I have an image of Neil Young seared in my head. It’s an image that will never be replaced no matter what he does. He can do all the CSNY tours he wants and harmonize his butt off. He can even play more of those horrid acoustic shows with his wife like the one I saw at Farm Aid a few years back.
But when all is said and done, to me Neil Young will always be the godfather of grunge; sitting on a stool in a dark bar, with an overdriven guitar plugged into a ratty amplifier, head down, hat obscuring his face, playing the crap out of his weathered and road-beaten guitar. Le Noise is Neil returning to that sound, and reclaiming his place upon that stool of glory. Welcome home, Neil.
Here’s my take on the album, with comments on each track tweeted in 140 characters of fewer. Please please please visit the NPR page and stream the album. It’s available until October 5th; get your fix while you can. And while you do, make sure to read my tweets.
1. Walk With Me – The feedback is truly magnificent. It sounds like we’re in the studio with Neil, his guitar, and a reverb pedal.
2. Sign Of Love – The distortion and reverb are still there. The simple but beautiful melody combined with this grungy sound is perfect.
3. Someone’s Gonna Rescue You – This song feels like a smoky bar, with the guitarist on a stool playing to the regulars. So freaking good.
4. Love And War – A Neil Young history: He’s sung about love, and war forever. And yet, war is still bad, because it hurts those who love us
5. Angry World – Life is angry. Let’s make it better with overdriven guitars, reverb, and feedback. This album’s sound is making me giddy.
6. Hitchhiker – This stunning history of Neil’s drug usage is the best song I’ve hear all year. Vivid, remorseful, thankful, loving. Perfect
7. Peaceful Valley Boulevard – A beautiful slide-infused ballad about California. “Before the west was won there was a cost.”
8. Rumblin’ – “I feel a rumblin.” Either my speakers are overdriven, or Neil has managed to send that rumble straight to my heart. Well done