Neil Young's new release ""World Record" w/ Crazy Horse is now available for pre-order. 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. Thank you!!!)
<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Reviews of Chrome Dreams (2023) by Neil Young + Comment of the Moment

Chrome Dreams (2023) by Neil Young

A couple of review excerpts on Chrome Dreams (2023) another lost album' by Neil Young -- who by the way -- has more lost albums' than most artists have "found" albums.

From Neil Young 68: Chrome Dreams | Everybody’s Dummy:

Chrome Dreams is a hell of an album, and an intriguing demonstration of album sequencing. 

Had it come out back then it likely would have confused people and sold poorly, and just as likely be heralded today. It would also have irrevocably changed the course of time, as we would then live in a world that never had Comes A Time or Rust Never Sleeps. Hearing all these alternate versions for the first time was game-changing, to be sure. For all its retroactive redundancy, it still deserves to be heard, if only for “Hold Back The Tears” and “Sedan Delivery”. (Footnotes: The original drawing that allegedly inspired the album title was lost in a warehouse fire, but fate managed to provide artwork of a similar vintage by none other than Ron Wood for this official release. 

Also, the album straddles his second and third Archives volumes, making organizing and navigating even crazier.) 


From First Impressions: Chrome Dreams by Neil Young | Old Grey Cat:

The now-official Chrome Dreams features far nicer, Ronnie Wood-drawn art in lieu of the original bootleg CD’s monochrome joke cover and, more importantly, much better sound.

 I’m listening via the high-resolution stream via the Neil Young Archives and, wow. If you close your eyes you’ll feel like you’re listening from the corner of Neil’s living room when he sings “Will to Love,” in which he imagines himself a salmon swimming upstream. The only pops and crackles come courtesy of the fireplace, not dirty vinyl, while the mournful “Stringman”—a live recording with overdubbed backing vocals—resonates in ways that can’t be put into words. “Sedan Delivery” runs a tad ragged, for sure, but it’s still a lotta fun. 

You can smell the Horse.


From Inside The Alternate Universe Of Neil Young's 'Chrome Dreams' by Morgan Enos:

Now that Chrome Dreams II has a I, a tantalizing question arises: if this album came out as planned, how would Young's discography be fundamentally altered? In some instances, it wouldn't be too far gone. In others, everything would change.

From Homegrown to Hitchhiker to Toast — from 1975, 1976 and 2000-2001, respectively — Young's long-shelved, recently revealed albums have proven to be inextricably linked to the ones we all know.

As such, they provide fascinating windows into his creative process — as well as what-ifs to puzzle over. Here's a guide to every song on Chrome Dreams, and how Young's discography would change if they were initially released in this form.


Here is an epic Comment of the Moment on Review of Chrome Dreams (2023) by Neil Young  by Tomatron:


Much is being made, understandably, of its songs’ existence on previous albums and collections. We do have to consider our respective currencies and the allocation of funds towards listening enjoyment. This is, after all, a $50 vinyl record we are talking about. And it’s not just the monetary value placed, but that of novelty. For those of us who never had the unofficial copy of Chrome Dreams, only two of the takes are new, and none of the songs are.

Yet this album as we hear it today is one of Neil Young’s finest works. I appreciate Davy’s highlighting of this observation. He does go into detail about where else all the songs can be found, but he also makes it a point to hold up the record as a stunning achievement on its own merits. The last thing we want is for this album to be derided as “Neil Young on shuffle”. This “previously released” paradigm is one that, having mentioned, I need to move past in order to hear this monumental album as it is, as it once was, in a world not unlike the one we know. What follows is one pathway toward that point of view…

NEIL YOUNG is “never second-guessing what could have been,” touts his record company as they promote the physical release of Chrome Dreams. Instead of second guesses, this long-awaited official version hints at the myriad of branching possibilities a form of expression might take. His albums have, since early days, included tracks from eras dating further back than the sessions at hand. Archival releases have expanded upon this conceit, unveiling entire projects previously lost to time. This has had a curious effect upon the devoted listener, taking familiar compositions and performances, placing them in a different context, and presenting us with multiple versions of the same reality. One result might be a “timelines” view of history, one in which two pieces cannot be reconciled to coexist.

A certain challenge now arises when taking in the discography chronologically, which has been exacerbated by the recent NYA catalog, particularly the Special Release Series. We are already accustomed to the Original Release Series; most of us have been at the record store experiencing at least part of this chronology in real time.

The ORS forms our first timeline. This is a world where Hitchhiker as an album never exists for almost anyone in the world, apart from the musician and his inner circle. Songs from that record were farmed out to later albums and compilations, the album itself dissolving somewhat through the process. It seems that although Neil had wanted to put Hitchhiker out as is, others had deemed it too rough and unfinished sounding.

Not to second guess, but to explore possibilities, what if Hitchhiker had been released back then? This almost certainly would mean a different Rust Never Sleeps, the key tape of Pocahontas featured there unlikely to have been revisited in this fashion. Our speculative exercise here hinges on the practice of each song made unique to a single album. For example, Pocahontas is on Rust Never Sleeps and only Rust Never Sleeps, because Hitchhiker and Chrome Dreams weren’t released. What might RNS have looked like without its three songs originally intended for Hitchhiker, and would it have existed at all? A separate timeline is formed in our perception where Hitchhiker is an album and RNS is not.

Another SRS, Homegrown, does not preclude the existence of Rust Never Sleeps. The two share no songs. Due to its final two songs, however, Homegrown does interfere with the track listing of American Stars ‘N Bars, as well as with Hawks And Doves a few years later. A couple other Homegrown songs also came out in different forms later.

Therefore, as of 2020, two distinct timelines exist: the ORS timeline, where albums were released as intended, and the H/H timeline, where intended albums Homegrown and Hitchhiker were actually released at the time. These two albums can coexist on a timeline; they share no songs, and there’s nothing saying Neil wouldn’t have put out Hitchhiker in a world where people already had Homegrown on their shelves. Following the release of Hitchhiker, some other combination of tracks from mid to late 70s sessions would have been compiled into a new record and some version of Decade. From there, the discography as we know it would have deviated further, at the very least significantly altering releases from 1990 and 2010.

How could Homegrown have happened in 1974? Its public release may have occurred as an act of the artist exercising his will. Neil decides that, despite the personal, painful nature of Homegrown, it’s worth putting out as planned. (I do hold that Tonight’s The Night could only have come after Homegrown, since its definitive artwork quotes the earlier, lost album.) And Hitchhiker? Perhaps Neil threw his weight around the boardroom, demanding Reprise stand behind it in 1976.

Now, with these two timelines already situated in our perception, enters Chrome Dreams. Let us ignore the bootleg acetate aspect for the time being (although, granted, it does have a real impact on our view of the era) and only concentrate on the officially released versions, since we are focusing on the artist’s intention and the possibilities within that depend upon choices made at important moments.

The entry of Chrome Dreams into the listener’s consciousness creates a third timeline. So many songs from the H/H tracklists are utilized here, there’s no possible way Chrome Dreams could have been released alongside these two albums. And of course it can’t hang on the Original Release Series timeline, since RNS and AS’NB would be so radically changed had Chrome Dreams seen the light of day. It could have followed Zuma no problem, but everything after would be completely different. Even Comes A Time and Freedom would have been affected by its existence.

So, Chrome Dreams optimally lives in its own discrete timeline branching off from the ORS, which is where I would like to place my mindset when listening. This eliminates the barrier to enjoyment presented by the understanding that nearly all of these songs can be found elsewhere in the ORS studio album selection. It’s a cure for that “we already have this” feeling that blunts the album’s effect as a work all its own.

Taken from this perspective, let’s accept Chrome Dreams as a three-sided record, as it is presented to us now. Sure, the bootlegged acetate may have been a single disc, but that pressing would have compromised the fidelity of the sound. Let’s hear it as the sum of sides 1, 2, and 3, in a format made possible by the present day while freed from any “previously released” constraints of the timelines we inhabit.

Chrome Dreams is introduced by the simple strummed pattern of Pocahontas, a primed canvas for the imagery that begins with “aurora borealis…” a cosmic signpost indicating dreamt possibilities ahead. Enough has been said of the song Pocahontas over the years that not too much analysis is called for here except to appreciate this legendary composition in the context of Chrome Dreams: no gloriously trippy overdubs, no audio-verite spoken intro, no full-band electrified churn. Just plainspoken storytelling, folksy and introspective speculative fiction accompanied by the woodsy reverb of Indigo studios. The what-if structure places the singer in a pre-chrome scenario, and we remember that the record came to be in a world where at least two of his albums were already “lost”. Was he dreaming of these albums as he placed Pocahontas first?

A similar aura surrounds Star Of Bethlehem, which ends Side 1 as celestially as
Pocahontas began it. It’s easy to imagine Neil considering Homegrown wistfully as he kisses off the unreleased LP with a single song that seems to say it all. Star Of Bethlehem and its all-star arrangement was meant to close out Homegrown; now it closes out the first side of Chrome Dreams, one chapter complete with so much more yet to come.

These two “lost” bookends frame one of the album’s major centerpieces: Will To Love. What a strange and epic treatise on the singer’s state of mind around this time. He’s been hurt, and he’s done some damage of his own. But he’s resolute in retaining what he values most in himself. This song was always meant to be featured prominently: not to define a record as the side’s opening track, but to stand strong as the very next statement. Absolute beauty, truly moving.

The ranch romance alluded to earlier is now given full attention on Side 2, Neil Young and Crazy Horse returning from Zuma starry eyed and sea-blasted. Here’s another old favorite given new life through resurrection of its original placement. There is an exhilaration in dropping the needle into Like A Hurricane in media res unlike any other presentation of the song. The second part of Chrome Dream splashes down in the middle of the storm, and we try to keep our heads above water as waves of Old Black and polyphonic Stringman wash over. Knowing by heart all the different Hurricane versions, we realize now that Chrome Dreams has always hosted the decisive placement of one of Neil Young’s most iconic creations.

“You could have been anyone to me”: more possibilities. The next song responds with a look back and a question: Was I too far gone for you? It’s a good question. Quick note on this one- they say Poncho didn’t know how to play the mandolin at the time of this recording. But it sure as hell sounds to me like he knew how to play it.

We’re at the halfway mark now, and we have arrived at something of a rarity, the solo rendition of Hold Back The Tears. This song functions beautifully as a continuation of the album’s acoustic center, and it reminds us that Neil was mastering the art of the studio, having recently completed Will To Love as an augmented solo performance and further developing this technique on Hold Back The Tears. The effect here is less striking than on its earlier counterpart but more refined, and the Spanish-tinged melody deftly restates the heartache motif of the album’s first half.

Side 2 closes out with Crazy Horse’s Homegrown, which also closed out Side 2 in the ORS timeline version of this record, American Stars ‘N Bars. We are really saying goodbye to the old Homegrown album here, with the Horse taking over duties and capping off their second side contributions with a laid-back canter. Its proximity to more stripped down country fare on Chrome Dreams does this crunchier Homegrown right. The song is also a refreshing palate cleanser, since things are about to get a little heavier on Side 3.

Up to this point Chrome Dreams has been mostly narrator driven, the characters people from his life, their importance to the song the role they play for him. The love interests in WTL, LAH, and TFG are examples of this type of supporting character who reflect the narrator’s romantic observations. Side 3 is a big departure from this focus. Most of its songs revolve around specific characters that seem to have been dreamt up by the singer. Likewise, its themes depart substantially from the passion and lost love that dominated the first two sides of Chrome Dreams. Now we are talking war.

Captain Kennedy makes his earliest appearance here. He hasn’t been relegated to a “hodgepodge” position halfway into Hawks And Doves, and he’s not one more great tune in a solo studio set. He is a key figure of the Chrome Dreams mythos, introducing the game-changing third part of Neil Young’s lost 1977 saga. Captain Kennedy is unsure of his abilities, and he is trapped in the destiny I to which he was born, following in his disgraced father’s footsteps. One gets the impression that despite his hope that he can “kill good”, he’s not going to make it out alive.

Rumination on the effects of war on a man’s identity continue uninterrupted with Stringman, whose sarge has been displaced by social change. His soul is likely the one Neil says is gone, along with those of the lovers on the blanket. This analogy brings the war home in a way that is too complex to fathom rationally. Stringman then becomes personal as Neil sings for a friend of his, applying the pain of these distant characters to someone he clearly cares about.

After all these years living as a Neil Young fan in the ORS timeline, it’s a heavy realization to discover that Captain Kennedy and the sarge of Stringman have been standing side by side all along. But we’re not even done contemplating the pain of war. Our poor young protagonist, Powderfinger, is faced with it before he’s ready. He does the best he can in a violent situation that is out of his control. We suspect he doesn’t make it out alive, but through the possibility of song, his story has made it through. On Chrome Dreams, his end is foreshadowed by the uncertainty of Captain Kennedy as he too heads into war.

Into this suite of wartime meditations slips Neil Young’s most nihilistic character, the Sedan Delivery guy. He is right at home among these lost and doomed souls. We can hear that he’s in over his head, but he hasn’t begun to admit it to himself. There’s a good chance he never will. Through his chaotic, insular, jaded worldview, he has drummed up only dark possibilities for his own future. He may have eschewed the “boats and armies” favored by Caesar and Cleo, but he’s embraced the dead end of war all the same through the titular job that he knows he’ll keep.

Before long, Crazy Horse will take Sedan on the road to deliver at breakneck speed. But they don’t know that yet. For now, the early Zuma track rattles along, boiling over with effected menace. And having featured one of the first times these four guys would ever record together, Chrome Dreams finishes eerily with Look Out For My Love, a standout track that sticks out like a sore thumb on Comes A Time the following year. Acoustic, the Horse brought the spook with them this time, and LOFML fits Chrome Dreams perfectly as its closing statement. Impressionistic, mantra-like, simultaneously foreboding and hopeful, it leaves us with the sense that anything could happen next.

Finally, etched into Side 4 is an image so perfect in its simplicity that it evokes an almost totemic cohesion, pulling the disparate sessions together into a whole, Chrome Dreams finally realized as a tangible item fifty-some years after the fact. In fact, the art of Chrome Dreams speaks to the “lost” aspect of the album as well as to its inherent immediacy. The paper sleeves resemble the old acetate that was photographed to be circulated with the beloved bootleg. On the back is an old prototype handwritten tracklist with alternate songs considered. The cover drawing by Ronnie Wood is era-appropriate, and thematically fitting, as we recall that David Briggs’s original “Chrome Dreams” artwork is truly lost. What a fortuitous boon, that long gone sketch somehow replaced by this 1976 penciled depiction of Neil Young, dreaming away into the chrome.


Major thanks Tomatron for the epic review.  Appreciate the effort.  Much to unpack on this lost and found work.

Also, see Video Review: Neil Young - Chrome Dreams 2023.

Neil Young - Chrome Dreams 2023 Review  
(See Video Review: Neil Young - Chrome Dreams 2023)
Chrome Dreams by Neil Young 
Art by Ronnie Wood, Christmas '76 
 (See Chrome Dreams by Neil Young - UPDATED)

Labels: , ,


At 8/22/2023 06:57:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

This is immense. Thanks.

At 8/23/2023 01:27:00 PM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/23/2023 07:11:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

A worthy recipient for Comment of the Moment to be sure…..

Also a truly well written and articulate piece of writing that (for me anyway) says everything anyone needs to know about this record. I completely agree with the fact that this record is essential due in large part to the sequencing. That was my first impression when I played it for the first time. As I never owned the bootleg, it was a real revelation for me on that first listen.

I understand those who might have thought that because many of the song titles had already been released, that this would be an automatic pass. But they are sadly missing out on something quite extraordinary here. This album is a real testament to Neil’s genius, and anyone who hears it will understand why.

I passed on the vinyl because of the high price, but now that I’ve heard it, I will definitely be buying said vinyl very soon. Even my wife said after we played it once that, “you definitely need this on vinyl, regardless of the price”!

Peace 🙏

At 8/24/2023 01:33:00 PM, Blogger das814 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/26/2023 03:10:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

This album is well reviewed here, Thank you!

I did not intend to buy this album or call in love with it, but it obviously is very interesting to us hard core Neil Young fans & Timeline students. I am listening on NYA right now. A strong bunch of songs, and I appreciate what the writer / editor, & commenters have said.

Too Far Gone sounds less poetic with the redundant use of the word “Favorite.” It takes away from the power of the song, because it is irrelevant & too repetitive. The final song born in Freedom is a far superior lyric.

Hold Back The Tears does sound a bit ragged but interesting & a pleasure to hear! I am a big fan of American Stars n Bars, so this is fun, a song in Utero.

Sedan Delivery is one of Neil’s favorite to play. It is like punk rock in 1976, the year of the Sex Pistols & The Clash. And I thought he wrote it in ‘77 or ‘78. But he had already done Time Fades Away & TNT by then! I am so grateful the Godfather of Grunge plays on!

Your brother Alan in Seattle


Post a Comment

<< Home

<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Willie for a Nobel!

Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize
for Farm Aid and his work on
alternative fuels, and world peace initiatives.

Farm Aid

Go Farmers Markets!

"In the >field< of opportunity
It's plowin' time again."

Silverline Communications

(Home of the FarmAidians)
Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
(519) 737-7979

This blog supports free speech!

Demand justice for Aaron:
Support "Aaron's Law" and inquiry into his prosecution

(... he didn't kill himself either...) #AaronDidntKillHimself

Induct Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Please Help Support Independent Media &
Non-Corporate Advertising
This Blog's For You!

The Hypocrisy of the Mainstream Media

It's Been Called The
"Missing Link" in the Ditch Trilogy


Sign the Release "Time Fades Away" Petition
Join The 10,000+ Who Have Already Signed


Neil Young Appreciation Society

Sugar Mountain

Neil Young Setlists
Rust Radio


Bands Covering Neil Young songs


Official Neil Young News Site

The Bridge School

The Bridge School Concerts
25th Anniversary Edition

**100% of Proceeds to Benefit Bridge School***

The Essential Neil Young

Fans Favorite Neil Albums

Top 50 MP3
Neil Young Song Downloads

Top 10 Best Selling Neil Albums Today
Support Thrasher's Wheat
via Purchases from:
United States - us.gif
Canada - canada.gif
United Kingdom - gb.gif
Germany - de.gif

Neil Young Songbook Project

In the fields of wheat

"Children of Destiny" will NOT be harvested
However, the chaff will be burned by unquenchable fire

Neil Young + Promise of the Real

Europe 2016 Tour Dates

2015 Rebel Content Tour

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Alchemy Concert Tour Reviews

Fall 2012 N. America Tour
Spring 2013 Australia/New Zealand Tour
Summer 2013 Europe Tour

Europe Summer 2014 Concert Tour
Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Thrasher's Wheat Radio Supporters Go To Europe

Neil Young Films

2010 MusiCares Honors Neil Young

Features Elvis Costello, Crosby Stills & Nash, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, Ben Harper, Elton John, Norah Jones, Lady Antebellum, Dave Matthews, James Taylor, Keith Urban, and others.
Proceeds from sales go to MusiCares,
which helps musicians in need of
financial and medical assistance.


"There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye"



Neil Young FAQ:
Everything Left to Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker
"an indispensable reference"

Paul McCartney and Neil Young


"You can make a difference
If you really a try"

John Lennon and Neil Young

"hailed by fans as a wonderful read"

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
The Supergroup of the 20th Century

Director Jonathan Demme's Exquisite film "Heart of Gold"

eddie & neil
Eddie Vedder and Neil Young

Revisiting The Significance of
The Buffalo Springfield

"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
tweeted, shared and liked
The Embarrassment of Mainstream Media

Turn Off Your TV & Have A Life

"Everything Is Bullshit" +
"Turn Off The News"
Turn Off the News (Build a Garden)

Neil Young 2016 Year in Review:
The Year of The Wheat

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain and Neil Young

Neil Young's Feedback:
An Acquired Taste?

Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years
by Rustie Sharry "Keepin' Jive Alive in T.O." Wilson

"the definitive source of Neil Young's formative childhood years in Canada"

neil & joni
Joni Mitchell & Neil Young

europe 1987.jpg

Bob and Neil

So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?

Four Dead in Ohio
kent state
So What Really Happened at Kent State?

The Four Dead in Ohio

May The FOUR Be With You #MayThe4thBeWithYou


dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

Rockin' In The Free World

Sing Truth to Power!
When Neil Young Speaks Truth To Power,
The World Listens

Emmylou Harris and Neil Young

Wilco and Neil Young


Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young


Elton John and Neil Young

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young


The Meaning of "Sweet Home Alabama" Lyrics

Neil Young Nation -
"The definitive Neil Young fan book"

What does the song mean?

Random Neil Young Link of the Moment

Bonnie Raitt and Neil Young

I'm Proud to Be A Union Man


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up

Class War:
They Started It and We'll Finish It...

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"
Full Disclousre Now

"I've Got The Revolution Blues"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize

John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel



Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what a friend had said,
I was hoping it was a lie"

We're All On
A Journey Through the Past

Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH
(we can handle it... try us)

Does Anything Else Really Matter?

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

Here Comes "The Big Shift"

Maybe everything you think you know is wrong? NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
... and symbolism will be their downfall...

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists

"Children of Destiny" - THE Part of THE Solution

(Frame from Official Music Video)

war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

"greed is NOT good"
Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”
~~ Bob Marley

The Essence of "The Doubters"

Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Even Though The Music Died 50+ Years Ago
Open Up the "Tired Eyes" & Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?


Show Me A Sign

"Who is John Galt?"
To ask the question is to know the answer

"Whosoever shall give up his liberty for a temporary security
deserves neither liberty nor safety."

~~ Benjamin Franklin


(Between the lines of age)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

~~ John & Paul

the zen of neil
the power of rust
the karma of the wheat