This one never really got the respect it deserved, but in 1981, it was all about the synth (which makes a couple of appearances here, mostly as atmospheric filler amongst the familiar chaos of guitars, drums and bass).
It's a big, sludgy mess, of course, which is why it's so delicious. "Opera Star" is hysterically funny, because it's just so damn STOOPID. "Surfer Joe and Moe the Sleaze" carries a serious wallop, a killer riff, and not much more. "T-bone" gets even more granular: one huge riff pounded into oblivion for nine-plus minutes, while Neil laments the fact that he's "got mashed potatoes, ain't got no T-bone" over and over and over.
"Get Back On It" isn't gonna make things any harder for you: over one of the most basic of 'oldies rock' structures, Neil and Horse muse on the virtues and pitfalls of getting back on the road. Do they miss some of the simplest chord changes in rock history, more than once? Do they sound like a bunch of drunks trying to remember a Little Richard song on barely-adequate equipment? Oh yes they do, and it's a joy. NOBODY makes looseness sound quite this... uh... loose. It just goes from there. Neil sounds like he's having a total blast on this one.
Is it essential Neil Young? Probably not. Neil has written some tremendously insightful, thoughtful songs. He's written some fierce, timeless rock anthems. He's experimented with electronics and bluegrass and old-school country. Don't look for anything like that here.
This is the Neil Young you know from side two of RUST NEVER SLEEPS. This is the Neil Young of SLEEPS WITH ANGELS' 'Trans Am'. This is the 'whoo' thrown off before the solo in 'Cinnamon Girl'. It's just good ol' fashioned blast-in-the-car riffage. Take as needed.