After the Gold Rush is almost always regarded as Neil Young’s best album; it happens to be one of his least raved about. Rust Never Sleeps is one of the greatest, most passionate statements rock ‘n’ roll has seen. But After the Gold Rush is surely his best. Why? There’s not a particle of slickness or fakery in this man. The melody on here is perfect, the lyrics georgeous (he never drowns in his metaphors) and the LP manages to discreetly rise above its generally sombre mood to become timeless; the idea is that the true passion of the material only reveals itself after being lovingly played over and over.
10 Relocated silver seeds out of 10
When I first gave this the proverbial ”proper listen”, I was struck by how aspirational it seemed. I was outraged. A rock album that ditches despondence for ambition?! Sacrilege. Upon second, third and countless other listens, I now realize that these characters’ aspirations/dreams are often shattered at the end. The despondence is mostly just shown ‘off-screen’? Nice trick. The production was what Phil Spector dreamt of, although the elaborate, operatic layering is product of 2 years of striving for studio perfection, not simply trickery, and the songs don’t let it down.
9 Backstreets out of 10
If I thought Music From Big Pink and the Brown Album were the ultimate album comforts on a winter’s evening, The Basement Tapes really embedded a picturesque image of reclusive troubadors hiding out in a basement recording music that brought you back to an older vision of America and the joy of the recording process, with added humor and lyrics that were less obtuse than on Dylan’s earlier records. The delight of this album, or more specifically these 1967 sessions, is that they evoke a sense of a growing of character in Bob and the Band, as they seem to evolve as lyricists, musicians, and friends under the backdrop of back-to-basics Woodstock. The band would come to grow tired of Woodstock’s hedonism and relocate to Malibu, where they would make their first boring album. Yes, Malibu; the capital of the staunch work ethic…
8 Projectile juice gobs out of 10
Keep your juice to yourself…