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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

POLL RESULTS: Psychedelic Pill - The Last Neil Young Album You Really Cared About

The Last Neil Young Album You Really Cared About?
(Click link for full results)

This past weekend, we posted a poll question asking what "The Last Neil Young Album You Really Cared About?"

The poll was inspired by a question posted recently on the audiophile forum Steve Hoffman Forum which generated quite a bit of discussion on Neil Young's continuing musical relevancy relative to his earlier works in the 1970's.

Here at Thrasher's Wheat, we received over 600 votes thus far and numerous comments, such as the one that follows below. But first, here's a breakdown:

Psychedelic Pill (2012) 37.33%
The Monsanto Years (2015) 14.15%
Le Noise (2010) 8.4%
Prairie Wind (2005) 7.15%
Greendale (2003) 6.84%
Silver & Gold (2000) 5.44%
Living With War (2006) 5.13%
Chrome Dreams II (2007) 4.04%
Storytone (2014) 3.27%

(Also, note that when we've done this sort of polling before we have always eliminated compilation albums like Decade or Greatest Hits. So, we removed Live/Comp albums from the listing like Fillmore, Cellar Door, etc. Also, removed Archives which had the most votes of the Live/Comp albums. This did statistically invalidate the poll by removing options after opening the poll but we wanted to keep this going and not re-start. As far as we can tell, the removal of Live/Comp albums made no difference in the rankings of Top 5.)

A comment by Alan:
Most Rock Stars do nothing in their later years of much interest. Not so for Neil Young.

There is compelling music on Monsanto years, great guitar riffs. And he didn't ravage his vocal cords like Dylan did by smoking cigarettes. The music he has done just in the last 10 years would be a very respectable career total for most artists. There are are great guitar passages on the album. People Want to Hear About Love. Listen to it and then tell me it doesnt ROCK!. Neil Young has a Fiery Intensity, even in his seemingly mellow tunes like Wolf Moon. A heartbreaking ode to Earth (and moon, in a small way), deeper and more to the point than After the Gold Rush. He has focused and stepped up to smack down the Bad Guys just when we need him most! Neil's Energy, which he has now focused on the dark corporations ruining the food supply, Global Warming, Environmental Destruction and the corruption inherent to Citizen United….

If you can't dig it, you are probably one of the millions of Americans who are Apathetic politically and uninformed on the real undercurrents of who has power and who gets the money… meanwhile, the middle class bleeds money to make up for lost taxation on Corporations, the poor starve and get ignored, all so GE can get a "Minus 11%" tax rate while carcinogens are pumped into the food supply at alarmingly skyrocketing rates. Meanwhile, the FDA and Monsanto share a pool of employees between them, so everyone's needs get met…. except for the people who Eat the carcinogenic crap they are forcing the masses to eat. Its almost like they don't CARE if a large segment of society dies off.

Neil has become THE REBEL ROCKSTAR in an AGE OF APATHY. He is the guy who never sold out. He is the Bernie Sanders of Hippie Grunge. We need a Cheerleader like him to get folks to notice they are getting Screwed by the System. In the 1950's, Corporations paid 50% tax. They have paid lobbyists and politicians to reduce their taxes to nothing, for the majority of corporations in the USA. And even though Corps receive 99% of "welfare money", ALL we hear about is lazy poor people, who actually receive just 1% of "welfare" money. Wake up y'all. Neil Young will give you a head start on sifting through the Bullshit we have all been believing about just society in the USA. Thanks Neil. See you Sunday. I wonder what he will do next. I am very optimistic, as usual, having been following him closely several decades.

Alan in Seattle.
Thanks Alan and everyone who voted in the poll!

Now go and drop that Pill and let it ring!

So what do you think? What was the last Neil Young album that you really cared about?

Thanks for voting and let us know what you think!

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At 9/29/2015 11:29:00 AM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

Psychedelic Pill is probably the best album since Greendale, despite a few uninspired lyrics and some very questionable artistic decisions. To be fair, however, every album since Americana has been fairly respectable, and all are more engaging than anything from Prarie Wind in 2005 through to Le Noise in 2010 (which must surely rank as Neil's dullest album ever). The solo version of Storytone, in particular, deseves a lot more positive attention than it gets.


At 9/29/2015 11:41:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Neil Young records respectable???? !!!! Come on what you mean is that they're not that good.

At 9/29/2015 12:35:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

These results don't surprise me at all since PP was the last NY album I purchased. Le Noise was fantastic to me.....although now some of those songs seem a bit strange now knowing what happened with Neil's marriage (Sign of Love is an example).
Oh well.....I sure he has at least another Prairie Wind in him somewhere....or another Greendale.....or.....

At 9/29/2015 02:39:00 PM, Blogger Old Black said...

Ramada Inn and Walk Like Giant are terrific, classic Horse songs - no doubt about it. I was not disappointed with PP as an album and it is in my rotation. Cannot say the same for anything else since LWW (but I really like No Hidden Path - unfortunately, one song does not make an album for me). Oddly, Fork in the Road has a strange appeal. But I don't understand the lack of love for Prairie Wind. That is a really fine album with some great songs and I love the care that went into making it.

At 9/29/2015 03:03:00 PM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

To me, Prarie Wind sounds a bit watered down, Neil Young-lite. It lacks the songwriting and muscial edge of Neil's better acoustic albums. It has some very enjoyable moments, and I still play it from time to time, but there simply aren't enough great tracks to make it a particularly good complete album. This was also about the time when the "fun" lightweight tracks (once limited to one song per album) started to outnumber the heavyweight songs.

There's something about Neil's studio work between 2005 and 2010 that is just a bit bland and unfulfilling. It's true his last few albums have suffered from some poor songwriting and production choices, but overall they are much more satisfying and developed in my opinion.


At 9/29/2015 04:57:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

When I say "Respectable" I actually mean what I say. I do not mean boring or unaccomplished. The point is, its hard to respect most OTHER musicians when viewing their later work. I Love Neil Young's later work. Le Noise, for example. A brilliant album. I think the historic imagery and accuracy are quite moving. Angry World, a song written because an angry fisherman was drinking in the same little pub up in La Honda, CA, told Neil "Hey Neil, you should write a song called 'Its an Angry World!' The song kicks ass. He proves he is the one man band of Grungey Greatness. And you're telling me that "Respectable" means not very good. Apparently you expect people to not mean what they say. Neil Young means what he says. The state of CA's recent decision to "Label Roundup as a known Carcinogen" means that the anti GMO movement is gaining momentum. Neil Young is courageous and bold. When autism rates are rising due to pesticide exposure in the food supply (which is the name of the game in GMO!) doesn't cause alarm on the evening news, you know the system is rigged. Everyone in government is in such a hurry to pass laws promising Monsanto immunity from prosecution if their product should happen to prove later to be DANGEROUS. All of their testing was done on rats in under 90 days. In this case, tumors literally begin to develop after 90 days in rats. Yet somehow the entire FDA thinks that is just fine to dramatically increase levels of herbicide sprayed onto crops. There is no limit. All wheat production except organic in the US now involves spraying it with roundup to make the harvest easier on the harvesting equipment. Thats because the wheat is now dead. And roundup irritates the intestinal lining, which is likely the real cause of "Gluten Intolerance" which is somehow dramatically on the rise as more Roundup enters the food supply. The cows eat roundup corn. Soy has high doses on it, in it, in you, in whatever eats it. Pigs, chickens, everything is fed with roundup soaked feed. The entire food supply becomes effected. Neil Young is calling bullshit and you are too bored to notice. Well, I hope you find something interesting to pay attention to. And the incredible thing is that Neil Young accomplished a touching, artistic, rebellious message of Determined Science in the face of Scientific Fraud which is being Perpetrated against the Citizens of this country, the USA. My advice is to go organic and protest Monsanto. Stand up for your rights. Demonstrate in the streets. Carry signs. And enjoy as much GOOD MUSIC as possible while you still have time to enjoy it. The world is heating up, my friends. The human race is advancing towards a great extinction period, so say the scientists. This is not the Biblical End Times you may have read about. This is Man trashing his Home, Mother Earth, and witnessing the end of the run, in progress. The rate of Climate Change has accelerated astronomically. As the ocean absorbs more Carbon from the increasing amounts in the air, it becomes more acidic. At a slight increase in acidity, krill are unable to grow an exoskeleton. They don't live. And the entire food chain loses its initial source of food. Whales eat Krill, unless the krill cease to be, and then the whales cease to be. Already in WA state, the local shellfish industry has lost millions of dollars because the ocean is too acidic for these 3rd generations shellfish farmers to succeed. The scallops have been wiped out. This is only the beginning. "Less fish swimming in your oceans" sings Neil. He sees this stuff. I was an environmental studies major in college back in the late 80's. I saw a lot of this coming. Back then we used to think it would affect our grandkids. Now we see it is affecting us here and now, today. So, stick your head in the sand if you need to. Earth will see abundant life again later. Geologic time is spans the eons. At least I have a great sound track to hear. Thank you Neil Young!

At 9/29/2015 05:45:00 PM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

Ever heard of paragraph breaks?

You seem to be arguing entirely against a statement that you yourself made. You have mis-read my post, gone off on a rant, and then somehow ended up on the subject of starfish. Very odd.


At 9/29/2015 05:59:00 PM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

Or was that aimed at Andy Walters? Hard to tell. Either way, stay calm!


At 9/29/2015 06:16:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

as Mick sings, you're so respectable!
Alan, thanks for the additional info on GMO/Monsanto.
I am getting a better understanding of all this now.
We all should be out informing others of this problem.
We're sucking it in everywhere we turn, from the food we eat
to the air we breath to the fuel we burn.

It's not about the paragraph breaks or the most relevant album really.
People wanna hear about love now, if it will make them feel alright.
So keep the faith and spread the word. The good music keeps coming
from the wellspring of an open heart, the least we can do is echo it around.

At 9/29/2015 06:31:00 PM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

Yes, it is about the paragraph breaks, especially if you want to "inform others of this problem". 'Cause nobody is going to listen to someone ranting, no matter how strong their argument is.


At 9/29/2015 06:47:00 PM, OpenID herbsworld said...

Of course it is the Last Neil Young album I care about.
It's the Last Crazy horse record!
hopefully, not THE LAST Crazy horse record ever, but we ain't gettin' any younger.

At 9/29/2015 06:54:00 PM, Blogger Okanagan said...

He's had moments since LWW. I mean he has released a handful of good songs. If FITR was recorded by anyone else it wouldn't have even made it out of the factory. I don't know, maybe 20yrs from now I'll find the artistic quality, value of FITR, Storyline, letter home, americana. All these albums I have listened to a few times and have not played them since. I'd be embarrassed to play them to a non rusty. When I step away from it and listened to it I just don't get it. Maybe someday. But hey PP was fricken awesome eh?

At 9/29/2015 08:33:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Everyone's entitled to their opinions, and opinions aren't right or wrong, BUT:

Neil's "recent" work isn't great. It runs the spectrum from embarrassing, to bad/boring, to good to very good. I applaud his efforts and his relentless pursuit of the "muse" but there's been nothing truly great on record in quite some time.

I've enjoyed much of his later work, but objectively it's nowhere near his best work and it's not great music. Graded on a curve, I can appreciate it for what it is, and I'm just happy Neil's still making music and doing what he wants to do. He's still a powerful live performer as evidenced by his recent live shows with POTR, and that's where he's still making great music.

That's all I want to say for now....

Take my advice
Don't listen to me

At 9/30/2015 09:43:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@Alan - thanks for the passion.

@ flyingscotzman - we think Alan was responding to Andy's comment. no harm, no foul.

@ TopangaDaze - for us, this has always been the point: what you hear on a Neil album is nothing in comparison to the concert. Compare say Ragged Glory with Weld, for example, and songs like "Love To Burn" are incendiary in concert compared to the studio version. Likewise Monsanto Years and Rebel Content tour. Night and day practically.

At 9/30/2015 10:55:00 AM, Blogger Okanagan said...

Good post TopangaDaze, Yes its nice he is still going, keep on keepin on.


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