Neil Young - Greendale
I was walking into work one morning, listening to 'Greendale', thinking about the story-aspect of the album. A series of scenes set in and around a fictional town, almost like a collection of little short stories. Fictional? My thoughts drifted back to a couple of Randy Newman albums, he'd do these great songs with lyrics based on real events. I'm thinking to myself Neil Young could have done the same, taken some old land somewhere where a bunch of stuff happened and write songs about it. Why? Well, I just think we might care more. Nice as the sound of 'Greendale' is, I find it hard to really care about the songs or the characters/events depicted within. Still, that sound? It's a real natural sound this 'Greendale' album acheives. It sounds warm and analogue, which Neil will no doubt be pleased to hear given his past blasts against digital recording technology. Yes folks, isn't progress a marvellous thing?
Progress? 'Greendale' sounds exactly like any album Neil might have recorded in the late seventies. Only not as angry sounding. We've got several songs chugging along nicely, seemingly pleased enough with themselves to sound great... and not bother really reaching their full potential in terms of tune and substance. 'Greendale' is a case of nice idea and sound, shame about the overall impact. Part of the problem is the repetive nature of the music itself, the same rhythm seems to form at least half of the album. I imagine this was deliberate given the idea behind the album but it makes for difficult listening sometimes. Sometimes, I want to scream when the drummer goes back into that same old beat and the guitars chug alongside him sounding suspiciously similar to how they did in the previous song. Still, as Neil says in one of the albums rare true ballads, it's like "turning the pages in a book trying to find something new." Props to Neil for trying to find something new in terms of the concept of the album, shame that his writing wasn't as sharp as it could, and probably should, have been.
Falling From Above / Double E / Devil's Sidewalk / Leaving The Driving / Carmichael / Bandit / Granpa's Interview / Bringing Down Dinner / Sun Green / Be The Rain