Neil Young
After the Gold Rush


4.0
excellent

Review

by Travis Marmon USER (32 Reviews)
June 4th, 2014 | 18 replies


Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The definitive Neil Young record.

Every week for the foreseeable future (or until I get bored of the project), I will be reviewing a handful of albums from a given year. They may be albums that I feel are overlooked; that are in need of a review; or are just something that I want to write about. This week: 1970

I resisted getting into Neil Young for years. I don't know if it was my longtime aversion to "softer rock" (never mind that Neil can rip as hard as anybody from his era), my general disinterest in lyrics (never mind that Neil could make a lazy day watching television sound vital), or just my general stubbornness (never mind that I loved the song "Old Man," which was a soft, lyrically focused song). But a few summers ago, when I was trying to overcome that last factor by listening to some essential albums, I finally gave in and spun After the Gold Rush. I immediately kicked myself for waiting so long. While it's not my favorite Neil Young record (that would be Everybody Knows This is Nowhere), After the Gold Rush is the essential Neil Young album.

The album opens with three of its quieter songs, highlighted by the piano-led title track in which Young demonstrates just how perfectly he can generate melancholy with his voice. Soon after comes "Southern Man," which is Crazy Horse at their finest. This is one of the most furious, apocalyptic songs that Neil ever put out, and also one of his best. His trademark solo style is in full effect, playing off of a pounding piano line.

"Southern Man" is a brief diversion in sound, but it fits the overall tone because, like every good Neil Young song, it has something to say. And every one of these songs has something to say--or at least feels like it. Whether the instrumentation is bare or Young is using the full Crazy Horse band, every song on After the Gold Rush feels important. It doesn't matter if Young is being introspective or socially critical, he demands that you listen to him. Nobody sounds like they've had as much life experience and wisdom as Neil Young does, even if he was only 24 when he recorded this album.

These days I still feel like I respect Neil Young more than I enjoy him. I don't care for the country and folk music that he so obviously embraces. But it's almost impossible to listen to an album like After the Gold Rush and not hear his genius, even if "Southern Man" and "When You Dance You Can Really Love" are the only two songs that fit my general listening habits. It's only my fifth-favorite album of 1970 and it gets the 4.0 rating that I bestow upon the majority of music that I enjoy, but in an attempt to speak objectively, After the Gold Rush is not only at the very top of 1970, but one of the greatest albums of the decade. A mandatory listen for anyone who appreciates rock music in general.



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user ratings (643)
Chart.
4.4
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
greencorn5
June 4th 2014


217 Comments


This and Harvest, both essential. I may give this the slight edge though. Thx for reviewing this gem.

HenchmanOfSanta
June 4th 2014


1899 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're welcome. I realize that this review violates the "show, don't tell" rule of writing pretty hard, but I'm also guessing that most readers are familiar enough with the album to get what I'm saying.

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ShitsofRain
June 4th 2014


5943 Comments


my fav ny

ZackSh33
June 4th 2014


353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Every week for the foreseeable future (or until I get bored of the project)"

This is a cool idea. How many are you planning on doing for each year?

There's one note in the title track on here that he hits when he says "There was a..." and its just soooo bad but the rest of the album is great

NorthernSkylark
June 4th 2014


4212 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

First five studio LP's are essential to me, though I would probably advice newcomers to start here. It's my favourite of his, but it's all a matter of taste


Digging: The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave

HenchmanOfSanta
June 4th 2014


1899 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a cool idea. How many are you planning on doing for each year?


I'm shooting for 3-5, depending on the year and my own busyness. I work part time at something of an upstart news organization, so this is a nice way to keep generating clips of a different variety when I have days off.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
June 4th 2014


16112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

his new one was a bit odd, recorded on some ancient LP cutting machine thing lo-fi xtreme

Digging: H.P. Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft II

Deckard
June 4th 2014


3 Comments


Cool review, man. Got a soft spot for Neil Young.

TWIGtheWONDERKID
June 4th 2014


904 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Made before Auto-Tune (obviously). He doesn't have the best singing voice, but he really knows how to make it work for him . . . great songwriter tho.

Digging: David Bowie - Nothing Has Changed

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
June 4th 2014


21392 Comments


Title track is far and away the best song on here. Demonstrates his song writing at its absolute best and is on a different level to everything else I've heard by him.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
June 4th 2014


16112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cortez tho

dannyboy89
June 4th 2014


12784 Comments


Pos'd.

TWIGtheWONDERKID
June 4th 2014


904 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Went to see him last year. He doesn't even do this stuff anymore--too bad.

tommygun
June 4th 2014


25094 Comments


sweet album average review m/

Digging: Banks - Goddess

Gyromania
June 5th 2014


15964 Comments


Title track is far and away the best song on here


tell me why deserves that spot imo

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
June 5th 2014


21392 Comments


Great song but definitely not on the same level for me. Title track is lyrical perfection.

mifzal
June 5th 2014


903 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

you can rip of some of him stuff and still sound great

mifzal
June 5th 2014


903 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i mean i would still listen to it



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