CRITICAL – The insatiable Canadian-American artist is releasing a new album, the third in a row recorded with Crazy Horse, the group that has accompanied him intermittently since the end of the 1960s. interesting in its experimentation.
Very prolific musician since the release of his first album in 1968, Neil Young has outdone itself during the year just ending. Last May, he released three live albums long confined to the pirate record circuit. Two months later, the unreleased album Toast, recorded in 2001 with Crazy Horse and eagerly awaited by exegetes, finally saw the light of day. In August, a live album recorded during his last tour with the band Promise of the Real was released. And now a new studio album has just been released, the 42nd. One year later Barn, World Record is Neil Young’s third consecutive album recorded with Crazy Horse, the band that has accompanied him on and off since the late 1960s.
Since Coloradoin 2019, Neil Young seems to have started a new cycle with them, which now includes guitarist Nils Lofgren in their ranks. World Record also marks Young’s first collaboration with legendary American producer Rick Rubin, from Slayer to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to the Beastie Boys and Johnny Cash. This one did not revolutionize the sound of the four musicians, but led them into slightly different arrangements. Thus, the majority of the songs revolve around the piano or the harmonium. No acoustic guitar is present, and the characteristic electric guitar of the septuagenarian only streaks a few titles.
In a remarkable interview conducted by Zane Lowe for Apple Music, Neil Young explains that he brought some composed melodies as he walked his dogs in the morning. It was therefore armed with these and words that he approached Rubin, who was responsible for accompanying the group in the design of harmonies and arrangements. It is amazing that after more than 50 years of career, Neil Young continues to experiment.
However, we expected more from the collaboration with Rubin than this lackluster World Record. Under the leadership of Daniel Lanois, Neil Young, pushed to his limits, delivered his last great album in 2010, The Noise. World Record lack of notable songs. For several discs, Young broke with his writing requirement, favoring a relaxed style. Ecology and saving the planet are still at the heart of the lyrics, but the tone is rather optimistic. At 77, Neil Young remains attached to the hippie ideal.
The real tour de force of the album is at the end. On Chevy, a piece of more than fifteen minutes, Young and the Horse find the feverish accents of their most beautiful epics. We think of songs like Like a Hurricane, Change Your Mind and other epic titles. Himself, Chevy deserves attention on this album which shows that Neil Young is determined to continue.
Next month is Harvesthis bestseller, which will be celebrated with a top-of-the-range edition including the film Harvest Time, which documents the conception of the album in 2 hours of exciting images. Next year, Neil Young is expected to release a third volume of Archives covering the late seventies and early eighties. To be noted for those who would like to find their way in this plethoric discography, the excellent work of our colleague Alain Gardinier, Neil Young, seven decades at the top of rock (GM editions).
World RecordNeil Young with Crazy Horse (Reprise/Warner Music).