Most of us have been to a small town before. We can recognize that there is a certain atmosphere that a small town has. Everyone knows each other, people are friendly, and for the most part; things are wholesome and family friendly.
Released in 2003, this is Neil's 12th album with his legendary band 'Crazy Horse'. This album seems very homey and cozy. The album itself is a story about a little town called Greendale. Over the course of the album, we meet characters like Cousin Jed, Grandpa, Edith and Earl, and Carmichael. We also learn about several events that take place in Greendale. For example, to the disgust of the neighbors, the old Double L ranch is renamed to the Double E ranch.
The album goes through a number of stages or 'events' in the town. One event is present for every song. I imagine each song being like a separate day. We don't just hear one person's story throughout the album though. The story is told from a number of different characters who live in Greendale. Sometimes we will hear Grandpa telling the story, and sometimes we hear Grandma expressing her views on the event. The same type of theme continues throughout the entire album. It is not however limited to just one person 'singing' each song. We can hear many different characters talking on each track. Most times, it seems like they are talking to one another, and gossiping to one another about the situation. The peak of the album however, is when an already familiar character is pulled over by a police officer and commits a homicide against the police officer. Trials and interviews from Grandpa, and other characters from follow through as the town is shocked to find out who had committed the crime.
This album is not limited to just it's stories, though either. For those of you looking for more 'electric' Neil Young, this album is for you. There is only one track featuring Neil Young's Crystalline acoustic playing. What all the other tracks feature, is what Neil does best. Rocking out. 'Devil's Sidewalk' delivers a very catchy guitar riff, and other very good guitar work can found all over the album. Some may find the music fairly repetitive, however. It is, but there is an element to the album that just wouldn't be the same if complex pieces of music were played on the album. It allows for the background music to kind of create a 'drone' at sometimes, allowing the listener to focus on the lyrics, which are a vital part of the album.
As with other Neil Young recordings, this one was recorded at his ranch in California. It is very interesting to listen to the way the music resonates in the room it is being played in. It almost sounds like it was just done in someones garage. The way it was done, keeps the music very tightly in-line, and keeps the band together very well. It is also evident that this album was recorded live in the studio with almost no overdubbing at all.
Over all, this album is incredible. The stories that are told keep the listener engaged, and the music to accompany the lyrics is equally impressive. However, as said earlier, the music itself can be repetitive.
Guitar and Vocals: Neil Young
Guitar: Danny Whitten
Bass Guitar: Billy Talbot
Percussion: Ralph Molina
[quote=Jom]Nice job, man! I'm glad you decided to write. The only thing that I have to say is that it's a bit redundant to have the tracklist in the review, seeing as how the tracklist is next to the album art.
You did very, very well, seeing as how you started with an overall. That's one route new writers (and even older writers, but I won't mention any names, Jom) tend to avoid more often than not.
But yeah, welcome to the site - feel free to hang out in the Sputnikmusic forum as well.[/quote]
Heh. Yeah. I didn't really think of that when I put it in there.
Nice review. This album is quite nice, although, like you said, very repetitive musically. The story is very nice though, so that kinda makes up, if only the album would've been shorter I would probably pull it out more often. A lot of the songs are way too long (don't get me wrong, I like long songs, but it needs some variation) and could've been cut down to more conventional song lengths.
When I bought this, I received a live DVD as a second disc. On the DVD is a live version of the complete album, in complete acoustic form. The DVD really showcases the lack of variation on the album, seeing as it's just Neil Young, his acoustic guitar, his harmonica and on one track his organ...