Neil Young has long been one of rock’s great romantics, mourning the utopian ideals of the “hippie” ‘60s and his vision of what America was…or at least should have been. In some ways, Greendale–which could be described as a “rock novel”–adds a mourning for humanity itself to the mix, as Young presents his vision of America 2003 via the story of a fictional family in a small California town. There’s drama galore–a cop is killed by a drug dealer; Grandpa has a fatal heart attack while pointing a gun at a TV reporter–but most of these songs also work individually as terrific rock tunes. It’s a more subdued Crazy Horse this time out, with only Neil on lead guitar and little of the distorted rage found on albums like Ragged Glory. But “Grandpa’s Interview” has a gorgeous riff that recalls Zuma’s “Don’t Cry No Tears”; “Be the Rain” is a genuine Neil Young anthem about love, peace, saving the planet, and doing the right thing. A few pieces sound a tad meandering at first, which could lead one to conclude that Greendale is only a good Neil Young album. Repeated listening, however, should confirm that Greendale is a great Neil Young album.Bill Holdship - Amazon.com
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