Neil Young + The Promise of the Real – The Visitor – Album Review by Killian Laher
Neil Young’s 39th album follows just a year after Peace Trail, and a matter of months after ‘lost album’ Hitchhiker, with the 72 year old showing no sign of slowing down. Even for him, this album, recorded with the Promise of the Real, is a mixed bag to say the least. Many of these songs, while they have something of a pleasing, raw sound, have cheesy, trite melodies. Already Great has lyrics about how “I’m a Canadian by the way and I love the USA”, while Fly By Night Deal features Young babbling “no more, no more” amongst other things over a choir of voices, on a sprightly, almost perky tune. Strident songs like Stand Tall and the tub-thumping Children of Destiny are really something we can do without. The bluesy Diggin’ A Hole is somewhat plodding but even worse, Carnival is reminiscent of Santana’s Smooth.
Elsewhere, Almost Always and Change of Heart opens with comfortable acoustic guitar harmonica on the former and whistling on the latter. The idea seems to be to evoke his Harvest-era material, but the songs are nothing special. It ends with the ten minute Forever, which starts out sounding like Ambulance Blues (from 1974’s On The Beach) but ends feeling like its title to listen to.
Pretty ropey stuff in the main. Casual Neil Young fans will want to skip this one. Still, at least he didn’t use autotune this time.
1. Already Great
2. Fly By Night Deal
3. Almost Always
4. Stand Tall
5. Change of Heart
7. Diggin’ A Hole
8. Children of Destiny
9. When Bad Got Good