Friday, December 9, 2022

Neil Young 66: World Record

When Neil’s on a roll, it shows. Back with Crazy Horse for an unprecedented third album in a row, World Record finds the boys holed up in the legendary Shangri-La Studios, now owned by co-producer Rick Rubin. Yet the sound is just as ragged and rough-hewn as anything Neil ever recorded in a barn. The environment is the main topic again, but at least the songs aren’t as ranting or myopic as before.
The lyrical content aside, “Love Earth” is a subdued and misleading opener; kids of a certain age will appreciate that he’s appropriated the melody from the closing theme from The Magic Garden TV show. Here we also hear the “kick tub” that will feature prominently among the band’s percussion. “Overhead” is almost jaunty, with a piano and what sounds like a banjo but isn’t listed. While we can’t say it’s dreamy, the middle section that provides the title and an interlude is a good transition between the halves. He’s said he started these songs by whistling as he walked, so we’ll forgive him for lifting his own melody from “Looking Forward” on “I Walk With You (Earth Ringtone)”. The track itself is nice and sludgy, with Nils Lofgren’s pedal steel providing another link to earlier albums. His accordion provides the other sound on the gentle “This Old Planet (Changing Days)”, which is otherwise pinned to a honky-tonk backing.
“The World (Is In Trouble Now)” delivers more parentheses and pounding, driven by a wheezy pump organ over a three note riff slash melody and one bass note. “Break The Chain” is only a little more inventive, but it’s all electric, which helps its “Fork In The Road”-style charm. “The Long Day Before” would almost be a lullaby but for the organ and the verse about television and the internet, and the closing slap at conspiracy theorist. “Walkin’ On The Road (To The Future)” uses most of the same instrumentation and has an anti-war message, making it poorly placed. The organ is still in use on “The Wonder Won’t Wait”, which could potentially be a cool electric stomp.
Those looking for epic Horse crunch will love “Chevrolet”, a 15-minute reverie into the past with intertwining guitars that yet again shows what Nils brings to the table, and makes the rambles on Psychedelic Pill seem even more tedious. After all that, what’s listed as a “Reprise” of “This Old Planet” is actually an early sketch, mumbled by Neil at the electric piano.
Partially as part of his campaign for his music to only be heard on vinyl, the first nine songs, which total a half-hour, are split between two sides on a record and make up one CD, while “Chevrolet” and the reprise constitute a third side and their own CD. His other excuse was this way the photos of his brother and sister were preserved on the individual sleeves. At any rate, anyone not streaming it has to get up and change discs, just like we used to. And you should, as “Chevrolet” definitely caps the album well.

Neil Young With Crazy Horse World Record (2022)—3


  1. Neil has definitely been on a roll here in 2022, for sure. Thanks Wardo! #66?! Time is flying. Will Neil/you break 100???

    1. Thank YOU!
      If he keeps putting out unique releases, yes. If we're getting more shows from 1971, those will get tacked on elsewhere.