Sunday, September 19, 2010

Neil Young's After the Gold Rush is 40

Neil Young - After the Gold Rush
Neil Young
After the Gold Rush
Rating: **** or even **** 1/2

Note: Wikipedia, I could've sworn, said the album was released September 19.
As of now, it says August 31. However, RateYourMusic says the album was released
September 19. I'm still writing this because it's one of
my all time favorite albums.

For a short amount of time, Canadian rocker Neil Young was in the band Buffalo Springfield. when the band split around 1968. Young decided to pursue a solo career. His self-titled debut album, released in 1968, was met with mixed reviews. Young improved with his second album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. The album contained some of Young's best material such as "Cinnamon Girl", "Down by the River", and "Cowgirl in the Sand". In 1970, Young joined Crosby, Stills, and Nash (which changed their name to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young). For Young's third album After the Gold Rush, he became more of a singer/songwriter. Some people still believe that After the Gold Rush is Young's best album.

The album opens with "Tell Me Why", which is a great opener for the album It sets the mood for what is to come for the album. The lyric of "Is it hard to make arrangements with yourself?" sounds very melodic and true. The self-titled track could be either annoying or amusing for the listener at first due to Young's falsetto vocals throughout the entire song. After a few listens, there's no denying that this is a beautiful song and has wonderful lyrics that talk about the environment. "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" sees Young still singing falsetto to this somewhat depressing song. It has been said that Young wrote the song for Graham Nash after his split with Joni Mitchell. "Southern Man" is a rocker and a stand out track for sure. The song is said to be about racism and about how the South treated their slaves. Notably, Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote their response to this song with the hit "Sweet Home Alabama" which mentions Young in the lyrics (which Young later was quoted to saying he was proud to be mentioned in the song). "Till The Morning Comes" is short and sweet while "Oh Lonesome Me" is a folksy/blusey cover of a Don Gibson song. While the original and many other versions are upbeat, Young changed it around and made the song sound "lonesome" in some way. Just listen to the original and Young's version back to back. You'll hear the difference. "Don't Let It Bring You Down" is another good album-only track while "Birds" is mainly piano-oriented. "When You Dance I Can Really Love" is another one of my favorites off the album. It's upbeat and pretty rocking. "I Believe in You" is another heart-felt number with a great chorus. The album ends with another short and sweet track, "Cripple Creek Ferry" which has this sort of bounce to it that ends thee album perfectly.

After the Gold Rush is certainly one of my favorite album of all time. Currently on my Top 200 list, it sits at #33. This makes it my favorite Neil Young album. After the Gold Rush did a lot for Young's solo career. He was able to record more albums including Harvest, which is his best selling album ever mainly due to the fact that it caught the attention of country listeners. Of Young's 40 (!) some studio albums, After the Gold Rush is certainly my favorite.

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