Sunday, April 24, 2011

Neil Young song of the day (3)

Neil's 2005 album, "Prairie Wind", harks back to acoustic country-folk outings like "Comes A Time". But you would probably be happier going back to "Comes A Time" itself, given that this time around the acoustic-guitar-driven ballads, though of a uniformly high quality, are interspersed with, uh, other types of songs. One comes across as some kind of a paranoid-conspiracy song. One is, let's not mince words, a hymn. In the traditional sense. One is an extended riff about Elvis, complete with Elvis-type voiceovers. (Surely one of the main problems with being "Neil Young" is that nobody is there to put their hand on your shoulder and say "Bad idea, Neil.")

Which leaves the title track, seven and a half minutes of fine acoustic-guitar playing, great brass lines, and a "chorus" (if that's what it is) sung in gospel style by a wall of female singers. Note the space between the verse lines, long even at the start of the song but even longer in the second half. Like, I'm going to take my own sweet time doing this. The theme, like that of much of the album, is one of looking back. (This, one assumes, has to do with a life-threatening medical condition Young suffered during the making of the record.) It appears that the song has not been YouTubed, so you can download it here (right click, save as, etc) for the time being. It is well worth listening to, but you really have to be in a position where there are no pressing demands on your time and you can afford to just allow it to wash over you. Like the best Neil Young songs, it will distort your sense of the passage of time.