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Old 12-16-2008, 02:15 AM   #1
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My newest musical obsession...Neil Young

It just never ends, does it? Right when you start to get complacent with your music listening, yet another artist comes in shakes things up.

I never really thought I would ever like Neil Young. He sounds like an 85 year-old widow on the vast majority of his songs, his biggest anthems (The Needle And The Damage Done, Southern Man, Ohio) are heavy-handed and borderline preachy, and the Cinnamon Girl solo is, what, one note played over and over for 20 seconds? Fuck that.

Turns out I was a complete tool who had no idea what he was talking about at the time. I'm still a tool, but I've done enough listening to realize that After The Gold Rush is a harrowing beauty, On The Beach and Tonight's The Night are bitter yet tasty slices of '70s hard rock, and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere just rocks the fuck out on all counts. Rust Never Sleeps and Harvest are brilliant hodgepodges, to put it simply.

Unfortunately, I haven't done much listening beyond those albums, but here are my album rankings...

1. Everybody Knows This Nowhere (A)
2. Tonight's The Night (A-)
3. Rust Never Sleeps (A-)
4. After The Gold Rush (A-)
5. Harvest (B+)
6. On The Beach (B+)

...and top ten songs:

1. Cinnamon Girl
2. Albuquerque
3. My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
4. Don't Let It Bring You Down
5. Walk On
6. Down By The River
7. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
8. When You Dance I Can Really Love
9. Ambulance Blues
10. The Needle And The Damage Done

As you can tell from the rankings, I've only been exposed to the supposed "classics", but I want to look into a few more. Zuma will probably be next.

Anyway, who else digs Neil Young here?
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Old 12-16-2008, 02:46 AM   #2
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I've always had a lot of respect for Neil despite never diving too deep into his work. I own Harvest, and love it, but my knowledge and appreciation of Neil stems mostly out of his relationship with Pearl Jam. He's very good friends with Eddie and the band and they've played together and collaborated with eachother a number of times. They recorded the Mirrorball/Merkinball album and EP together in '95 and both of those projects kick serious ass. And, of course, PJ has coverd a bunch of Neil Young songs in concert over the years...Rockin' In The Free World, Fuckin' Up, Hey Hey My My, Harvest Moon, etc.

So, yeah, I dig him but I need to check out more of his stuff. Harvest and Mirrorball are so different from each other and they're the only two albums I'm really familiar with. Probably doesn't give me a good enough idea of the guy. I might go with After the Gold Rush next.
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Old 12-16-2008, 02:54 AM   #3
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When anyone ever asks me where to start with Neil Young, I always say it depends on you're looking for. After The Gold Rush gets the praise, and rightfully so, but there isn't much to hang your hat on if you want to hear the raucous side of his music, while Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere is lacking in the vulnerable ballad department. You can't go wrong either way though.
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Old 12-16-2008, 03:03 AM   #4
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Ever since I started that 60s/70s thread, I've been trying to get into Neil Young more and more. Before that I only knew what was played on classic rock radio and that includes Hey Hey My My, Old Man (That's what it's called, right?) and Southern Man. But then I got Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. Great album! I loved it! Next I want to get Gold Rush but there's so many other albums on my wish list that I'm just not getting round to it. But I'm sure I'll see it one day at Best Buy and just get it!

Oh btw, Rockin' In The Free World is probably my fav Neil Young song. What a fucking kickass number! And Pearl Jam's cover is pretty damn awesome too!

ETA: One more thing! I'm actually glad you started this thread because I've been meaning to ask this question and I was gonna ask it in the Random Music thread. Anyway, the song Ohio that is on Neil Young's Greatest Hits (and perhaps on one of his albums as well??), is it the exact same as the CSNY version? I do have the CSNY version and absofuckinglutely love it! I'm just wondering if this is Neil Young's own version.
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Old 12-16-2008, 03:18 AM   #5
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Oh btw, Rockin' In The Free World is probably my fav Neil Young song. What a fucking kickass number! And Pearl Jam's cover is pretty damn awesome too!
Most definitely, Zoots. Here is a particularly epic live performance of Rockin in the Free World from the '93 MTV Video Music Awards. There's a crazy dueling guitar solo between a super-intense Neil Young and a young, coked-out Mike McCready. And to cap it all off, Eddie destroys his microphone stand and McCready smashes the shit out of his guitar into the speakers. Rock and Roll. Heavy stuff.

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Old 12-16-2008, 03:30 AM   #6
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Most definitely, Zoots. Here is a particularly epic live performance of Rockin in the Free World from the '93 MTV Video Music Awards. There's a crazy dueling guitar solo between a super-intense Neil Young and a young, coked-out Mike McCready. And to cap it all off, Eddie destroys his microphone stand and McCready smashes the shit out of his guitar into the speakers. Rock and Roll. Heavy stuff.

YouTube - Neil Young & Pearl Jam - Rockin in the free World
Neil looks like he wants to smash his head through a brick wall. That was pretty intense.
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Old 12-16-2008, 03:47 AM   #7
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I'll second the support for Mirrorball, especially if you're already a Pearl Jam fan. But for me, the most essential recording is Weld, the 2-disc set from the Freedom/Ragged Glory tour. Unbelievable shit. The guitars are out of control.

I also think Freedom itself is a great album, known mostly for Rockin' in the Free World (the album opens with an acoustic version), but there's also other great tracks like Crime in the City and Wrecking Ball. Probably my favorite studio album.

Live Rust is another great one; it has some overlap with Weld but has more older material.

Sleeps With Angels, which was partially inspired by Kurt Cobain's suicide, is another mid-career highlight, and I also thought Chrome Dreams II from last year was one of his better recent releases, despite being a hodgepodge of old, unreleased material.
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Old 12-16-2008, 06:15 AM   #8
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One of my top 5 artists. Get hold of the Live In Berlin dvd if you can. Some great performences on there. Like A Hurricane from this gig is probably the best version he ever did!
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Old 12-16-2008, 06:16 AM   #9
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But for me, the most essential recording is Weld, the 2-disc set from the Freedom/Ragged Glory tour. Unbelievable shit. The guitars are out of control.
I second that
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:08 AM   #10
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Sleeps With Angels, which was partially inspired by Kurt Cobain's suicide, is another mid-career highlight.
Driveby
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Old 12-16-2008, 01:30 PM   #11
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yes, and Change Your Mind--12 minutes of glory
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Old 12-16-2008, 04:57 PM   #12
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Don't forget Train Of Love. Beautiful.
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Old 12-16-2008, 06:06 PM   #13
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I just saw him live with wilco a couple weeks ago.. great stuff

for me, his country/folk/rock albums are the best.

if you haven't yet, check out Comes a Time and Harvest Moon. two fantastic albums. and there's always Buffalo Springfield

and go buy Live at Massey hall. now. don't wait. don't check it out first. just go
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:20 PM   #14
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I was at the Vote for Change concert in St. Paul in 2004. Neil Young played Rockin' In The Free World with Bruce Springsteen and John Fogarty. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Best concert moment ever, outside of U2. Neil played Country Feedback with R.E.M. as well.
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:47 PM   #15
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I'm extremely disappointed that I had to miss him in Philadelphia last Friday, but we had 10 inches of snow He was great when I saw him on the Silver and Gold tour eight years ago, and I was looking forward to finally getting to hear him play electric (with Wilco opening )
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