Review Summary: For some people “Trans” was a bad joke by Neil Young and for some people, a classic album. Independent of this opinions, the quality of this record is very visible.
“Trans” for a lot of Neil Young’s fans is a terrible album and suggests that the album could be a satirical message that Young was trying to send about the direction music was headed in the future. However, this is not true, maybe the album is not good for the parameters of Neil Young’s songs but for others the album is excellent. It is very different from the country and classic rock’n roll, in this album he made songs influenced by the ascendant electronic music of the decade. In 80’s the electronic movement was beginning, and the main influencers of the electronic movement was Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk. This record was revolutionary for some critics and influenced a lot of actual electronics groups like Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers and others electronic groups.
The album sounds futuristic since the cover that remembers sci-fi movies with a futuristic environment. The picture shows well the idea of the album: you can see a street, in one side there’s a normal person and a car (style 80’s), and the another side is like a “futuristic side” or “electronic side”, the person is digital and the car is similar to a future automobile. This electronic side is represented in most of the songs in which Neil uses this kind of a voice changer that makes the voice sounds like a robotic voice. Despite of some negative critics, almost all this electronic tracks are good songs, specially the melodic “Transformer Man” and the psychedelic “We R in control”, both excellent songs, completely electronic and very influenced by Kraftwerk. Unfortunately, some songs present the same mistake presented in a lot of actual electronic songs: repetitive songs. This mistake is presented in the worst track “Computer Cowboy” and in “Sample and Hold”, a good song with a lot of potential but that becomes boring with the long duration.
Despite of the different style of Neil Young in this album, the record has some songs very similar to the normal songs of the singer. Examples are the track that begins the album, “Little thing called love” and the track that ends, “Like an Inca”. Both are excellent songs, the first has a great chorus and sounds like a typical romantic country rock song and in “Like and Inca”, Young enjoy the eight minutes with great melodies and good guitar solos.
It’s very common famous artists to release an album with a different sound, but a lot of these artists fail. This did not happen to Neil in “Trans” that became very important for the age when it was released and, until now, is a good electronic/rock album.