final lines, which don't seem to be quite what is printed in the lyric book. (Although it could just be that I can't read it properly!)

It seems like Neil is "drifting back" between letting it out and letting it go--his mind is drifting around and we're hearing the comings and goings, as he lets the thoughts out and then lets them go. "Stream of consciousness" is really a very good term for it, and if he didn't mean it this way, he wouldn't have released it.

Incidentally, 'Driftin' Back' was just uploading from the CD to my iTunes (sorry, Neil, convenience and portability sometimes win out over pure quality these days), and I think it took longer to upload than any other track that I can remember. Speaking of sound quality/fidelity, I think there has yet to be a medium that makes the sound of music as three-dimensional as one would love for it to be. In a way, it becomes less interactive or engaging when you "only get 5%". I want the sound to wrap itself around me, pick me up, and carry me on a spiritual journey. I want to *feel* it. I guess this could be where surround sound came from. In terms of dynamic, it's about the closest thing that's possible to making sound "3D" in the same sense that we're always trying to make movies "3D". In which case, if the point is to try to make a work as ensconcing or engaging as possible, audiovisual or technological gimmicks aren't the answer. It should be primarily the content--and content quality--that pulls in the audience. For the active mind, for the person who has a sense of imagination and fun, an archery bow made of paper and string should be just as fun to play with as a piece of plastic bought from the store. That said, I'm not sure it works quite the same way when it comes to high fidelity sound. That's not really a matter of imagination versus shiny shallowness (although it should be possible to overlook mediocre audio quality in favor of good music), as much as it's a matter of hearing the music with the full range and volume of power and artistic effect as intended by the artist, and not feeling like you're listening through a glass against the wall while the band is jamming in the next room.

At any rate--cutting off rant. 'Psychedelic Pill' definitely needs some more time to run its course through my system. As of right now, I'm dealing with this mammoth twenty-seven minute opening track, and I'm starting to dig just how much feeling Neil put into this track alone--which is one reason I love his work. Maybe it would be a good idea to give disc two a fighting chance for my attention, but at the moment, I kind of want to hear 'Ramada Inn' again...

At 11/04/2012 08:49:00 PM, Anonymous pam said...

Here's my post...I need to write a letter to Mr. Neil Young..I am reading your book "Waging Heavy PEACE"...there is sooo much I want to say but let me begin with the why I need to write to Neil Young...although many may find your writing style frustrating
(read far too many reviews stating just that) I love the way you frustration is that I feel as if you are sitting across the table from me and I just don't have the forum to of the most important thingS I WANTED to say was "thank you' for writing such a great love story! There is much in you bio that is interesting,but I find the most interesting aspect is that you so refreshingly and openly love your wife. Your love lines are rampant throughout the book and speak so strongly of your commitment and love to her. You are indeed a lucky soul to have realized the power of this gift you have been given! My second share has to do with Ben Young. In my family I have two sibling who have CP...imagine my almost surprise when I read that we may have this in common...because it is not so common....having sibling as such may be a long road, but how would I know because it is the only road I know. It is what it is....Thank you for letting me maybe I can actually pick up the book again....until I feel the absolute need to talk to someone live in the 'Peg and am going to the concert on the 16th

At 11/04/2012 10:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As we chat amongst ourselves about the lyrics on PP, I thought I would bring into the conversation the opinions of two somewhat famous musicians and songwriters: David Byrne, and Jon Anderson. Both of them are on record (no pun intended) as saying that lyrics are vastly overrated, and a literal translation of the words in a song is often a mistake on the part of the listener. Anderson: "I often choose words not by their meaning, but by their sound". David Byrne (quote from recent interview). David Byrne is fascinated by sounds, not words.

"The former Talking Heads front man, who has spent decades writing and performing eclectic-sounding music, takes a realistic approach to song lyrics.

"People ignore them half the time," he said.

It's the unique sounds he hopes listeners will remember.

"In a certain way, it's the sound of the words, the inflection and the way the song is sung and the way it fits the melody and the way the syllables are on the tongue that has as much of the meaning as the actual, literal words," he said"

For a 67 yr old man of a life well lived, I think Neil does his best, and coming up with new songs at this point in his life may not be that easy. Its taken me 47 years to write seven very average songs...

Solution: A COLLABORATOR!!!! How about a CD, lyrics by Bob, music by Neil, sung and performed by Neil (since bob can't, well....he can still write though).

Personally, I thought the lyrics on Le Noise were very strong, and that reflected the pressure that Lanois put on him to come in with good stuff...

At 11/04/2012 10:32:00 PM, Anonymous The RealDOD said...

D.I.,Go to Click on Ramada Inn and about 15:50 into the song Young wails on Old Black somethin' fierce.That says it all for me for that song....Road music.The best I've heard in a very long time...

At 11/05/2012 12:37:00 AM, Blogger Dan1 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11/05/2012 01:26:00 AM, Blogger Dan1 said...

Just finished my first PP listen ... overall I had a more positive reaction than I expected given some of the lyrical criticism ... Until I bought the CD at Barnes and Noble I avoided listening to any of the album or any of its songs in any format ... I listened to DB on a 30 minutes bike ride ... then listened to the rest of the album while driving on a road trip two days later ... rather than overanalyze the lyrics I tried to just experience the record, experience where Neil was at, where CH was at, ect ... I do think Neil has laid down an epic record, documented a snapshot of where's he's at in his life's journey, and I think its a very substantial effort ... One of the first things that struck me was how in contrast to the anger and edge of Ragged Glory, this album is contemplative, nostalgic, much mellower but at the same time its a rockin' CH album, it has a lot of groove ... Neil's acknowledging his mortality, seems humbled by life, almost vulnerable in a way he hasn't seemed before ... it feels very much autobiographical but so did Le Noise ... Neil's trip these days seems quite introspective ... the length of the album, I had a feeling like he's savoring the experience, the album, the CH reunion, life ... feeling like its moved so fast, appreciating it in a new way ... I felt him conveying a melancholy of being much closer the end than the beginning, its a lot different than the melancholy I sensed in his past music ... also the arrangements, the vocals, they convey a matured relationship with CH almost like he's got a new respect, a new appreciation, like he's promoted them closer to equals ... he's lost so many of his collaborators in the past few years he seems to relish this opportunity to reconnect with them ... I always hoped for a reunion but was skeptical that it could happen ... PP wildly exceeded my expectations but beyond that, and of course it will take a number of listens to really start to know it, but I think it will hold up as a very strong album ... Some of the stuff that Neil's said lately, about the fact that its hard to be on tour, he doesn't know how much longer he'll be doing this for, the dementia thing... Look, Neil's kicked polio, epilepsy, survived the 60s, 70s, 80s ... outlived them all, is still relevant, I think if anyone can keep cranking' out albums and tours its Neil, truly, but I'm also trying to savor all of this ... nothing lasts forever, if Neil's contemplating his morality I'm not ignoring it or taking it for granted ... in that sense its a tough album to listen to, hard to face up to where Neil's at ... hard to see how quickly time's gone by ... I agree some of the lyrics are simplistic, are not so eloquent, but I think thats focusing on the trees while missing the forest ... Neil's put down something profound for those who have followed him for decades this is a time stamp ... but, don't let it bring you down its only castles burning ...

At 11/05/2012 01:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan: I think you've summed things up perfectly for a lot of us. Well said. I never expected a great NY&CH album and tour at this time. And I certainly didn't expect a CD that would contain 2 of the best songs ever laid down by Neil (RI and LWAG). If you compare this with, say, Time Out of Mind by Bob, the contrast is so great - the length of songs, the lyrical styles, the musical styles - yet it makes you appreciate their strengths. Only a couple more weeks to a front row experience with Neil, the Horse, and Patti Smith - how cool is that.

At 11/05/2012 02:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Thrasher - you are going to need a Psychedelic Pill (maybe lots of them) after Tuesday's sorry that your America-hating hero Obama is going down in a resounding defeat

Like most liberals, you have great taste in music - politics not so much

At 11/05/2012 04:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic, i know, but asked this question awhile back but got no responses, so gonna ask again. Which is most likely for 2013:
Archives Vol. 2: 1973-1982
An Archive Perfromance Series release
An Archive Special Series release
Archive Original Series releases
Live Alchemy (CD + Blu-ray/DVD)
Early Daze
Trunk Show Blu-ray/DVD
Heart Of Gold Blu-ray
New solo album
New Crazy Horse album

Just write what you think at the end of your posts.

At 11/05/2012 04:49:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

First of all, even giving due consideration to free speech, I have to take a little issue with people who just can't set aside their political agendas for two seconds hijacking and polluting the boards with nastiness. If you're going to go off topic and keeping on harping on politics until we're all even more sick of it than we were before, you could you at least discuss it civilly rather than like a schoolyard bully? All you're going to do by going on the attack is to rile people up and make them feel defensive, rather than receptive to your views. Such posters as I am referring to probably realize this, and the fact that they don't behave accordingly betrays that their intent is simply to taunt rather than have any genuine, constructive discussion. Just a tip, though: this kind of behavior does not project a good image of the people in your "camp". Guilt by association may not always be fair, but the truth remains that you're going to have a harder time getting anyone other than your already-devoted choir to side with you, or even give your ideas a chance, if your modus operandi is to be a giant d*ck. And I assume that even as you're taunting those you don't agree with, at another level, you would still like to get people to agree with you.

Moreover, and I don't know about anyone else's reasons, but this stuff is not why I come to places like Thrasher's Wheat. Most of us seem to come here primarily because we love Neil's music and work, and we want to talk about it, and possibly get away from some of the other shit in life. I get the papers, I like to listen to the radio, but this is not a news and politics site and I don't come here for that. I don't want to spend every waking moment thinking and talking about politics, and personally, I have a really hard time liking people who insist on always grinding that sort of axe. They must be maddeningly depressing to live with. Don't they ever drive themselves ballistic with it? There's a place for it, but there has to be a place to cut it out as well, because it drives me mad sometimes and I know I'm not the only who gets sick to death of politics.

Some people, however, appear to come here just to play these games, rather than, Heaven forbid, actually enjoy being a Neil Young fan and actually--oh my God!--talk about all the music on a brand new double album with Crazy Horse. I suppose anyone can type in anything he or she wants, so here's what I'll type in: I find it degrading to the pleasure and quality value of this website, and perhaps even a little insulting to Neil Young fans in search of a good time, when we're gate-crashed by people who don't want to say anything of relevance, and instead come here just to be pricks and grind their political axe, in the process adding nothing of value whatsoever to the dialogue. Maybe the lesson is: stick to the music. Or it could just be: don't be a prick.

At 11/05/2012 04:56:00 PM, Anonymous Steve said...

In response to anonymous @ 2:53.

Obama is intelligent and hard working, but he has poor political instincts. He could not find a way to turn the Republicans' obstrcution to his own advantage. Obama could have been beaten if the Republicans had nominated somebody with even a little bit of spine and/or personal character. Instead, they nominated a man who is simply a tool - he has no core convictions other than those directed by his Mormon faith. Better luck next time.

At 11/05/2012 05:46:00 PM, Blogger joelookout said...

Neil, who was born in Ontario, swallowed a psychedelic pill who put him on a twisted road that took him to a Ramada inn where she is always dancing for the love of a man drifting back to walk like a giant!

This is really a concept album!!

At 11/05/2012 06:08:00 PM, Anonymous Johan said...

One of the advantages of iTunes MP3's on your iPhone is that you can rearrange the songs on an album or even shift a song that seems out of place to another album were it seems more comfortable. I don't know how NY chooses the song order on his albums but I usually re-arrange them so that my favourite songs are first and I come to enjoy the less favourite ones more and more over time because I'm not always waiting for them to be over so I can get to the good ones.

On Psychedelic Pill it seems awkward to me to have the short songs sandwiched between the super long ones and especially to have the album begin with a long aimless rambling improv so I simply arranged them in order of shortest to longest with the live versions of Psychedelic Pill and Singer Without a Song tacked on at the end and it plays a lot better in my opinion! It starts out rocking with the title song and moves more and more into extended jams. Really nice.

At 11/05/2012 09:45:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Alright. With apologies for my previous--sorry I blew a gasket there--I'd like to get back to 'Psychedelic Pill' for a moment.

It is interesting that someone else just mentioned the sequencing, as I was talking about Neil's track ordering tendencies in another post. Generally, I like having the longer numbers spread out and songs of different lengths interspersed. It gives a feeling of balance and variety, keeps the pace fresh, and allows for strategic placement of the goods rather than spilling them all out at the same time. You want to start strong, but you also want to save some of the best material for the later part of the album. I don't like when albums are "front-loaded" and end up trailing off for the last few tracks, or just eventually meander away with leftovers. It's all about balance, cohesion, and variety. I do create play lists of my own sometimes, but I'm not really one to abandon the original sequencing. Especially after reading 'Waging Heavy Peace', it becomes apparent that track sequencing is an important part of Neil's creativity. One thing I have noticed is that if he has more than one super-long or epic number, he likes to put one of them right up near the front of the album. It seems like his idea of starting with a bang, or almost like that one song marks a separate act and then you get into the rest of the album. Or maybe he's getting out of the way early in the game, so it doesn't clash with the other big song at the album's climax. He's giving the songs space to breathe and take full effect as individual pieces.

The first three tracks of 'Broken Arrow' were the longest, and 'Ordinary People' was track three on CDII. Often, the first epic is track two or three. Even 'I Wonder' on PW fits somewhat into this category. At any rate, for me, as for Neil, the sequencing of an album is an important aspect of the experience and overall effect, and as such I don't like to mess with it willy-nilly. It starts to feel kind of like taking someone else's painting of a landscape and making the sky a little lighter or darker, or making the treetops a different shade of green, although obviously iTunes playlists are not replacing or necessarily even overriding the original album. For PP, the most I've done so far is to put both discs, in original album order, into one play list so I can listen seamlessly, without a pause after 'Born in Ontario'. I don't really feel the need to mess with this one, although that could just be that I'm a little out of the habit of making playlists right now.

At 11/05/2012 10:20:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Speaking of 'Born in Ontario', as we've been discussing Neil's lyrics a little, even with the more offbeat numbers--and at this stage, I would consider 'Born in Ontario' and 'Twisted Road' to be the most offbeat of this album--Neil still manages the odd zinger. Of Ontario he sings, "That's where I learned most of what I know/'cause you don't learn much when you start to get old." I guess I could be the only one who laughed, but I thought it was clever enough. Along with the second verse, that line does a lot to elevate my opinion of that song. I do also appreciate Neil's spirit of pride in his cultural background. I was born and have always lived in the USA, and am not of a nationalistic mentality in general, but lest we forget that these different countries and cultures exist, I like that Neil asserts some of his colors here and doesn't let us forget that just because he lives in California, that doesn't mean the USA is his be-all and end-all or that his Canadian heritage should be forgotten, and that he shouldn't be presumptuously referred to as an "American singer/songwriter" only. It's especially cool in view of the fact that some of us in the US, unfortunately, don't have the kindest of attitudes towards our northern neighbors...

Then in 'Twisted Road', Bob Dylan is said to have "Poetry rolling off his tongue/Like Hank Williams chewing bubble gum." Is it just me, or is that a cool line? Incidentally, I've heard that early live performances of 'Twisted Road', which reportedly dates back to the unveiling of 'Le Noise' material, were acoustic. I'm having a hard time imagining it work that way, though. I believe, because I've definitely heard the name 'Twisted Road' before. That might even have been the name of the tour and a prospective name for what became 'Le Noise'. But it seems to me that Neil and Poncho's gravelly, rocky guitars are the pavement for 'Twisted Road', as it were, and the song might suffer without that Crazy Horse sound going on.

I definitely need another listen to 'Walk like a Giant'. The last verse particularly grabbed me with its intense feeling. It's a really great sign for Neil's creativity, and reminds me once again that Crazy Horse occasionally crosses the line from "music" to sound art. I'm thinking particularly of the last couple of minutes of transcendent and totally unique artistry that could only possibly have come from Neil and the Horse. But I'm definitely feeling like I need more time to digest that one. Believe it or not, I was about two thirds of the way through the first time before it started to dawn on me how great it was and what an indicator that song alone is of Neil's (and the Horse's) continuing artistry and inspiration. When he sang, "When I think about how good it can feel...", that was when it really hit me how that song works. I want to walk this twisted road like a giant on the land. Thanks to Neil, and all artists, for letting the twists show. Perfection is out of place here anyway.

At 11/06/2012 12:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey DI K, is it possible to keep it to one long meandering comment per post. I tend to give people a pass the day before an election on a web site full of political and strong social issue links. But I equally worry about about folks taking over thrasher with multiple comments that nobody will read in full cause they are just too freaking long. At least you write well: I just worry that you are setting a precedent for others who do not write two good. peace.

At 11/06/2012 08:42:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks D.I. - have at it. take as much space as you need.

At 11/06/2012 03:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think when the entire post is about DI's review of the new album he can reply all he wants! It is pretty funny how it's several reviews of an album he's hardly heard though! I heard it the day it leaked a couple weeks ago and have listened to it dozens of times and watched all the videos while baked etc and have come to love every song and feel like I'm much more qualified to review it, but unfortunately I don't write that interestingly so I'm glad for DI's cool long posts to read!

At 11/06/2012 04:31:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Thanks to Thrasher and the two Anonymouses ("Anonymousi"?) for their collective feedback. Someone said that it doesn't seem like Neil specially set out to make Driftin' Back 27 minutes long, and in much the same way, I often don't particularly intend for my comments to go on and on. They just do. I've already apologized for my long tangent that wasn't related to this album, so there's no need to go over that again.

Just to be clear, I have heard the album fully since this thread was posted, but If I listened to *any* album *dozens* of times within the first week of release, my brain would probably go numb through repetition. I'd be beating the album to death. Talk about an overdose! Let's also add in the fact that I could not acquire the album until the Saturday after release (and considering the difficulty I had with that, I'm glad I even managed to track a copy down without having to wait another week for mail order). And my current living situation is not conducive to spending long periods listening to music. The album is ninety minutes to begin with. I do have stuff to get done throughout the day, and I'm living in a small space with several other people usually around. It would be inconsiderate to constantly blast Neil Young and Crazy Horse at them as they are trying to do their own thing. I don't know that number of listens through an album necessarily equates, in itself, to degree of credentials to review said album, but it seems kind of pointless to argue about that. I would like to spend more time with the album, but given the constraints I've been under lately, I feel like I'm doing an OK job of digesting it at my own pace.

Thank you, though, Anonymous #1, for cutting me some slack about the political stuff. I think it's out of my system now. May I offer in return, however, that while we all each other only as screen names and thus I'm not that bothered by people who choose to post without a specific name/account, it does make posting replies trickier. When people post as "Anonymous", I can never be absolutely sure whether I'm talking to the same or a different person across different posts and threads unless the poster leaves some other signature or mark. It's pretty easy to discern that the two Anonymous posts just above are from two different people, but it's not always necessarily clear. Would you guys mind at least leaving some kind of signature? I can call you "Thing One" and "Thing Two" if you want. We just need to be sure of who is saying what!

To wrap up--and I promise this is the last thing, but I do really want to say it--I don't mean to overwhelm less verbose posters. Let's face it: a world full of people who all thought and wrote the way I do would get tiresome quickly. I think there's only room for one me in any one place at any given time. By all means, everyone should feel free to post in their own time, in their own way, or not if the fancy doesn't strike. Not everyone is born to be a rocker like Neil, and not everyone is born to be an essayist.

Peace and good thoughts.

At 11/06/2012 08:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Checking in from away during a trip in Asia, so the flight gave me ample opportunity for some extended listening. Have not read all the comments, but to me the acoustic to electric switch is significant. It's almost akin to a transistion from the clarity of the present, to a more deamlike place in the past. I think the song pulls this off magnificently. But it also means that when you are there, it's not something that has any kind of timing. It makes sense to meander through yuour thoughts, and in fact to want to stay there as long as possible. The lyrics and the extended jams seem to intertwine in much the same way that thoughts and emotions do. The music expresses the feeling, while the lyrics express the thoughts.

As is the case with many Neil Young songs, for me the listineing context is everything. Sitting reclined on a long flight certainly worked for Driftin' Back. I think it's a great song, particularly when looked at in the right light.

At 11/07/2012 06:10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same anonymous poster as just above. Sitting on a long train ride now, so have had ample opportunity to read all the comments. Perhaps not completely clear, but my comment above relates to Driftin' Back, but I now see the comments have broadened a bit (I guess now that DI K was able to listen more!).

It also gave me the opportunity to get a chuckle from both of the anonymous posters above. Only a real NY fan could offer such a nicely put critique of DK's long ramblings, coming from one who often occasionally doesn't write two good neither.

For DK and others I'd only say be patient when it comes to excessive anlysis of this album, or any NY album for that matter. NY is capable of conveying feeling and mood musically better than any other musician, period. For me, DB and RI are front and center in this regard. They are just beautiful songs in a way that is completely unique to Neil. I now treat opportunities to listen to DB all the way through as a luxury, while those certainly were not my first impressions.

I can't rate this album by any star system. I'm just simply amazed that Neil is still capable of something so special and unique. Really excited to see the live show in a few weeks. Kind of hoping for a live DB, just as long as it isn't the abbreviated version from the album...


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