That the 1980s were easilly Neil Young's worst decade (at least, in terms of his creativity) is shown again on "Life." The album marked his only collaboration during that decade with his great backing band Crazy Horse, and as such represents the least of his dozen or so recordings with that band. "Life" contains little of the guitar fury that marks the best of his Crazy Horse work ("Tonight's the Night," "Ragged Glory," for example), and his attempts to be topical ("Mideast Vacation") fall strangely flat. The problem lies mostly in the songwriting. While there are no truly bad tracks, there are no real standouts either, although two of the songs, "Prisoners" and "When Your Lonely Heart Breaks," really came to life a decade later on the live "Year of the Horse" album, suggesting that they just hadn't been thoroughly thought through.
Overall, "Life" isn't a bad album, it just can't hold a candle to this great artist's best works.