Neil Young - Mirrorball
Dark and murky, but really only in sound rather than lyrical or vocal emotion. The down and dirty sound was created with the help of long-term 'grunge' meisters, Pearl Jam. Now, I like Pearl Jam. In fact, in the related pages section you'll find many reviews of Pearl Jam records! Still, if this album was intended as marrying Neil to the grunge scene, it doesn't. It more comes across as Neil just doing his thing. Pearl Jam contribute some fine musical moments, though you have to struggle somewhat to hear them in places, such is the way the album has been recorded and mixed. Almost like Pearl Jam were a little too professional for Neil, so he had to throw in some other factor to balance that out. If that is the case, it kind of makes the collaboration pointless from the off. If it was merely a case of Neil working with different musicians just for a change, that's fine. I can understand that. Anyhoo, a couple or three songs feature a pump organ. One of these songs is the brief, happily quiet 'Fallen Angel'. It's a soothing moment after all the noise elsewhere on the album. Ah, 'Downtown'! It's not an original moment, even the title recalls many previous Young works. Still, it has a fine chunky sounding rhythm section and numerous guitar parts. Indeed, the rhythm section are noticeable throughout the album. Not always in a good way, many songs are propelled forwards, which is not at all the right phrase to use, via the rhythm sections steady groove.
The few songs that start a little bit faster, such as second song 'Act Of Love' end up lacking purpose coming across as mere jams moulded into a live-sound and lacking structure and purpose as a result. Still, 'Act Of Love' is one of the better numbers here like this. I do enjoy the near eight minute 'Peace And Love' quite a lot, but only parts of it. The guitar solo that arrives around the five minute thirty mark is pure class. Oh, I nearly forgot about 'Scenery'. This catchy little ditty (???!) manages to reach just shy of nine minutes, and you know what? If you take a little bit of the beginning of the track, then skip to a little bit of the end of the track, missing out the eight minutes inbetween? Well, let's just say you'll be fairly glad you saved yourself a further eight minutes or so of listening to exactly the same thing for no apparent reason! 'Big Green Country' is good, Neil and friends trying something with a little energy about it. Um, most of the album is merely a little trying and a little ho-hum. It doesn't at all reach the heights a collaboration such as this could have.
Song x / Act Of Love / I'm The Ocean / Big Green Country / Truth Be Known / Downtown / What Happened Yesterday / Peace And Love / Throw Your Hatred Down / Scenery / Fallen Angel