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Sunday, February 27, 2022

Every Neil Young Studio Album, Ranked | UPROXX

(Click photo to enlarge)


Sometimes you can trust the ranking, polling and voting and sometimes ... 

From Every Neil Young Studio Album, Ranked | UPROXX by ,  a very in depth look at Neil Young's career with a focus on studio album -- with a few exceptions. (Thanks Mike "Road Dawg"!)

The review begins with the following  Neil Young quote:

“I know that the sacrifice of success breeds longevity.

That’s an axiom. Being willing to give up success in the short run ensures a long run.”

We were not familiar with the quote and went hunting around for it and located in a SPIN interview when Neil Young was named 1993 Artist of the Year:

[continued] "If you’re really doing what you want to do. I think that works. I don’t know.

I won’t know for 20 years.” He broke off laughing.

Well, 30 years on from the quote, do we really know yet?  Maybe it will take another 30 years to fully comprehend the vast legacy Neil Young continues to churn out like wake from a yacht.

And so it is that the rather daunting task to ever attempt to rank or categorize or compartmentalize Neil Young's body of work given it's sprawling range, idiosyncrasies, style/genre hopping eras -- to name just a few pitfalls.

Starting with Living With War (2006) at  #42, UPROXX's Hyden valiantly trundles down the broken roads and across the superhighways attempting to explain the weirdness of the 1980's Geffen years with the even more bewildering and exhilarating post-2000 releases.

Check out Every Neil Young Studio Album, Ranked | UPROXX by .

Also, see:

Neil Young Albums From Worst To Best | Stereogum
(Click photo to enlarge)


The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time| Rolling Stone
P. 80 - 3 of Neil Young's Albums
 (Click photo to enlarge)
1. Rust Never Sleeps (1979)

More on Neil Young's albums, reviews and commentary.

Also, see Neil Young on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Times.

Also, see Neil Young: Rolling Stone | 100 Greatest Guitarists.


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At 2/27/2022 05:01:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I’m of the opinion that attempting to rank or categorize art (be it music, writing, painting, dance, compositions, etc, etc), is ultimately an exercise in futility. Concerning an artist as prolific as Neil Young, with his extensive body of work, everyone will obviously have their personal favorites, yet personal taste shouldn’t be equated into the overall value of such a vast output. Nor should numbers of unit’s sold, or a ‘Rolling Stone Magazines’ 500 greatest albums of all time list. A body of work this vast contains way too many variables to condense into a simple list.

There are different eras where Neil’s focus is represented clearly, and others where the results were more of a mixed bag of different textures. Neither one should carry more, or less weight when evaluating the whole. Each one has value. To dissect a fifty plus year career requires the ability to first accept the whole, and then begin to dig deeper into the individual works. Each one carries with it the times in which it was created.

There are internal and external elements that need to be considered before one can claim an understanding of the finished product. At the time the artist begins their work on a particular project there are things occurring within their personal lives. And in some cases those things may also be affected by historical events happening outside their personal lives. The health and well-being of the artist. Their relationships with family and friends. The current trends and fashions happening in their respective fields should also be considered. There are so many different aspects of creating works of art, and these outside elements can play a big part in the finished results. So they must be considered when assessing their individual worth, and how each relates to the whole.

As a body of work, I believe that Neil Young has created something truly extraordinary for future generations. Not only for them to enjoy, but also to learn a great lesson from. He’s an exemplary example of an artist who fearlessly follows his own heart, and refuses to be dictated by anyone else’s opinions or ideas of what he should, or shouldn’t do with his gift. He has always trusted and protected it from being infiltrated by outside forces, and this is one reason he has sustained such a long career. This may be his greatest lesson for future generations…. Stay true to yourself, first and foremost. Always trust your heart and follow the muse wherever it leads you.

When we look back on the history of art in all its forms, it has always been those who refuse to settle; pushing the boundaries of their craft. These are the artists we recall with the most admiration. The artists who are driven by their natural instincts to do the work. Not for monetary gain or public adoration, but because it must be done, because they are compelled to do it.

That is how I categorize Neil Young’s overall output, and the highest of qualities in which it exhibits for those willing to listen with an open heart and mind.

Peace 🙏

At 2/28/2022 12:44:00 AM, Blogger Tomatron said...

Fantastic read, not just some listicle. This rundown is incredibly well-written and likely to be enjoyed by any hardcore NY fan.

At 2/28/2022 07:35:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

"There is no best in music" ~ Neil Young


At 2/28/2022 10:48:00 AM, Blogger Steve L said...

My own list of favorite albums would likely change on a day to day basis depending on what mood I'm in and where I'm listening (i.e. my car list, say, would be a bit different to my fireside list...).

Having said all that, anyone who thinks LWW is Neil's overall weakest album needs to sit down and give it another listen. It's one of his best over the past 20 years, surely?

At 2/28/2022 11:08:00 AM, Blogger Tomatron said...

If you like reading about Neil’s work, check it out. The writer explains why they chose LWW to start the list with and also why they enjoy that record. Each album gets some attention and is credited with its strengths. It’s not as much about ranking the albums, more about the circumstances surrounding them, the impact they had on the public and on the author of the article, and plenty of choice Neil quotes and anecdotes. No need to get hung up on the numbering, it’s just a fun way to talk about all the studio albums and the grand scope of his career. Of course, it’s also a blast to consider how we would personally order them if we were so inclined!

At 2/28/2022 11:27:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Dan - another gem of a comment that looks to be a CotM. Many thanks for the even keel.

@ Tomatron - exactly. Not just another run of the mill catalog rundown. Actually quite personalized. Kind of thought the Harvest review pretty muched summed up the classic view on Neil ... as a romantic.

@ SONY - right, only runner ups.

@ Steve L - yes, perspective is key.

actually, one of the most enlightening observations here is how the 1980's work doesn't seem all that strange compared to some of the post 2000 work.

again, not that anyone really needs another review list, but this article makes a very sincere effort to capture both BIG NY and little NY albums.

@ Tomatron - agree that ranking NY albums is rather futile. At best, one could say neil albums fit into 3 buckets:

At 2/28/2022 12:06:00 PM, Blogger Kevin D. said...

What an interesting article. I generally agree with the proposed order of things although I would place Peace Trail, Barn and Greendale higher and LOW, The Monsanto Years, Old Ways, Reactor and Life lower but again that is just my view. As mentioned the context the article builds around each album is very interesting and provides food for thought. All I would add is maybe tracks from LWR, FIR, Americanna, Storytone, TMY, AYP and Colorado would make a great Chrome Dreams III.

Of course it all comes down to the artists vision and I will always respect Neil's vision. Needless to say it has produced hours and hours of listening delights over the years.

Kevin D. in Morro Bay

At 2/28/2022 05:22:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Often these lists seem motivated by the relentless competitiveness of our culture, although we do not even know our own dispositions. Little known novella by Dostoevsky "The Eternal Husband" that is entirely overshadowed by his great works. But over time many people have noticed subtle themes that are shockingly new and insightful. In my view, art is about inquiry. And we should all help each other out with inquiry and not compete. There is nothing more beautiful than collaboration at high levels- in art, science, religion, philosophy and so on.


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