- Audio CD (Aug. 19 2003)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Reprise
- ASIN: B0000AI44Q
- Other Editions: Audio CD | LP Record
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
|1. Falling From Above|
|2. Double E|
|3. Leave The Driving|
|6. Devil's Sidewalk|
|7. Grandpa's Interview|
|8. Bringin' Down Dinner|
|9. Sun Green|
|10. Be The Rain|
Young's peculiar blend of control-freakery and sloppiness ensure Greendale is raw where concept albums are usually over-polished. Crazy Horse play with that bewildering naivety so typical of them, and the wrinkled spirit that they and Young bring to "Devil's Sidewalk" and the beautifully aimless "Carmichael" makes you forgive most of their self-indulgences. Even the spellbindingly crass "Be the Rain" is redeemed by Young interrupting the platitudes sung by his wife, as he bawls semi-coherently through a megaphone. There are signs, too--especially in the thoughtful "Bandit"--that he's smuggling very personal reflections on age into what initially appears to be a detached drama (much as Lou Reed, an unlikely fellow traveller, did on his underrated The Raven). Try and circumnavigate the schtick: this is the most endearing Neil Young album for some time. --John Mulvey
Concept albums like "Tommy" and "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" are a rarity these days. Neil brings us songs about "Greendale" (10 tracks, 78 min.), a fictional small town of about 20,000 people. Neil is so focused on the story-telling that he seems to have forgotten about the music. I can honestly say there is not a single track that "grabbed" me, purely from the musical perspective. Not a lot of tempo changes either: all the songs are mid-tempo (at best), where's the passion? Sometimes you just wish that he'd up the tempo and blast you away, but alas. The songs go from one to another and after a while it all starts to sound the same. Not to mention that this is a long, long, long labor. With just 10 tracks in 78 min, that's averaging about 8 min. per song. "Granpa's Interview" just goes on and on and on, for 12+ min, with no changes to speak of, whew!
The bonus DVD (here the St. Vicar, Ireland gig of Neil solo, in a later reissue the "Greendale" movie Neil shot with amateur actors) is a nice touch. Too bad the music simply isn't up to par.
I mean, it isn't as though members of the original Woodstocker wing of Young's fan base will hear him sing "we've got to save mother Earth" on "Be The Rain," Greendale's fabulously hokey coda, and drop their jaws in astonishment, declaring "Man! Now there's something I never expected out of the guy's mouth!"
Whether it is "Grandpa," the Green family's wealthy patriarch killed by media assault, or Sun Green, his granddaughter, a bandleader with a particularly overwhelming urge to protect Alaska from environmental ruin, there is rarely any question as to whom the Green family owes its gripes and eccentricities. Nor is there much surprise that Greendale's characters, each a mouthpiece for the curmudgeon who forged them, are no more distinct from one another than one shade of gray from the next.
"There's a lot going on in Greendale that I don't know about either," Young scribbles in the liner notes, "I mean, I made it up and I don't know what the hell's going on." The man's not kidding. From the FBI to Edith to Earle to Lenore to Jed's car "full-uh-cocaine" and, oh yeah, the cop he shoots dead, the action here boasts of about as much clarity and purpose as Mary Carey's candidacy for Governor of California.Read more ›
I honestly can say that I have every recording that Neil has ever done. 95% of them I love, some I kind of push aside. I'm still waiting for a similar album to "Harvest Moon", which I think was the best album he ever did. I just know it will come eventually!!
Anyway, this recording was a surprise for me. I wasn't really sure what I was going to get, but the moment I listened to it, it brought me back to the feelings that I got from some of Neil's earlier works.
The thing that drove it all home for me was the bonus DVD of him, in Ireland of all places, doing a complete accoustic set of the entire album. Although I loved the footage, I think it would have been better to be somewhere domestic...he is so political--so be on home turf, Neil. California would have been the spot, since it is where the "story" takes place.
Regardless, I was hooked, it was fantastic. I didn't know I was getting the DVD and tried to plug it into my car stereo where it was promptly rejected. Ok, I thought, go to the DVD player. Wow! I LOVED his communications, humor, lyrics and music. When I listened to the CD after that, I was able to envision the entire wonderful story...like a great book.
Although I don't think this is one of his most profound ventures, I do love the album and play it all the time. It is definitely worth it if you love Neil. As always, he is ever-evolving. I'm a faithful and loyal listener and will always be grateful for whatever he conjures up!