Happy Post-Election Day America! In honor of the Election I’m going to review the latest album from Neil Young. What’s more American than Canadian Neil Young? Though Neil Young wasn’t born here he’s certainly embraced America, while fiercely protecting everything it stands for. All that aside, he’s a great rock musician and that’s really the only story behind Psychedelic Pill. This is Neil’s second release this year with his reunited backing band Crazy Horse.
What’s the reasoning behind Psychedelic Pill? Supposedly, it was spawned from jam sessions for Americana (Neil’s other album from this year). “Inspired by jam sessions” make sense when you look at some of these track lengths. Songs run anywhere from three minutes to twenty-seven minutes. It’s a “trip” to say the least, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from an album called “Psychedelic Pill”.
I’m always amazed by Neil’s seemingly endless well of rootsy rock songs. He’s one of the few veteran artists that can release just as good an album today as he did thirtysomething years ago. Nothing here is diluted by years of rock fatigue, quite the contrary. Songs like “Born in Ontario” or even the tile track would be just at home in 1969 than 2012. I don’t know if it’s due to Neil reuniting with his buddies or he’s just tapped into some good mojo. Whatever the reasoning these are some of his best songs in awhile.
What kills me about this album is the length. I like jamming us much as the next guy but unless you’re a virtuoso chances are you’ll run out of steam at the 15 minute mark. The song “Walk Like a Giant” comes to mind. I want to say it’s my favorite song on the album, but I’ve only heard the whole thing once. I don’t want to listen to the whole thing again. The first 7-8 minutes are my favorite song, the rest is just overkill. Audiences would have been even more receptive had Neil trimmed at least 30 minutes. Instead it’s a double album that I just can’t devote enough attention to. Either way, I still love Neil and love that he’s still rocking’ in the free world. Stay classy America!
Favorite Tracks: “Born in Ontario”, “She’s Always Dancing”, “Walk Like a Giant”