Neil Young and Crazy Horse – World Record – Album Review
Never mind the Horse, Neil Young has really perfected his ‘crazy old coot’ persona he has inhabited of late. This, his 42nd (!) album is his THIRD new album in the last three years, alongside numerous archival releases of albums that had been sitting in his vaults, and various live albums from the past which have all come out in the last couple of years. It makes being a Neil Young fan an expensive business!
Young and Crazy Horse have adopted this ‘get into the studio and just record’ approach, where they play a song once and stick it on an album, almost sounding deliberately rough and ready. Which makes this double album a bit like all his recent albums. You get soft ballads like Love Earth, a few jaunty numbers (Overhead, This Old Planet) with plinky plonky piano… or else The Long Day Before with its organ and massed choirs. Better are the growly distorted plods like I Walk With You and Break The Chain, the latter of which has such gnarly guitar it sounds like it’s being chewed up as they play it. The World and The Wonder Won’t Wait sound frustratingly throwaway, and at times Young’s lyrics are so basic – on the Harvest-channelling Walkin’ On The Road the chorus is simply “no more war, only love”.
As a whole, nine songs over half an hour feel a little like a trudge until you get to the longest song by far here, Chevrolet. This is a classic-sounding Crazy Horse workout that sounds like it could have been recorded any time in the last 40 years, with joyously growling guitars weaving in and out of each other for 15 minutes. Which is absolutely great if you like that sort of thing.
Nothing particularly earth-shattering for Neil Young and co this time out, with 2016’s autotune experiments consigned to history. Come back this time next year for another instalment of this.
Break The Chain