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Sunday, November 20, 2022

Comment of the Moment: "World Record" by Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse

(now available for order here. Please shop locally & independently. But if you can't, we appreciate your supporting Thrasher's Wheat by clicking this link or YOUR COUNTRY's FLAG up @ top. Thank you!!!)

Last week, Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse's new album "World Record" dropped.

As 1st listens continue, initial reactions are pouring in -- as usual here @ TW.  So without further ado, our Comment of the Moment: "World Record" by Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse by Dan:

Just finished my first trip through World Record on clear vinyl, and this might take some time, so I apologize in advance for the lengthy post. When Colorado was released I was completely impressed with the entire album. Great lyrics, ebb and flow, and the distinctive sound of Crazy Horse in full gallop. Then came Barn, which I considered a perfect record. Loose, in the moment, and filled with heart.

As I’m sure most everyone here knows, Neil doesn’t make hits, he makes statements. Sometimes he swings and misses, sometimes he hits it into the stratosphere….this is one of those. Much like Psychedelic Pill, World Record is sequenced brilliantly. Every song feels like an introduction into the next. This is a record that needs to be heard on a nice sound system in its entirety, completely uninterrupted……and LOUD! This one has as much staying power as any of the legendary classics Neil has blessed us with over the decades. I can honestly place it in the same category as Sleeps With Angels, Tonight’s the Night, Ragged Glory, Rust Never Sleeps, On The Beach…..etc. etc. etc.

This album contains everything we’ve come to admire from these guys. Odd time signatures, wobbly vocals, unexpected instrument choices, and epic guitar work. Lyrically Neil has brought out the turn of phrase that has separated him from most lyricists. A few examples ….”Take some time to live before you die, cause the wonder won’t wait. No the wonder won’t wait for you to stand outside yourself”…..or… “On the true days, and the Lyin’ days. Where the crowd stays, and the purple haze is floating down from the sky, that’s where it shows”….or….. “ Take my life towards the endless flow, and move me with the night. I’m beyond the time I had to know, I’m waiting out of sight”. These are just a few samples of what I heard on first listen, and the lyric sheet contains them all. Neil said that he sat at the computer (which he’s never done) and just let the words come without any thought, and boy does he deliver.

Musically; everything makes sense within the context of the whole, but a few stand outs on first listen are, Love Earth, This Old Planet, Break the Chain, The Wonder Won’t Wait, and Chevrolet……which I hope someday we will hear the unedited version. These songs are all Neil in top form, and Crazy Horse is honestly the ONLY band that could pull this off with such commitment and spirit.
The Horse magic is on full display throughout….and lest we forget….. Rick Rubin. His influence is not to be overlooked, as he seems to have a magic touch with everyone he works with, and this record would have certainly sounded much different without him. I hope that he and Neil can work together again someday, they just seem like they understand each other, and they have created a masterpiece of a record. I understand that the word masterpiece gets overused a lot, but this one deserves the title. If someone wants to understand what I mean, they only need to sit down with this album with a nice stereo system, crank it up, and listen all the way through. Case closed.

Peace 🙏

Thanks so much Dan for the comment. Perceptive and intriguing.  So, "a masterpiece"?!  Lofty praise, indeed. 

We're not ready to declare as such just yet.  As you know, we've always waited awhile --sometime years -- before making a definitive declaration.  In a way, that's where we've always found the beauty of Neil's music.  That once it sinks in, it will stick, sometimes forever.  In the meantime, we're enjoying "World Record" in a somewhat bifurcated fashion w/ the early preview tracks and some interrupted stream listens.  We still need the proper full play, start to finish in order.

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At 11/21/2022 04:44:00 AM, Blogger Steve L said...

Hi Thrasher, I too am still to make my mind up on this album.

It hasn't really provoked a strong reaction from me either way. On my third listen over the weekend I actually found myself a little bit bored.

It certainly hasn't made the early positive impact that, say, Barn did.

It will be interesting to see how my opinion of it evolves over time. Over the past decade or so, the only two that I did not end up liking a lot were Storytone and Colorado.


At 11/21/2022 08:47:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Dan—What a wonderful comment! Like thrasher, I’m kinda stuck with the piecemeal approach (streaming) until my Greedy Hand order arrives. Will be easier to get a feel from beginning to end at that point. So far, the impression is softer and folkier than I perhaps expected. Walking on the Road to the Future and the Long Day Before give me Pete Seeger vibes, which is not a bad thing at all.

I’m really taken with the first couple tracks, Love Earth and Overhead. They’re full of gentle optimism and positive energy. Very touching and, for Neil, very different. So different, in fact, that I’m guessing the broader response will be quite mixed. I hesitate to say “love it or hate it”, but I see this being one of those albums that generates strong feelings one way or another.

But isn’t that always the way with NY? I look at other comments and find a healthy variety of opinions. Storytone and Colorado are favorites for me. Actually, if we must compare, I’d give Colorado a slight edge over Barn. Which just goes to show, there’s an audience for virtually all of Neil’s work. What doesn’t land for one person sometimes hits the spot for someone else.

At 11/21/2022 02:05:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Another big standout for me is ‘The World (is in trouble now)’. This one just creates something unique in the Neil universe, both musically and lyrically. It’s got a real funky vibe which I love.

Thanks to Steve L and Ian (metamorphic rocker) for your first impressions, I’m curious what others are feeling about this project. Each trip through reveals more beauty.

Peace 🙏

At 11/21/2022 02:39:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

I have been listening to Sleeps with Angels over and over again, time to really listen to World Record. A little difficult to come out of this album it is so amazing.

At 11/22/2022 01:26:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Reading reviews around the web, it’s fairly clear that this album is getting a lot of mixed reviews. I stand firmly on my assessment regardless. There does seem to be a lot of people who take great joy in putting down Neil’s records over the past decade, or two, and I’m not convinced that this trend is particularly productive, but I assume that it is simply a sign of the times. I’ve read some fairly scathing comments out there, which is disturbing to me. I don’t understand why folks feel the need to be cruel about anything, let alone a record album. Perhaps Neil is correct in his assessment that everyone is in fear, so they strike out at anything they feel threatened by. Who knows.

Peace 🙏

At 11/22/2022 03:12:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Dan, I fully agree! The really amazing thing about World Record, or any of the recent albums for that matter, is that after a 50+ year career and almost as many original albums, Neil is still surprising me. And I guess I’m not the only one. Musical surprises, that is. The themes in the lyrics shouldn’t shock anyone, given the title and track list. The “love earth” aspect is pretty much baked into all of Neil’s recent work. People will either take it or leave it. I’m just about used to the range of responses, from indifference to love to anger.

If people want Heart of Gold or Rockin’ in the Free World over again, they’re going to be disappointed. People change and Neil doesn’t make the same record twice. At least, he hasn’t yet. And that’s something to celebrate.

At 11/22/2022 06:02:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Abner, Know what you mean about Sleeps with Angels. Maybe it adds up, an album predominantly about loss being so easy to get lost in. Almost like it’s mood is mirrored in the listener, foggy malaise. As much as I talk about that album, I revisit it only erratically. It is challenging and, for lack of a better word, too “heavy” for more frequent listening.

At 11/24/2022 02:49:00 AM, Blogger David Rart said...

I have this sense that somewhere among these three patchy late Crazy Horse records is one fantastic record. A tour would probably demonstrate this by which tracks Neil chooses to play.

I really respect, and am even a bit jealous of the effort people here have put in to loving Neil's late work, though for now I've really failed to grasp a coherent listening experience from all of it, perhaps even since Prairie Wind. I listen a few times, some tracks stand out, some don't, then I try again weeks later, though I've not truly loved any of it, though respect him for still doing his thing for himself, we are lucky to have him.

Looking back on these years I think Neil's true late career high has been on stage, playing deep cuts with Promise of the Real, and more beautiful solo shows etc., and sadly, his recorded output hasn't improved like The Beatles did when they stopped touring and focused on recording!

One intriguing thing is what else he might have been doing at this time, lockdown demos etc? Are we all going to be around for Archives Volume 7 or 8?!


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