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Wednesday, February 07, 2018

‘Trans’: An Album So Controversial, The Label Sued Neil Young Over It: Revisiting The Legend’s Robot Rock Opus | Vinyl Me Please

A very in-depth look back at Neil Young’s "controversial" 1982 album ‘Trans’.

So 35 years after the ‘Trans’ release, is this album from the future finally ready for the present?

From ‘Trans’: An Album So Controversial, The Label Sued Neil Young Over It: Revisiting The Legend’s Robot Rock Opus | Vinyl Me Please by Gary Suarez:
At the age of 37, he was still too young for the legacy set. Of course, he could very easily have rested on his laurels at Geffen, doling out predictable folk and rock with or without the aid of his faithful Crazy Horse cohorts, or made moderately risky moves toward the mainstream. Neither of those options would have satisfied Young, an artist presumed difficult and genius in the same breath by fans and critics alike. So he made his most controversial and hated album ever. In line with other eyebrow-raising departures of the period like Joni Mitchell’s Dog Eat Dog or Lou Reed’s Mistrial, Trans makes an attempt at modernizing the sound of a restless creative. The effectiveness of said attempt is another story.
Full article at ‘Trans’: An Album So Controversial, The Label Sued Neil Young Over It: Revisiting The Legend’s Robot Rock Opus | Vinyl Me Please by Gary Suarez.

Also, more on TRANS: A Little Bit of Essential Neil Young | Rocket 88 and The Story of Neil Young’s Heavily Computerized, Utterly Bewildering ‘Trans’ | Ultimate Classic Rock.

Also, see Reassessing Neil Young's Geffen Records Years.

Year 1982 - Neil Young Pulled from the Future into the Past
(Out of the Blue, Into the Black)

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At 2/07/2018 12:48:00 PM, Blogger kahunasunset said...

Eh...didn’t he get sued for Everybody’s Rockin’ and Old Ways, and not Trans?

At 2/07/2018 02:25:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Fair point kahunasunset.

Yes, we believe you are technically correct. But it was TRANS, Neil's 1st Geffen release which started the ball rolling on David being upset by the "uncharacteristic" release.

TRANS set the stage for the lawsuit that eventually materialized over ER & OW.

At 2/07/2018 03:09:00 PM, Blogger mrtew said...

I've always loved this album but listening to it today it sounds BRILLIANT especially compared to his last few!

At 2/07/2018 03:14:00 PM, Blogger mark said...

......... TRANS rocked !
I fully appreciated the way Neil took the 'computer age' and made it his own.
When the tour came to Colorado the tickets were printed 'A solo acoustic evening with Neil Young' and i thought that a little strange given the direction of the new record (vinyl).
When he came out, just the Man & his guitar, ... no wires or cables, ... microphones on the harmonica holder, i was primed for something different, but i had no idea.
When he'd gotten thu the crowd pleasers, put on the wrap-around black shades & fired up the vocoder & lit into 'Computer Age' my jaw dropped & minds throughout the arena began to explode.
I could have never imagined the sounds that came from that solitary soul on stage.
The new songs, the reimagined old songs, his control/direction of the electronics & the command of his performance drew the assembled crowd into the palm of his hand.
I'd never witnessed anything like it.
I'd been a believer going in, 'twas a disciple coming out.
...... Trans ROCKED !

At 2/07/2018 05:36:00 PM, Blogger kahunasunset said...

Trans is a brilliant album, I could never see the hate for it. Only let down by Hold On To Your Love.
Hopefully we’ll get the next part of the vinyl reissue boxset this year. Also looking forward to hearing the original NY & CH versions of the songs on Archives and Solo Trans.

At 2/07/2018 05:53:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ John - which is exactly the point here that it has taken 35 years for his fans to catch up with where he was then. Although many hard core Neil fans still dismiss this album as an aberration.

Well, it was an aberration -- a postcard from the future.

We always wonder ... How did Neil know?

@ mark - wonderful memories. thanks for sharing. Our recollection is that the tour evolved as it moved across the country. We saw the east Coast version which differed pretty significantly in terms of setlist and structure. But those were hazy, crazy days...

@ kahunasunset - right, the Solo Trans material will be a nice treat from NYA.

At 2/08/2018 12:14:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Stands up well I reckon - especially compared with recent releases. 1982 ? played Wembley for 3 nights with the Trans Band I went every night the audience were not convinced from my memory it was a brave move - highlight being a great version of 'On The Way Home' which opened the set and of course Nils Lofgren dancing in front of Neil.

At 2/08/2018 01:50:00 AM, Blogger Believe said...

Trans is an amazing album.The one song that really stands out for me is "Hold Onto Your Love". Ben Keith's pedal steel wailed on that song blending in with the more modern sounds Neil was into at that time."Computer Age" is so cool. Imagine CCTB.
The Geffen years were trying times. "Life" also stands out for me too.Had some rocking songs on it and mellow songs like Inca Queen and We Never Danced.
I can go and on but gotta stop blogging for now.Believe

At 2/08/2018 08:58:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I still have the poster for the SOLO tour from Portland Oregon, but the show was canceled at the last minute because Neil was sick. It would have been my first time seeing him live. I was really disappointed but I framed the poster and it’s hanging in my living room right now.

I loved this album when it came out and was working in a record store at the time. I would say that it was controversial with the staff. Have loved it and have hated it. When the Berlin concert was broadcast on MTV it changed some minds at the store and those that didn’t like the album at first loved the concert. Neil knew what he was doing and that album holds up today as a pure work of genius.


At 2/08/2018 10:02:00 AM, Blogger Acoustic FeedBack said...

Trans is a "great record" (from Walk Hard - The Dewy Cox Story). For anyone that has messed around with trying to record vocoders, Neil's tone is brilliant. Truly a top 3 Neil Young Album to me. You cannot understand Neil Young unless you understand Trans.

Also, my first concert in my life was Neil Young at Kiel Auditorium, January 30, 1983. Neil Young Solo Trans. I remember the "U Man" on KSHE saying "I understand Neil has brought along some interesting equipment" and I was thinking "I wonder what that means". It was a great show amd the crowd loved everything he did. I remember the 'crowd o' meter' and voting which piano he should use on the next song. Dan Clear giving updates from the Super Bowl and Neil reviewing his first set on the giant TV.

At 2/08/2018 02:32:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

As a kid Trans was like an inside joke between me and my friends. "Hey did you hear Neil Young made a techno album." But none of us had actually heard it. The only Geffen era album i could ever find at the local tower records was Lucky Thirteen (which had, of course, 2 of Trans' best songs). Finally years later, i finally found a German (surprise, surprise electronica capital of the world) import copy. I instantly loved it. The album can be appreciated on many levels. Sure it's a bit campy and doesn't take itself too seriously but i think that actually makes it easier for the listener to accept. If he was talking about the budget deficit it would be hard to take seriously. Then when you start to learn about the back story, you realize there's something more than just a bunch of genre departure tunes at play here. The attempt to communicate with someone with a disability is a situation we can all sort of put ourselves into (if we're lucky enough not to have a similar story in our personal lives). And then suddenly i wish maybe the songs were a bit more autobiographical, maybe a little bit heavier thematically. But who knows what is in the mind of the artist. Perhaps the record was a chance to escape that heaviness while still coming to grips with reality. Either way Trans is a complicated ny album in more ways than one.

At 4/08/2019 01:33:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I preferred it to landing on water, that was so bad I gave it away.

At 8/02/2021 07:53:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hey, I'm listening to the Trans album right now. I'm wondering who is the person who is hitchhiking through the woods on the Trans album cover? Any thoughts? I think it is me.


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