Monday, May 11, 2009

Album of the Day #149: AFTER THE GOLD RUSH - Neil Young

Artist: Neil Young

Title: After The Gold Rush
Label: Reprise
Year: 1970
Songs: Tell Me Why/After The Gold Rush/Only Love Can Break Your Heart/Southern Man/'Til The Morning Comes/Oh Lonesome Me/Don't Let It Bring You Down/Birds/When You Dance You Can Really Love/I Believe In You/Cripple Creek Ferry
Written by: Neil Young, except "Oh Lonesome Me" by Don Gibson
Produced by: Neil Young & David Briggs
Thoughts: When I got this a few years ago, I admit, initially, I was a little underwhelmed. Not many of the songs reached out and grabbed me and it was particularly annoying that two of the songs are shot, one minute pieces. To this day, I think that "Cripple Creek Ferry" is a silly way to end an album as serious as this.
Thankfully, the fully-developed tracks are amazing enough to let these two short tracks fall by the waist-side. I think that the amazing acoustic "Tell Me Why" and "After The Gold Rush" are just lead-ins to the two power-houses of the album, "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" and "Southern Man". After the cover of "Oh Lonesome Me", the second side just picks up steam, with "Don't Let It Bring You Down", which features some neat lyrics, and then there's the beautiful "Birds". The album reaches a climax with "When You Dance You Can Really Love," which features some fantastic vocals. "I Believe In You" is good, but as I said, "Cripple Creek Ferry" and (the side one closer) "'Til The Morning Comes" are just annoying pieces. I really wish he developed a stronger ending for the album, especially after "I Believe In You".
Coming after Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, I guess it makes sense for Young to try to focus on writing, considering that that album was built on his interplay with Crazy Horse. This is probably one of the reasons why the songs here are much shorter and more focused (only "Southern Man" goes over five minutes). I miss all the fun guitar solos and jams though, and I really wish Young was able to create a balance. Still, it's pretty hard to call this a bad album and I recommend that anyone who hasn't picked it up yet to do so.

other Neil Young reviews: Neil Young and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.

No comments: