Reprise Records

Neil Young - Greendale CD.jpg (106450 bytes)

 Neil Young’s latest is both a return to form and a disappointment. Having first heard this entire disc performed live had my expectations much higher than they should’ve been. The concept album has a captivating storyline that pits the everyman against the media in a head on confrontation that leaves a body count and songs like “Leave The Driving”, “Carmichael”, and “Grandpa’s Interview” have enough character development for each to be an individual movie. By the end of the song cycle, I felt like I knew these characters thoroughly. The problem with Greendale is in its delivery. With very few choruses or hooks of any kind, it becomes difficult to listen to the whole 80-minute story without becoming regularly bored. Sure, Crazy Horse has always been this lethargic, but a strong melody has made all of the classic Neil Young material and separated those top-notch songs from the half-hearted album cuts that seem to be coming more and more frequently from Young and the Horse. Maybe these just needed the sparse guitar and vocal acoustic treatment. I don’t know, but this is not the 5-star classic that this material deserves to be. Neil’s definitely on the right track here. He’s got a point to make and he makes it well, but we need a little sugar to make the medicine go down.

Chris McKay /