"Are You Passionate" is an amalgam of sessions with Booker T & the MGs and Crazy Horse. By now, the seasoned Neil Young fan isn't surprised by his habit of lumping together such disparate styles - He's been doing it for years. What is surprising is that it's the Booker T tracks that find the groove and lift this album into praiseworthiness, while the Crazy Horse tracks tend to bog it down. Much of Neil's most riveting work has been done with the Horse, but there are no sparks here. "Goin' Home," which if played with any audible enthusiasm, could have been a monster just like many other Crazy Horse anthems that came before. But it's just lumbering along, as if to say, "Been there, done that." Not bad, just a bit tired sounding. Then there's the real clinker. "Let's Roll." It was released shortly after the 9/11 tragedies in honor of the heroes who brought down the plane over Philadelphia, rather than allow it to be used as a weapon. Great sentiment, but it just doesn't work musically. I'll forgive Neil this little failure. It's one of the few that he's turned out in his 35-year career.
But there are some real gems on this album, more than counter-balancing for the one stinker. Most notably, the plaintive title track and the hip-shaker "She's a Healer." Both of these feature unusually slick and precise guitar solos meshing nicely with the punchy rhythm and Hammond fills by Booker T & the MGs.
Because of songs like these, "Are You Passionate" is distinct in the Neil Young catalog and worth buying on their merit alone.