|1. You're My Girl|
|2. Mr. Disappointment|
|4. Quit (Don't Say You Love Me)|
|5. Let's Roll|
|6. Are You Passionate?|
|7. Goin' Home|
|8. When I Hold You In My Arms|
|9. Be With You|
|10. Two Old Friends|
|11. She's A Healer|
This album is a case of being "worth more than the sum of its parts." Taken individually, each song seems a bit lost after hearing the entire album. I usually listen to the whole cd from start to finish, and I'm always left satisfied. Young was definitely inspired when he created this album -- and it will leave you inspired as well.
Let's hope that wasn't Neil's intent, even subliminally, because it just doesn't cut it. This album is funky, but undistinguished, and funky isn't what Neil does best anyway. Funky is done well by Booker T. Jones and Donald 'Duck' Dunn, who accompany Young here, but the wrong partner is leading the dance. Neil's guitar has a big, resonant sound throughout much of the disc, with little of the trademark distortion and feedback that often makes for a good, biting Young tune. You might call some of these numbers slick. There are even backing vocals here that are reminisient of Motown art.
The album pretty much breaks down to two sets of four songs each that open and close the album, and that sound pretty much the same. The best of the bunch are the opener, 'You're My Girl', offering standard pop fare, and the closer, 'She's a Healer' a love poem to Neil's wife that is beautiful lyrically and possessing an infectious beat and bold guitar lines.
Between these 4-song bookends are two numbers that are much heavier in their sound and character. 'Let's Roll' is a dark anthem, 'Ohio' in 9-11 time.Read more ›
It's telling, then, that only three songs here features such clever use of words: the title track, the killer "Goin' Home", and the final track, "She's a Healer". When Neil sings, "Are you negative in a world that never stops... turning on you," the listener's mind hangs on every word (stops ... turning ... on you) as we round the syntactic bend and realize what he's saying. "Goin' Home" features lyrics are impressive even when compared to the rest of Young's work: "Elusively, she cut the phone / and jumped from cell to cell / really looking remarkable / -- and obviously doing well", the slant rhymes all work and grab the listener by the throat. "She's a Healer" features very evocative turns of phrase that hint at something unsaid, while using a cliche ("Let the good times roll") in a very interesting way. It features a groaner of a rhyme (that ends with "Without her, I'd be toast").
Word choice is only craft, though; what about the art? The majority of the songs here are meditations on getting old, on losing children, loves, and friends, and the majority have a very limited use of symbolism. Aside from "Goin' Home", everything means exactly what it says and nothing more. At least lyrically speaking, that means it's just not great art.
Well, when art is gone, there's always meaning, right? Well, sadly, AYP? features a shaky-sounding Shakey mouthing plagiarized sentiments a younger Young might well have mocked.Read more ›