Comment of the Moment: Neil Young Archives Volume #2: "Nearly completed"
Neil Young Archives Volume #1
Last month, Neil Young's manager Elliot Roberts -- speaking to Billboard -- said that the Neil Young Archives Volume #2 is "nearly completed and should surface in 2017".
The Comment of the Moment on this latest NYA news that , is from Ian:
I can actually see the website idea working, although it's hard to imagine exactly what it might look like or what the model would be for marketing such a thing.Thanks Ian! Good points and lots of memories from that NYA #1 rollout. Those were exciting times here at TW with Archives Guy stopping by on a daily basis to provide project updates. Hard to say what will happen with NYA#2 rollout at this point.
Do you establish an account on the website and pay to use? The difficulty is, we're all so used to going on websites (like this one) without paying anything above and beyond what your service provider charges and the cost of the computer itself. The optimist within me can envision this website setup being more cost-effective and marketable than an expensive box set with formatting restrictions. The thing is, there's just no precedent (that I know of) for this, so it's hard for me to imagine exactly what it might look like.
Archives I had lots of great stuff buried in it (new tracks, rare video, a virtual NY scrapbook, etc.), but was A) Very expensive, especially on blu-ray and B) Besides the final product being prohibitively costly, the rollout was bumpy (some would even say downright sloppy), and that may have been at least partly due to issues with deciding on and designing the format. As I remember, there were CD, DVD, and BD editions. Unless you were a total NY fanatic (like me), the only option within most people's price range was probably the CD set, which, in my opinion, was missing an incredible amount of content essential to the Archives experience due to its being audio-only. If all you got was eight CDs of mostly previously available music, you might have been underwhelmed--but, hey, people really wanted CD! (The CD release may even have been some kind of compromise between Neil and Reprise.)
The point is, the CD-only buyers got what they asked for... they just didn't know they were asking for it.
Which is to say, for all those years when the Archives were hyped (by Neil but also by fans and in rock music journalism), I'm guessing most of us were just expecting a big collection of music. Not a multi-media smorgasbord of content with a new and unprecedented user interface. With music recordings, the level of user interface we're accustomed to generally involves dropping the needle, putting the CD in the tray, or just hitting your keyboard or touchpad. It's become increasingly clear (to me) that The Archives is, or has developed into, a completely different and more complicated beast. Or at the least, it's only relatively recently that NY fans have (myself included) have genuinely begun to understand what the Archives might be, and it's not exactly what folks may have had in mind for all those decades. It seems Neil is using the word "archives" quite literally: a complete curation of his body of works--not limited to previously unreeled music, and not even limited to music. It's not our fault we're still getting our heads around this. There's no precedent for this, so we really no comparison point except other box sets, and as far as I know, nobody ever explained all this in detail. But that doesn't mean we can't adjust. Back when Archives I came out, I referred to it as "The Neil Young Museum". It would be a little self-aggrandizing for Neil to actually call it that, but it's the clearest description I've yet come up with for what (I think) The Archives is meant to be.
Anyhow, I'm hopeful for the Shakey Films collection. I guess Rust Never Sleeps and Human Highway were part one of that project. I hope some of the rarely seen videos from the '80s albums pop up somewhere along the line, and maybe one of the movies is the Trunk Show?
More on Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About The Neil Young Archives But Were Afraid To Ask.