Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Neil Young 16: Re-ac-tor

Nobody outside his immediate circle knew it, but music wasn’t at the forefront of Neil’s mind in the early ‘80s. He and his wife were busy trying to raise a non-communicative palsy-stricken child. The desperation they felt on a daily basis was reflected in the odd albums that surfaced periodically.
Re-ac-tor has a lot going for it; Crazy Horse, for one. It’s a rock album all the way through, but for the most part it just doesn’t do anything. “Opera Star” uses the F-word for the first time on a Neil album. “Surfer Joe And Moe The Sleaze” apparently about two label executives. But “T-Bone” is an awfully nasty trick. It’s the same riff over and over, with the same seven words repeated on top of it for nine minutes. What’s worse, the track starts mid-progress, so you know they’d been playing it a while. “Get Back On It” has a piano, which breaks up the monotony a bit. That’s the first side.
“Southern Pacific” offers a little more variety, and as a train song, would work slightly better a few years down the road in the Farm Aid format. “Motor City” sounds too much like everything else to stand out. “Rapid Transit” uses a cool riff and stammering effects so we remember it. “Shots” is probably the best tune here, a complete assault that is the polar opposite to the acoustic version first heard in the Rust Never Sleeps era.
Another one of the “Missing 6”, Re-ac-tor was allowed to get dusty before finally appearing on CD in the new century. It didn’t help.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse Re-ac-tor (1981)—

No comments:

Post a Comment