Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Life, plus live

According to Wikipedia, the least successful studio album of Neil Young's career is Life. It was the final album Young released on Geffen Records, after four very poorly received albums for that label, the poor performance of two of which inspired their infamous lawsuit against Young. What's saddest and strangest is that the most problematic aspect of Life is that it tries too hard to have commercial appeal - even the best song on the album, "Prisoners of Rock'n'Roll" (a stab at the label which covers similar ground as the Clash's "Complete Control," presently only on Youtube in a live version) is somewhat marred by the "big 80's drum-sound" which dates it, suggesting a band trying very, very hard to be current. The weaker songs on the album - "When Your Lonely Heart Breaks," say, which has some nice harmony vocals but not much else - sound like they could even be calculated attempts to get on light AM radio. Life seems to be trying so hard to be liked that it's rather a sad, telling paradox that it did so poorly (tho' it may be the overtly political content on side one that really sank it, I don't really know).  

That said, there ARE some really interesting moments on the album. People in an excitable state after the awe-inspiring concert last night might want to know that there is presently a used vinyl copy of it at Red Cat Records, very reasonably priced at a mere $10. It's worth that much just for "Prisoners of Rock'n'Roll," and, while it has no collector's value (yet), its actually a fairly uncommon find in vinyl - I haven't seen it in years, and its not at Zulu or Audiopile...

Thanks to Erika Lax for her company at the Crazy Horse show and the pictures she took of the band, which kick ass on mine. Set list for last night's show here; Alex Varty review here, complete with a comment by me with a spelling error in it (egads!) and a counter-review by someone who was at last night's show and actually didn't like it... if you can believe that...!

Neil Young and Crazy Horse in Vancouver, by Erika Lax

No comments: