1978, the punk scene had practically taken over and forced most of the old guys out of the way. Neil was very fascinated with the punk scene and he even played with Post Punk(?) band Devo in the late 70's. Neil, was writing some of his most experiental and meaningful songs of his career.
He had an idea to tour using one of the most creative stage shows of his time. The tour would use a fake giant microphone on the stage as well as giant amps. His stage crew would wear hooded cloaks with lights on there eyes to make them look kind of like those guys from Star Wars. Anyways Neil also had a slew of new material and Reprise was calling for a new album. He would record songs live on the tour and make overdubs in the studio afterwards. The end result was an album seperated in two. The opening half would be acoustic and the second half electric. Some of the acoustic songs where done in the studio because they were cuts of his latest folk/country album "Comes a Time".
The first side, the acoustic side, is opened with one of Neil's greatest tracks of all time My My Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
. It features Neil, his acoustic, his harmonica and some of the best lyrics written by Neil. You can tell by that the lyrics are influenced by the punk scene when Neil sing's "My my hey hey, rock and roll is here to stay". Asides talking about the punk scene taking rock and roll to different places he also sings "the king[Elvis] is gone but he not forgotten, this is the story of Johnny Rotten" whick explains itself. My My Hey Hey is also contains one of his most famous quotes, the one that Kurt Cobain put in his suicide note and the one whom many dislike including John Lennon. You've probably heard them before but the lines "Its better to burn out than to fade away" remain some of the best lyrics in Neil work. The other songs on the acoustic side tell stories full of imagery and imagination. Trasher
tells about his experiences with CSN but also mentions 50's western movies, farming and landscapes. It practically paints a picture in your head with the lyrics that can only be matched by Dylan. The next to songs Ride My Llama
are basically Neil usingnthe creative limits of his brain. "Ride My Llama" about meeting a man from mars and letting him play travelling songs on his guitar. This song also hints at drug use with the alien but no one can tell for sure. "Pocahontas" starts off with the europeans invading North American and killing the Natives. Neil sings the song from the point of an Indian and again paints a lyrical painting. Half way through Neil changes the point of view to a trapper and wonders what it would be like to "get with" Pocahontas. To make things even weirder he brings in acter Marlon Brando into the song and sings "Pocahontas, Marlon Brando and Me". The last of the acoutic side is Sail Away
. It was originally for the album "Comes a Time" but was cut. This track doesnt really fit in with the rest of the songs, featuring a harmony with singer Nicolette Larson.
The electric side of the album starts with Powerderfinger
another one of Neil's most recognized lyric efforts tells a story that takes place during the civl war and a young man is shot be union soldiers that come up the river on a boat. Others think that the boat is a coastguard boat and the family of the man who is shot are running a giant drug opperation. Regardless the hypnotic guitar solos and the steady rythym make it a favourite of Neil Young fans all over. The next two songs Welfare Mothers
and Sedan Delivery
are just two songs that let Neil have fun with Crazyhorse. Both songs have rather meaningless lyrics but have a huge amount of distortion for the late 70's. They both have driving gutiar riffs, Neil's wanking soloes and "fun" background vocals. To finish of the album Neil takes the opening song "My My Hey Hey(Out of the Blue) and turns it around into the electrified, distorted song Hey Hey My My(Into the Black)
. The lyrics are basically the same as the opening track, but he does change a few lyrics around accordingly. Neil also substitutes the harmonica soloes for guitar soloes full of gain. Neil picked the perfect closer for this wonderful album, it ends and your still thinking about what you just heard.
This album contains everything you would want to hear from Neil Young, it has the acoustic, it has the electric, it has the harmonica and most of all it has some of the best lyrics ever written. Overall I would give it a 4.5/5 seeing that I love all the songs except for one.
Sorry if this review isnt good, if havent reviewed for more than half a year. :(