Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Neil Young 19: Landing On Water

Neil had been through electronics, rockabilly and country, and supposedly woke up one day with a big beat banging in his head. Whatever he heard must not have been pleasant, because Landing On Water is awful.
Some of the songs had been around for a while, and while he toured with Crazy Horse to support it, for the album he went for a sound akin to three guys in a garage studio with a bunch of synthesizers. It’s still unknown what co-conspirators Danny Kortchmar and Steve Jordan think of the album, but it’s not encouraging when Trans can be said to rock hard in comparison to this clunker.
Of all the bad songs here, only a few are worth mentioning. “Weight Of The World” doesn’t work as a lead track or anything else. “Hippie Dream” might have come off better had it germinated until the ‘60s revival a year later. “Touch The Night” is a less successful rewrite of “Like A Hurricane” with impenetrable lyrics. “Drifter” features an annoying guitar line that Sting would steal for his next hit single. Occasionally there’s a riff or a moment that gives you hope, but these are never followed up. And to add an occasional boys’ choir into the mix is simply cruel and unusual punishment.
Landing On Water is an ugly, ugly-sounding album that leaves a bad taste. It’s his worst to date, and a feat he hopefully won’t try to repeat.

Neil Young Landing On Water (1986)—2


  1. Yes, this one is horrid. The only song I can sit through is "Touch the Night."

  2. To be honest, it took me years to understand the album. But one day, my ears opened for 'Landing on Water'.
    Yes, it sounds ugly, but the same thing can be said about the electric songs on 'Time Fades Away'.
    Like 'Tonight's The Night', it's an album about despair and stress.
    It's a great piece of art and avant garde. But I understand if not every one can relate to this.
    Howerver, Neil Young himself considers this to this day as one of his best albums! And he's right.