Neil Young
Fork in the Road


3.0
good

Review

by David James Young USER (181 Reviews)
April 9th, 2009 | 22 replies | 7,626 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Neil Young in 2009: loving the electric car, hating the economy...

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Most people you’d know in their mid-sixties most likely would consider slowing down their schedule and simply taking satisfaction in what they’ve already completed in their lives. Some probably already have. But then again, Neil Young isn’t like most people. Never has been. And this is exactly where he thrives- since the late 1960s, Young remains one of the most prolific musicians of all time right to this very day. Neil’s latest offering is Fork in the Road; a collection of songs based loosely around, more or less, one thing- his car.

Hey, where are you going?
Come back!

We trust alarm bells are now ringing out in your mind, but hear this out: this is not a set of trite, “I’m In Love With My Car”-esque songs. You’ll be interested to know that Neil Young is a proud owner of a 1959 Lincoln Continental Mark IV- customised to run on biodiesel and electricity. Naturally, this makes the car-themed numbers significantly cooler; but a lack of diversity in terms of concept and message give Fork in the Road a significant limp.

Backed by his Electric Band (featuring his wife Pegi and former Steel Gator, Ben Keith), Young sounds musically solid as ever. Distorted, shimmying delta blues licks work their way through nearly ever track, forcibly backed by four-on-the-floor drums and higher-range vocal harmonies. In this era of technology, it’s fantastic to hear such a gritty, raw, live sound on record; especially for an artist that is perfectly able to afford to have it polished up. “When Worlds Collide” swaggers with a rusty E minor groove, whilst “Just Singing a Song” is a vintage throwback to mid-paced, fuzzed out jams like “Hey Hey My My” or “Love and Only Love”. “Light a Candle” also proves to be a winner, if only for its radical departure from the rest of the album- light acoustic strumming, world-weary vocals and classic country slide mixed over the top.

Pairing them with the lyrics Neil has assembled for Fork, however, leaves the entire state of affairs just a little lopsided. Take some of these for example, title alone: “Fuel Line” (with the consistent chant of “fill ‘er up!”), “Get Behind the Wheel”, “Hit the Road”…you get the idea. Neil’s pretty damn proud of that car.
What’s interesting is the boasts about Young’s car (“Her engine’s runnin’ and her fuel is clean”, etc) are interspersed with comments on the current financial climate and the crisis surrounding it. Easily one of the most bizarre moments on the record is during “Cough Up the Bucks”, hearing a joyous choir (similar to Harvest’s “Words Between The Lines of Age”) singing out “Where did all the money go?”, whilst Young spits the mantra “cough up the bucks, cough up the bucks” underneath it.
Young is not much a fan of subtlety these days – lest we forget “Let’s Impeach the President” from a few years back. Even still, a little more effort than blatantly stating the way things are without any real insight would have really lifted the lyrical game of this album, to say the least.

And so the inimitable Neil Young has once again snarled, howled and crooned his way through another record. Fork in the Road is by no means the crown jewel in Young’s 21st century material, and it’s almost exclusively a fans-only affair. Having said that, Neil’s got enough fans to last him three lifetimes, so there’s still enough to enjoy on here…just.



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user ratings (63)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Merkaba33
April 9th 2009



702 Comments


I just started listening to this guy yesterday. No connection to this new album. I really like him. I've had all his albums on my hard drive for a while but I've only listened to After the Goldrush so far.

AtavanHalen
April 9th 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm relatively new to Neil as well.
I thoroughly recommend Harvest, however.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2009



20856 Comments


Next up; Neil Young sings about his carpet! I guess it's the advantages of being around for so long & building up a fanbase; They'd listen to anything.

Speaking of "forks in the road", the Big Day Out organisers had one late last year. They chose the wrong direction!

taylormemer
April 9th 2009



4917 Comments


Yeah, Harvest is where it's at.

AtavanHalen
April 9th 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Champ Kind: with all due respect, fuck you! Neil was absolutely fantastic at the BDO.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2009



20856 Comments


You're welcome Brick. I never said he wasn't fantastic, but in my opinion it was the incorrect decision to make... Reduced ticket sales agreed.

Merkaba33
April 10th 2009



702 Comments


Yeah Harvest is next after I've gotten everything outa ATGR. It confused me for the longest time cuz he has another album called Harvest Moon. I kept seeing different opinions of it.

AtavanHalen
April 10th 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Reduced ticket sales my arse! They all still sold out.

Douchebag
April 10th 2009



3624 Comments


The album art is rather terrible.

taylormemer
April 10th 2009



4917 Comments


Really nice review also, not sure about the the first sentence though.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 10th 2009



7326 Comments


Good review, but I heard the first few songs from this and thought they were awful

gaslightanthem
April 10th 2009



5209 Comments


love neil young

Waior
April 10th 2009



11451 Comments


Album art is 25 years too late. Neil young is 25 years too old.

Har. I probably will check this out.

Chewie
April 10th 2009



4531 Comments


lol, I thought track 1 was a cover of Powerman 5000

shindip
April 10th 2009



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

really need to get my mitts on this one

thebhoy
Emeritus
April 11th 2009



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This is terrible.

HighandDriving
April 11th 2009



3288 Comments


God Bless Neil Young

MrKite
April 11th 2009



5020 Comments


i doubt i'll listen to this for a while, but he was really fuckin good last night.

ziroth
April 12th 2009



1252 Comments


economy rules

shindip
April 13th 2009



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just gave this album a listen. It is not amazing, but still decent.



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