Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Neil Young album by album




I seriously admire Neil Young. I saw him live in 2008 at the Hammersmith Odeon, and it was one of the most sublime experiences of my life. He is a superb talent who has the power to make the sum of what he does so much greater than the individual parts. There is a resonance, depth, and significance to his work that is somewhat moving and disturbing.

He is not an innovator as such, though his electric guitar work can be original and creative at times. But mostly he is working within a somewhat folk based singer-songwriter tradition. His stance and attitude is fiercely individualistic, somewhat rebellious, art based, conservative, yet embracing change. He is a puzzle. He is not a rock star, he is an artist. That is how he would see himself, and that is how most of his fans would see him.

He has been around a long time - he first came to notice in Buffalo Springfield (where he wrote "Mr Soul", a complex song that still intrigues people, and which he still plays live), though he had started his career slightly earlier than that when he formed The Squires in 1966, recording a few tracks, then in 1966 he hitch-hiked down from Canada to sign to the Motown record label with the band The Mynah Birds. They only recorded a handful of tracks, one of which was "It's My Time".  After Buffalo Springfield broke up he started his solo career, though also occasionally working with the supergroup Crosby Still & Nash (when they would be termed Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young).  On his solo albums he sometimes works with the band Crazy Horse in much the way that Bob Dylan worked with The Band.

I think that one of the reasons for Young's respected status is that he takes himself seriously - he has that authenticity that some people (like myself) value highly, and which is sadly quite rare among rock musicians. Artists who have it include Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Bob Dylan, and Led Zeppelin, who consequently are highly respected and commercially successful even when working in niche musical areas.


Albums (chronologically)


Buffalo Springfield (1966)

"For What It's Worth", a Steven Stills song,  is stunning.  The rest of the album doesn't match that quality, but is listenable. Around half the songs were written by Stills, and half by Young. Young doesn't really stand out.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 8
BestEverAlbums: 1799th
Score: 3 1/2


Buffalo Springfield Again (1967)
Only three of the songs were by Young, but they are three bloody good ones: "Mr Soul", "Expecting To Fly", and "Broken Arrow".  This is a much stronger album than the debut, and really shows the emergence of a major talent.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 10
BEA: 1259th
Score: 4 1/2

Last Time Around  (1968) 

Pleasant and assured, but quite unremarkable. The band were breaking up, and there seemed to be little energy or enthusiasm to make a good album. Minimal contribution from Young, and not much more from Stills - the slack being taken up by the other members of the band. This is an inoffensive middle of the road pop focused folk-pop album, sometimes sounding a bit like something from Burt Bacharach, but that's OK. Overall a more confident and professional album than the debut, but without the charm, and without "For What It's Worth". The middle album, Buffalo Springfield Again, is the main album by this band, and the main focus of interest for those looking into Neil Young, 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 6
Score: 3 1/2


Neil Young (1969)

Released after Buffalo Springfield broke up, this is his first solo album. It's a pleasant and interesting album, and it shows his potential, but he's not quite there yet.

Score: 4


Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)

A rocky country rock album. This is the first with Young's electric backing band Crazy Horse.  A bright, confident, and assured album. Tracks like "Down By The River" are at the heart of Young's electric/rock music, with blistering guitar work, and an authentic and original approach to rock music and electric guitar that would prove to be hugely inspirational for succeeding generations.  Breath-taking. This is no longer pop, this is art. Not experimental, but done and delivered.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 10
BEA: 232rd
Score: 9

Déjà Vu (March 1970) 

I adore this album.  If you've never heard it, get it now. At the invitation of Stephen Stills, Young joined Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 10
BestEverAlbums: 280th
Score: 10


After The Goldrush (Sept 1970)
This is one of the high achievements of mankind. A work of staggering beauty and high art. Totally unique, with an emotional depth that exceeds the words and music. Something wonderfully magic happens on this album that is hard to define or explain. The title track is quite possibly the greatest song ever written.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 10
BEA: 83rd
Score: 10



4 Way Street (1971)  (Live compilation)

Live album.  I've dipped into this now and again over the years, and it's never really appealed to me. The tour was notorious for the tensions and arguments in the band. All four members are talented, and there is something very special when they are together. But the real artist, the significant figure that lifts them out of the pleasant, everyday, is Neil Young. The other three could write pleasant hippy songs and harmonious beautifully, but Young brought an edge, an attitude, and an authenticity that lifted Deja Vu into a work of art. It wasn't just him, but he really lifted it to perfection. This album, by contrast, is more CS&N than CSN&Y, and it fails because of that. It's OK, and it sold because the band were really famous, and those that bought it still love it as a record of the time, but it's actually mostly quite boring. It doesn't help that the recording is poor, sounding like a bootleg. Mostly the four of them give solo performances, leaning heavily on their own solo material, so this isn't CSN&Y at all. But Stills and Young play together now and again, providing the best bits.  This is a seriously over-rated album - the cuts of Stills & Young heroically working their way through "Southern Man" and "Carry On" together, are not that great to make up for having to wade through the dire solo efforts of Crosby and Nash. On the whole this is an album best avoided, except out of sheer curiosity.

Score: 2 1/2

Harvest (1972)

A widely acknowledged classic. My preference is for After The Goldrush, but this comes a close second, and I understand why it would be many people's favourite. Some great songs, and a good vibe on the whole album.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 9
BestEverAlbums: 103rd
Score: 9 1/2


Journey Through The Past (1972)  (Compilation)

Soundtrack to an (apparently unsuccessful)  experimental film made by Young. The soundtrack is a collection of recordings made throughout Young's career up to the date of the film. The bulk of the material itself would be known to the audience, though the recordings themselves are unique, being alternative recordings or live performances of Buffalo Springfield, CSN&Y and Young.  Individually,  some of the tracks are interesting or worthwhile - a funky live version of Southern Man, and a typically disturbing Neil Young original "Soldier", which would later be included on Decade. but the whole is rather messy.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 4
Score: 4

Time Fades Away (1973) (Live original)

Live album of new material recorded on the Harvest tour when audiences were expecting songs they were familiar with. Apparently Young was mostly drunk and bad tempered on tour, and was disliked by band (The Stray Gators) and audience alike.  I like this. None of the songs stand out individually, but there's a coherent feel to the album of a man finding it difficult to come to terms with himself and his success as he enters a period known as the Ditch Trilogy, when he records three dark and awkward albums that were initially rejected by critics and audiences, but which have come to be highly respected.

Wikipedia
AllMusic:  8
Score: 5

On The Beach (1974)

This is rather loose, sparse, and difficult to like at first. It's the title track "On The Beach" that offers a way in, being an attractive bluesy piece with echoes of early Fleetwood Mac ("Black Magic Woman") and Van Morrison ("TB Sheets"), though not quite matching either. It's a mainstream rock album, and is not really in Young's core styles of acoustic folk or grungy rock.  Highly regarded by many, I've still not quite got it. 

Reviews: CoS, BBC, The Quietus, Pitchfork, Sputnik, Audioxide; Clash.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 10
BestEver: 230th
Score: 5


Tonight's The Night (1975)

Loose, rough, ragged. Some see this as Young grieving and despairing because of friends dying and his dissatisfaction with the superficiality of the stardom he had achieved. The album was recorded before On The Beach but withdrawn from release either by Young or by his record company (stories vary). I kinda like it more than On The Beach.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 10
BestEverAlbums: 437th
Score: 6


Zuma (1975)

When I bought this album in 1975 I was unsure of it, and I still am.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 9
BEA: 1090th
Score: 5

Long May You Run (1976) 

With Stephen Stills. A pleasant but indifferent album. Wallpaper music mostly.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 6
Score: 3

American Stars 'n Bars (1977)

Patchy and dull, with a lot of uninspired country songs. Side Two, consisting of songs recorded several years earlier, is the stronger and more interesting, containing the tentative but fascinating "Will To Love" (May 1976) and the stunning "Hurricane" (Nov 1975 - the Zuma sessions). Why "Hurricane" was left off Zuma is odd. Yes, the playing by Crazy Horse is crude, with some lumpen drumming, and Young's voice is a bit ragged, but that guitar is fucking mind-blowing. While it's in the Zuma mould, it beats everything on that album easily, including "Cortez the Killer." As "Hurricane" is on Decade, and there are better recorded versions of it live on other albums, this is a non-essential album - not worth wading through all the crap country stuff to get to it when it's available on good albums.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 6
Score: 2


Decade  (1977) (Compilation)
A compilation set chosen by Young. Very useful if overlong. 

Wikipedia
AllMusic:
Score: 5 1/2


Comes A Time (1978)

A return to the gentle and reflective acoustic country folk style of Harvest. Very warm, attractive and comforting. Very likeable, yet also quite forgettable. Nothing quite takes off. And nothing quite stays in the mind or soul. This feels kinda superficial. It's nice. But it melts in the Sun. Don't get too close. 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 9
BEA: 2206th
Score: 5


Rust Never Sleeps (1979) (Live original)

A great album. It came out when the punk attitude had settled down into being mainstream, and Young showed he was fully on board with that, yet also still able to operate in a folky vibe as well. All new material, yet recorded live (with studio overdubs). One side acoustic, the other side electric, this is both sides of a supremely talented and unique individual. 

Wikipedia
AllMusic:  10
BEA: 363rd
Score: 9


Live Rust (Nov 1979) (Live compilation)

This is a typical Neil Young oddity. Rust Never Sleeps was a live album. He toured to promote the album. This is the album of that tour, and contains four live songs from the live album, which sound pretty much the same. The rest of the album is a compilation of live versions of songs which had been compiled on Decade fairly recently. So there is a feeling of duplication. We're a few years down the road now, so that feeling of redundancy is not so acute, but there is still the sense that this album is not doing anything which hasn't already been done, so it still feels a bit redundant.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 9
BEA: 1227th
Score: 4


Hawks & Doves (1980)

This is an odd one. Oh, look it's the Eighties. I don't think any established artist produced a worthwhile album during the Eighties. An odd time.  Anyway, this is a flippant and trivial album. It doesn't really sound like Young at all most of the time.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 6
BEA: 5864th
Score: 3


Re-ac-tor (1981)

A rocky album with no depth.  The general explanation for the poor quality of Young's early Eighties albums is that he was distracted by the complications of his son's cerebral palsy. "Shots" is the one decent track.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 4
Score: 3


Trans (1982)
Here we go with the Eighties synth. What an awful decade for music. Give it a miss. 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 4
Score: 2


Everybody's Rockin'  (1983)

Mediocre and superficial rockabilly - some covers, some original Young material. All of it bad. The most superficial album he's made. Some commentators say this album was a deliberate fuck off to Geffen who asked Young to make a rock and roll record. But I'm not seeing that. It looks like he's taking the job seriously, and delivering what he feels to be a record with the same sound, feel, and production values of the early Elvis years, and there's a lot of affection and respect in the material and recording. Young has said a number of positive things about the album. There's no suggestion either in the album itself, or anything that he has said about it, that this was a piss take. Indeed, that seems rather insulting to Young, the people involved, and the period that Young was homaging. Young is as capable of making a duff record as anyone else, and to suggest that Young's duff records are because Young deliberately made them duff, indicates to me that perhaps people are thinking that Young is somehow an infallible god.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 4
Score: 2


Old Ways (1985)

A country album. And a poor one. It sounds like a joke. Is it? 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 6
Score: 2


Landing On Water (1986)

Few established musicians made great albums during the Eighties. Most followed the trend for drums up front, big production, and plenty of synths. But these things were a passing fad, they weren't good at the time, and sound especially empty and superficial today. This is Young's typical Eighties album, carrying all the Eighties flaws. Does he and his songs survive it? Looking at a range of reviews, the general consensus is that he doesn't emerge well, but there are some who feel the album has been unfairly criticised. 

Wikipedia 
Rolling Stone 1986 review
AllMusic: 4
Score: 2 1/2


Life (1987)

Young's best Eighties album. But it's poor. Upfront simplistic thumping drums, typical of the Eighties style, clash with an attempt to recapture some of the mood and attitude of Rust Never Sleeps.

Wikipedia  
AllMusic: 6
Score: 3 1/2


This Note's for You  (1988)
The Eighties seemed to be a period when Young played around with different music styles, and never got close to being an artist. All the music he produced during the Eighties is slight and superficial. This is modestly likeable because brassy R&B is likeable, but it's throwaway stuff. Listen out of curiosity only. 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 6
Score: 2 1/2


American Dream (1988)

An Eighties album. The band sound like a middle of the road rock band. Sometimes they sound like a synth-pop band. Sometimes they sound like The Police. It's messy and inconsequential, but not horrid. OK background music.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 4
Score: 2 1/2

Freedom (1989)
The decade is over and Young returns to form. "Rockin' in The Free World" restored his reputation, just as the glorious Nineties was about to open up.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 9
BEA: 1942th
Score: 5

Ragged Glory (1990) 
Neil "The Godfather of Grunge" Young returns to splendid form just as grunge emerges for real. This is a blistering album, with smoke and sparks coming out of Young's slow grungy guitar. It may not have the ideas, originality, art and depth of his Seventies albums, but it's close. 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 9
BEA: 1365th
Score: 6

Weld (1991)  (Live compilation)
Another live summary of his work, with an emphasis on recent albums. It's good stuff. Is it essential? No, but it's a useful summary of his rock and electric guitar work at the start of the Nineties. 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 9
Score: 5


Arc  (1991) (Live original)
A sound collage of various noises made during concerts - mostly feedback and the beginnings and endings of songs. Such sound collages are an interesting idea, but rarely work. The Faust Tapes is a notable example of a collage that REALLY works, but Arc is an example of one that doesn't. There's nothing to hold it together, and there's little actually musical control over the resulting sound, so it remains just that - sound. If it was an original idea, then we can give Young some credit, but it's not. So this is one on which to pass as it fails on every level. . 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 4
Score: 1


Harvest Moon  (1992)
A return to the sound and feel of his early Seventies acoustic period. Pleasant, and with some really good songs such as "Harvest Moon", but overall doesn't have the perfect touch and emotional resonance of his best acoustic albums.  

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 7
BEA: 1152nd
Score: 5 1/2

Unplugged (1993)  (Live compilation)

An uneven and mostly mediocre live performance. Apparently this was the second attempt. Listenable, and occasionally quite touching, but not an essential album.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 6
Score: 4 1/2

Sleeps With Angels (1994)

A brooding and emotionally intense album with some great songs. This is up there with his best, and on a par with Tonight's The Night and Time Fades Away. Give this one some respect. It deserves and repays close attention.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 7
BEA: 3013th
Score: 7

Mirror Ball (1995)
A collaboration with Pearl Jam. It's OK. 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 6
Score: 4

Broken Arrow (1996)
There's a Zuma feel about this. I like this. I find this more accessible than Zuma

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 5
Score: 7


Year Of The Horse  (1997) (Live compilation)

Another live album of  old material. Hmmmm. I like it. Worth comparing with Weld.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 5
Score: 5


Looking Forward  (1999)

A number of long standing major artists produced awful albums in the Eighties, but had a resurgence in the spirit of the Nineties. CSN&Y weren't one of them. This is an indifferent album that would be completely ignored if it were by anyone other than the artists involved, and even then it was largely ignored. To be fair, the band are working together on this, rather than the solo effects they had contributed to 4 Way Street, and the songs (on the whole) return to their strengths rather than attempt to keep up with current musical fashion as on American Dream, so it is stronger and more pleasant than those two albums. I considered this as non-essential at first, but the more I listen, the more I am warming to it..

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 5
Score: 4 1/2


Silver & Gold (2000)

A very attractive Harvest type album. Nothing wrong with this, except that Young has done this sort of thing before, and better, so there's a sense of treading water to the point of almost being boring, but the warmth of the songs and the performance compensates for that. Decent stuff. A lot of long term major artists were looking back in the Naughties, so this was quite in keeping with Young's overall musical journey - he was generally pretty much doing what everyone else was doing, even if at times it seemed he was doing what wasn't expected in reality he was.  And as was typical in the work of other longstanding major artists in the Naughties and Naughteens, there's an air of nostalgia about this album, which is quite affecting.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 6
Score: 5 1/2


Road Rock Vol 1 (2000) (Live compilation)

A live electric album. There's no doubt Young is a major talent, and is fascinating for his command of both touching acoustic material and blistering grungy electric material, and sometimes the combination of both, but there's a certain frustration that he wasn't able to successfully explore or develop beyond his comfort zone. The attempts he made in the Eighties to go beyond "Neil Young" were not successful, and he no doubt felt a little uncertain of trying it again because it seems he never did. The legend is that Young is a supremely confident maverick who does what he likes, but the reality is that he ploughed a very narrow field throughout his career.  Having said that, this is a bloody good album. There's nothing here that Young has not done before, but he does it well. Indeed, at this stage in his career, he does it very well. The opener, an extended, fluid, blistering, beautiful "Cowgirl In The Sand" is pretty breathtaking.  I'm OK with this album.

Wikipedia
AllMusic:
Score: 5 1/2

Are You Passionate?  (2002) 

Generally regarded as Young's worse album (UCRRSAM) this is mainly tired old soul pastiche songs backed by some members of the MG's (but not Steve Cropper) plus a couple of dull songs backed by Crazy Horse. I quite like the soul songs, and though they are a little old and clichéd, there's a warmth and a swing to them that works for me. On the whole, though, when Young wanders away from his core styles, he tends to come across as rather thin and middling. It's a pleasant, but very modest album.


Wikipedia
AllMusic: 4
Score: 4 


Greendale (2003)
A plodding along album. Nothing much of magic here. Listenable but unremarkable. It's a song cycle about a boring family in some boring fictional town in America. Gee fucking whizz. There is a sound here kinda similar to Reed and Cale's Songs For Drella,  and who knows, that might have been a starting point. 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 7
Score: 3 1/2


Greatest Hits (2005)

 A great selection. Probably one of the greatest Greatest Hits albums ever.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 10
Score: 9 1/2


Prairie Wind  (2005)
Moderately interesting. It never quite takes off, but it's generally listenable in a familiar elderly Neil Young way.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 7
Score: 4


Living With War  (2006)

Worthy but bombastic and obvious. Or it is worthy and bombastic and obvious? Go donate some money to your favourite charity and wear a hair shirt for an hour. You'll enjoy that experience more, and you'll be doing something genuinely worthy.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 7
Score: 2


Living With War - in The Beginning (Dec 2006

A different, earlier, mix of Living With War  (2006). 

Wikipedia
AllMusic:
Score: 1 1/2


Live At The Fillmore East (Nov 2006) (Archives - live)

Recorded during Young's 1970 tour with Crazy Horse. This is the first in the series of Archives releases (similar to Dylan's Bootleg series).

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 9
Score:


Live At Massey Hall 1971 (Archives - live)
Released as part of Young's Archives series, which, similar to Dylan's Bootleg series, aims to release various previously officially unreleased live recordings. Young then expanded the series to include all his recorded material, available to download or stream for subscribers to his Archives website.

This is a beautiful album, capturing Young at his acoustic peak.  Essential.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 9
Score: 9


Chrome Dreams II (2007)

Chrome Dreams I is an unreleased album from 1977. I'll look into why Young named this album as II given that I wasn't released.

Wikipedia
AllMusic:
Score:


Déjà Vu Live  (2008)  (Live compilation)

This is Neil Young's tour for his album Living With War, on which he invited CS&N to join him, during which they played their own war related songs from their past, including two tracks from Deja Vu ("Deja Vu" and  "Teach Your Children". The title, as such, appears to be misleading, yet as the album unfolds the intention becomes clear. CSN&Y (as a group and as individual members) were protesting about war in the Sixties and Seventies, and they are doing so now - deja vu indeed! This is a coherent and compelling album, the best thing the collective have done since Deja Vu, and more interesting and important and more CSN&Y than 4 Way Street.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 6
Score: 6 1/2 




Fork In The Road  (2009)
Yeah, it's got trademark Young all over it. There's nothing new or unexpected here. There's a nostalgic feel about it. A competent and attractive album. Not essential, but pleasant enough.
Wikipedia
AllMusic: 9
Score: 3 1/2


Dreamin' Man Live '92 (Archives - live)

An Archives release of Young playing tracks for Harvest Moon live to audiences before the album was released. This is mainly of archival interest to fans, and is the stuff that others would put on deluxe issues of classic albums, and is general the side that most listeners would play once, and then forget. Not that its bad, just that these are alternative takes to the real thing. What's the point, other than curiosity?

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 7
Score: 3


Le Noise (2010)

This is a weak album. Poorly written songs full of cliches. It's like he's returned to the bemusing Eighties where he was accused of making noncommercial records. This sounds like an artist out of ideas, whose running on empty. It sounds tired. It is tired. 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 6
Score: 2


Americana  (2012)

Ah! Young has pulled himself together, and produced a more engaging, spirited, humorous, creative, entertaining, and thoughtful album than he has for ages. He takes traditional "Americana" songs, and discovers something new and dark in them. Utterly fascinating and provocative. Everyone who listens to this will have an opinion. Not to be missed! 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 4
Score: 8 1/2 


Psychedelic Pill  (2012)

There's a Nirvana Unplugged feel about the sound on this, albeit this is grungy Young playing with Crazy Horse, and there's also a feel of the nostalgic Rod Stewart on his Naughteens albums, and even a bit of the reflective Dylan revealing his personal life on "Sara". The album mostly drifts along in a sub-Zuma style, not saying or doing anything new, but doing it pleasantly enough. The 16 minute "Walk Like A Giant" is the  best piece here, and would sit well on Zuma.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 7
Score: 4


Live At The Cellar Door (Archives - live)

This a lovely moment in time - early acoustic Young in 1970, playing songs mostly from After The Gold Rush, but a few others, including "See the Sky About to Rain" that appeared on  On The Beach in 1974. Non essential, but quite likeable - the performances are very nice, but not superior to the album versions

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 8
Score: 3 1/2

A Letter Home (2014) (Covers album)

By the Naughteens most longstanding major artists had released at least one covers album. Some, like Johnny Cash and Rod Stewart, had released an entire series of covers albums which had attracted both commercial and critical success. In Cash's case, the covers albums were largely seen as the best work of his considerable career. This is Young's covers album. And it sucks. Then again, this has a lot of similarities with the Eighties Everybody's Rockin'  album; but this, irritating though it is with the reading out of the letters, and the deliberately low-fi sound, is perhaps a more cohesive and deliberate work of art. It fails, but credit for the attempt. Not just a covers album, but something somehow richer and deeper. In a sense though this is the flaw with Young's talent - he is a little too limited with it. He looks for the easy shots, trusting to intuitive feel.  When playing live he has an array of guitars out for him to pick, and he'll make a show out of deciding which one to use. To most of the audience, except perhaps the OCD geeks who go to every show and know all of Young's guitars and the colours of all his socks, it doesn't matter which guitar he selects as long as the song sounds good. How an artist gets there is interesting, but it's where the artist arrives that really matters. In fact, we're only interested in how an artist gets there, if the destination is worthwhile. That he has placed a lot of personal feel into this album only matters if the result was worth hearing, and it's not. 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 7
Score: 1 1/2


Storytone  (2014)
O dear. Is this his worse album? Give me some time and I'll think more on this, but with so many albums to get through, I'm inclined to prioritise re-listening to the more interesting and worthwhile albums. 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 6
Score: 1 1/2


The Monsanto Years  (2016)

Nope.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 7
Score: 2


Bluenote Cafe (Archives - live)

Live album recorded in the Eighties. Part of the Archives series.  This was the live tour of 1988's R&B album,  This Note's for You. The band he uses are not very fluid, so this is rather lumpen and crude R&B. This live R&B is worse than the studio - betraying that Young is not an R&B artist. He adds nothing to it, and he does not feel authentic, which is his usual unique selling point. 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 7
Score: 2


Earth  (2016) (Live compilation)
Young has a hippy interest in Mother Earth and conservation, and this is a record of his tour with Promise of the Real in which they play ecological songs from Young's past, including tracks from The Monsanto Years  (2016). Added to the mix are random animal noises. It's earnest and boring. 

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 7
Score: 2

Peace Trail  (2016)

This is the antithesis of albums like After The Gold Rush.  There's no feel, no authenticity, no care. It sounds like Young and some musicians turned up unrehearsed, didn't quite gel with each other, and attempted to knock off an album with a handful of mediocre songs. It doesn't sound bad, because Young has such an attractive voice, and can do things that others can't, but it does sound careless and trivial.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 4
Score: 2 1/2


Hitchhiker (Archives - studio)

Another Archives release. Quickly and sparsely recorded in 1976 when Young was doing good things, the finished result sounds like demos, which is what the record company said. But, rather than give these songs the finished treatment they deserved, Young dumped the album. The songs, apart from two, have emerged on various Young albums over the years. Let's compare them:

"Pocahontas"                        Hitchhiker version           Rust Never Sleeps version
"Powderfinger"                    Hitchhiker version           Rust Never Sleeps version
"Captain Kennedy"              Hitchhiker version           Hawks & Doves Version
"Ride My Llama"                Hitchhiker version           Rust Never Sleeps version
"Hitchhiker"                         Hitchhiker version          Le Noise version
"Human Highway"              Hitchhiker version           Comes A Time version
"The Old Country Waltz"    Hitchhiker version           American Stars N Bars version

I think if Young had treated these songs (and his audience) with a bit more respect, and given them the feel and focus he gave Goldrush and Tonight, this would have been a great album. As it is, it's an album that shows promise, and has some uneasy charm,  but is clearly rough and unfinished.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 8
Score: 4 1/2


The Visitor (2017)

There is a similarity in Young's old voice to Cash, Dylan, and Bowie's old voices. Fragile, quavery, not quite in tune. It's actually quite an appealing sound when used well. But I'm not sure it's used well on this indifferent album. To be fair Young is working in a slightly different music style than usual - picking up some ideas from Tom Waits, as on "When Bad Got Good", so credit for that, but the individual pieces lack the inspiration and poetry of his early great work, and the album as a whole, despite using a new, younger band, sounds tired. The best track, as in most interesting and complete, and with some energy and ideas, is "Carnival".

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 5
Score: 3


Paradox (2018) (soundtrack)

Soundtrack to a Netflix film by Daryl Hannah, Young's current partner.  It's not music I want to listen to, but Young remains interesting and individual. But, then again, it doesn't take much to be interesting and individual if all you are doing is thumping a drum and getting feedback from a guitar. Give me instead the gifted inspiration of After The Goldrush. Best track (by far) is "Cowgirl Jam", which is "Cowgirl In The Sand" properly hot and smokey. It's not the best version of that song, but it's the best track on this album.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 6
Score: 2

ROXY: Tonight's The Night Live (Archives - live)

Part of the Archives series - released April 2018. Recorded in September 1973, which was when the original album was recorded (though it wouldn't be released until 1975), this is right in the heart of Young's so called dark period when he produced some of his most challenging yet fascinating material. The material is almost exactly the same as that on Tonight's The Night, so this is of curiosity interest only - it is the sort of thing most band's release as part of deluxe editions of classic albums - you know, demos, alternative recordings, unreleased songs, that sort of thing. There's nothing here that truly justifies a separate release. I mean, it's OK, but we already have the album with the definitive recordings. This live version is casual, and if this had been released instead of the album proper, the album might not have gained the reputation it has. Part of the fascination of that album is not just the material, but the intensity of the recording.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 8
Score: 3

Songs For Judy (Archives - live)

Another Archives album, recorded live November 1976, released Nov 2018. The album was originally a bootleg, The Joel Bernstein Tapes. These are all acoustic songs, and include the favourites such as  "Heart of Gold", "After The Goldrush", and "Harvest", plus unreleased songs such as "No One Seems To Know" and "Give Me Strength".

On the whole it's a pleasant but moderate album. Mainly of interest to Young fans.

Wikipedia
AllMusic: 8
Score: 3 1/2


Discography



Buffalo Springfield (1966) [3.5] 
Buffalo Springfield Again (1967) [4.5]
Last Time Around  (1968)  [3.5] 


Déjà Vu (1970) [10] 
4 Way Street (1971)  [2.5] 
American Dream (1988) [2.5] 
Looking Forward  (1999) [4.5] 
Déjà Vu Live  (2008) [6.5] 

Solo albums




Songs Through The Ages

"Cowgirl In the Sand"

     Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)
     Live At The Fillmore East (1970)
     Live At Massey Hall 1971
     4 Way Street  (1971)
     Road Rock (2000)
     Paradox (2018)

"Cinnamon Girl"

     Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)
     4 Way Street  (1971)
     Live Rust (1979)
     Weld (1991)


"After The Gold Rush"

      After The Gold Rush (1970)
     Live Rust (1979)
     Earth (2016)


"Tonight's The Night"

     Tonight's The Night (1975)
     Live Rust (1979)
     Weld (1991)
     Road Rock (2000)
   

"Hurricane"

     American Stars 'N Bars (1977, but recorded 1975)
     Live Rust (1979)
     Weld (1991)
     Unplugged (1993) 

"Powderfinger"

     Hitchhiker (2016, but recorded 1976)  (acoustic)
     Rust Never Sleeps (1979)
     Live Rust (1979)
     Weld (1991)


Some random thoughts and notes

Other than Young himself, the musicianship on his albums is not impressive. Other than during the Eighties, when production was a key driven for all musicians,  his albums are loosely produced - quite raw.

While Young has managed to keep critical and popular interest  throughout his career, and remained relevant during punk and grunge, producing some startling albums in the Nineties, it is his Seventies work that is his peak.

For someone who works at the highest level at two almost opposing musical styles - acoustic folk and electric grunge / noise rock, and who is noted for his unpredictability and for exploring a range of musical styles, Young is surprisingly limited in his successful musical range, and seems to have settled quite peacefully into acoustic Young and electric Young.




Best songs

*Rolling Stone Readers Poll 
Old Man
The Needle And The Damage Done
Heart Of Gold
Like A Hurricane
Harvest Moon
Ohio
After The Gold Rush
Cortez the Killer
Powderfinger
Helpless


*UltimateClassicRock 
Rockin' In the Free World
Ohio
Old Man
Cinnamon Girl
Heart Of Gold
The Needle And The Damage Done
Cowgirl In The Sand
Helpless
After The Gold Rush
"Down By The River"


*ConsequenceOfSound
My My, Hey Hey / Hey Hey, My My
After The Gold Rush
Rockin' In The Free World
Revolution Blues
Heart Of Gold
Powderfinger
Don't Let It Bring You Down
Ordinary People
Cowgirl In The Sand
Transformer Man

* TheTopTens
Rockin' In The Free World
Heart Of Gold
After The Gold Rush
Old Man
Like A Hurricane
Cortez the Killer
Hey Hey, My My
Cowgirl In The Sand
"Down By The River"
My My, Hey Hey

*Mojo Top 50
After The Gold Rush
Cinnamon Girl
Heart Of Gold
Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Like A Hurricane
Helpless
Down By The River
Mr. Soul
The Needle And The Damage Done
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Tonight's The Night

* The Guardian
Cortez The Killer
Rockin' In The Free World
Old Man
Powderfinger
Down By The River
Cinnamon Girl
Like A Hurricane
Ambulance Blues
After The Gold Rush
The Needle And The Damage Done

* Paste Magazine Top 25
Heart Of Gold
After The Gold Rush
Helpless
Old Man
Hey Hey, My My
Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Cortez the Killer
Cinnamon Girl
Southern Man
Rockin' in The Free World

* Sabotage Top 20
After The Gold Rush
Cinnamon Girl
Ohio
The Needle And The Damage Done
Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Southern Man
Mr. Soul
Cowgirl In The Sand
Heart Of Gold
Down By The River

* NeedSomeFun Top 50
After The Gold Rush
Cinnamon Girl
Heart Of Gold
Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Like A Hurricane
Helpless
Down By The River
Mr. Soul
The Needle And The Damage Done
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere


*Rolling Stone 100  (Spotify
(only showing 50, as the list gets weaker and weaker as it goes on....)

1. Powderfinger (from Rust Never Sleeps, 1979)
2. Heart of Gold (Harvest, 1972)
3. Cortez the Killer (Zuma, 1975)
4. Down By The River (Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, 1969)
5. Tonight’s the Night (Tonight’s The Night, 1975)
6. Helpless (CSN&Y, Déjà Vu, 1970)
7. Cinnamon Girl (Everybody Knows This Is Nowehere, 1970)
8. After the Gold Rush (After the Gold Rush, 1970)
9. Ohio (CSN&Y single, 1970)
10. Like a Hurricane (American Stars ‘n Bars, 1977)
11. Old Man (Harvest, 1972)
12. Hey Hey, My My – Into the Black (Rust Never Sleeps, 1979)
13. The Needle and the Damage Done (Harvest, 1972)
14. Sugar Mountain (b-side single, 1968)
15. Expecting To Fly (Buffalo Springfield, Buffalo Springfield Again, 1967)
16. Rockin’ in the Free World (Freedom, 1989)
17. Cowgirl in the Sand (Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, 1969)
18. Tired Eyes (Tonight’s the Night, 1975)
19. Southern Man (After the Gold Rush, 1970)
20. From Hank to Hendrix (Harvest Moon, 1992)
21. Don’t Cry No Tears (Zuma, 1975)
22. Out on the Weekend (Harvest, 1972)
23. Broken Arrow (Buffalo Springfield, Buffalo Springfield Again, 1967)
24. Danger Bird (Zuma, 1975)
25. Pocahontas (Rust Never Sleeps, 1979)
26. Only Love Can Break Your Heart (After the Gold Rush, 1970)
27. Human Highway (Comes a Time, 1978)
28. Goin’ Home (Are You Passionate?, 2002)
29. Revolution Blues (On the Beach, 1974)
30. Sedan Delivery (Rust Never Sleeps, 1979)
31. I’m the Ocean (Mirror Ball, 1995)
32. Long May You Run (Long May You Run, 1976)
33. Ambulance Blues (On the Beach, 1974)
34. Don’t Let It Bring You Down (After the Gold Rush, 1970)
35. Mr. Soul (Buffalo Springfield, Buffalo Springfield Again, 1967)
36. F*!#in’ Up (Ragged Glory, 1990)
37. Harvest Moon (Harvest Moon, 1992)
38. Don’t Be Denied (live album Time Fades Away, 1973)
39. Albuquerque (Tonight’s the Night, 1975)
40. Change Your Mind (Sleeps With Angels, 1994)
41. The Loner (Neil Young, 1968)
42. This Note’s For You (This Note’s For You, 1988)
43. On the Beach (On the Beach, 1974)
44. Barstool Blues (Zuma, 1975)
45. Winterlong (compilation Decade, 1977)
46. On the Way Home (Buffalo Springfield, Last Time Around, 1968)
47. Ramada Inn (Psychedelic Pill, 2012)
48. Too Far Gone (Freedom, 1989)
49. Sample and Hold (Trans, 1982)
50. Be the Rain (Greendale, 2003)


* Greatest Hits album 2004
"Down By The River"
"Cowgirl In the Sand"
"Cinnamon Girl"
"Helpless"
"After The Gold Rush"
"Only Love Can Break Your Heart"
"Southern Man"
"Ohio"
"The Needle And The Damage Done"
"Old Man"
"Heart Of Gold"
"Like A Hurricane"
"Comes A Time"
"Hey Hey, My My"
"Rockin' in The Free World"
"Harvest Moon"


* Best of the best (summary of the lists)
1  "After The Gold Rush"
2  "Heart Of Gold"
3  "Rockin' in The Free World"
4  "Cinnamon Girl"
5  "Old Man"
6  "Helpless"
7  "Cortez the Killer"
8  "The Needle And The Damage Done"
9  "Down By The River"
10 "Like A Hurricane"
11 "Ohio"
12 "Hey Hey, My My"
13 "Powderfinger" (electric)
14 "Cowgirl In the Sand"
15 "Only Love Can Break Your Heart"
16 "Southern Man"
17 "Mr. Soul"
18 "Tonight's The Night"
19 "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere"
20 "Harvest Moon"


* My choice
"After The Gold Rush"
"Like A Hurricane"
"Powderfinger" (Acoustic)
"Down By The River"
"Cowgirl In the Sand"
"Only Love Can Break Your Heart"
"Cinnamon Girl"
"Helpless"
"Southern Man"
"Heart Of Gold"
"Mr. Soul"
"Broken Arrow"


Top albums

Déjà Vu (1970)  (CSN&Y)  [10]
After The Goldrush (1970)  [10] 

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)  [9]
Harvest (1972)  [9.5] 
Rust Never Sleeps (1979) [9]
Greatest Hits (2005) [9.5]
Live At Massey Hall 1971  [9]

Americana  (2012)  [8.5]
Sleeps With Angels (1994)  [7]
Broken Arrow (1996)  [7] 

Déjà Vu Live  (2008)  [6.5]
Tonight's The Night (1975) [6]
Ragged Glory (1990) [6]

Harvest Moon  (1992)  [5.5] 





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