An Attempt To Explain The “Difficult” Neil Young Records | Vinyl Me, Please
Have you ever been in that situation where you're trying to explain Neil Young's catalog and it becomes increasingly clear that the other person just doesn't "get Neil"?
If so (and we know we have all been there before) then here's just the trick -- the handy guide: An Attempt To Explain The “Difficult” Neil Young Records from Vinyl Me, Please.
Here's the chapter on soundtracks by Neil Young, including the Where The Buffalo Roam gonzo film on Hunter S. Thompson:
More albums explained on An Attempt To Explain The “Difficult” Neil Young Records from Vinyl Me, Please.
Ever one for confounding his audience’s expectations, Young followed his 1972 smash hit Harvest with the movie Journey Through The Past. It’s an experimental documentary that patches together backstage footage, live performances, television appearances, news footage and other strange clips into an abstract retrospective of Young’s career. Featuring performances by Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and notable solo cuts including a rambling 16-minute rendition of Harvest’s “Words”, it also includes weird non-Young cuts such as The Tony & Susan Alamo Christian Foundation & Chorus performing part of Handel’s Messiah and a random Beach Boys instrumental, neither of which were excluded from the vinyl soundtrack release. Rolling Stone called the record “a depressing combination of sloppy music and verbal filler” and declared it “the nadir of Neil Young’s recording activity.” It was never released on CD.
Young’s next foray into the world of the soundtrack was an even scrappier affair. He provided the incidental music to Where The Buffalo Roam, the 1980 flick in which Bill Murray played the gun-totin’, drug-poppin’ gonzo author Hunter S. Thompson. Its soundtrack features classic tracks by Hendrix, Dylan and others but, in true gonzo spirit, Young’s seven contributions add up to less than 10 minutes of music and mainly consist of him playing creaky variations of “Home On The Range.”
Young’s film-score masterpiece would come fifteen years later with his collection of music from “and inspired by” Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man. The album includes snippets of the film’s dialogue and its star, Johnny Depp, reading extracts of William Blake’s poetry. But Young is the true star of this disc, having improvised the music alone, using mainly his electric guitar, with occasional passages performed on acoustic guitar, pump organ or detuned piano. While unquestionably among Young’s weirdest ever moments, Dead Man is also one of his finest idiosyncratic achievements, on which he crafted a distinctly eerie atmosphere that invites parallels to ambient music, post-rock and the melancholic drone metal of groups such as Earth, yet all the while remaining definitively, unmistakably Neil.