The Secret Behind Neil Young’s Out Of Print 1982 Album Will Melt Your Heart
An interesting review of Neil Young's 1982 album TRANS.
Many know the backstory, but many do not know the full story about this much misunderstood album. As we continue to hurtle towards singularity, taking TRANS for spin every now and then isn't such a bad thing.
From Unicorn Booty:
Thematically, Trans addresses communication and control – themes which had poignant significance in Young’s life. Young’s sons were born with a very strong cerebral palsy and could not speak or communicate. He’d recently bought a vocoder and a Synclavier (a sequencing synthesizer perhaps best known from Frank Zappa’s use in Jazz From Hell). Young noticed how his son Ben would react when he’d speak through a vocoder — Trans was an attempt to communicate with him.Thanks Unicorn Booty! To know is to appreciate.
While Trans was a commentary on his sons’ condition — many of the distorted, processed vocals are difficult to discern — it’s not just his sons’. Neil himself also seems to be having trouble communicating on this album. In the album’s planning stage, he initially wanted to include a video explaining what he was getting at. In his words, the video would be “all of the electronic-voice people were working in a hospital, and the one thing they were trying to do is teach this little baby to push a button”; perhaps his metaphor for an acoustic musician surrounded by an increasingly technological culture.
Neil Young: We R In Control Unofficial Music Video