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Are You Passionate? Import
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|8. When I Hold You In My Arms|
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|11. She's A Healer|
NEIL YOUNG Are You Passionate? (2002 UK 11-track CD album housed in a gatefold card picture sleeve - still sealed)
Though Are You Passionate? is Neil Young's studio-recorded follow-up to 2000's Silver & Gold, it might well have emerged on the heels of Harvest Moon. While both Crazy Horse and Booker T & the MGs swing by to add ballast to several of these 11 brand-new tracks, gentle weepers such as "Don't Say You Love Me", "When I Hold You in My Arms" and the softly lilting title track recall Young's aforementioned 1992 work while suggesting that the once-outspoken social critic and on-again, off-again CSN&Y member is mellowing. Further proof of that can be found in the tender opening song, "You're My Girl"--a postcard from a father to a daughter on the cusp of adulthood and presumably inspired by Young's daughter Amber--as well as in the lazy, languid "Two Old Friends". Are You Passionate?'s one serious clunker, "Let's Roll", was inspired by the 9/11 cell-phone call Todd Beamer placed moments before he and other passengers on Flight 93 went down in a Pennsylvania field. You can't fault the guy for commemorating a heroic act and making a personal donation to the Beamer family, but all his talk of "going after Satan on the wings of a dove" and "facing down evil" sounds like a guy who's spent more time watching CNN than honing his lyrics. --Kim Hughes
Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
This album is an absolute gem. It is not only my favorite Young album, but my favorite cd in my collection (about 400). Read morePublished on May 4 2004
Neil young has made huge contributions to the world of rock&roll, created some of the greatest rock albums of all time (zuma, ragged glory, everbody knows, etc. Read morePublished on April 1 2004 by Will Schaefer
I love this cd and would recommend it to anyone who likes groovin' melodies. I am not a real big NY fan but this cd has changed my mind. Read morePublished on Dec 31 2003 by Barbara S.
This is again another different style for NY.Some beutiful soulfull ballads played with some great guitar riffs.Also some good NY semi rockers. Read morePublished on Dec 31 2003 by A. CAMPBELL
I really like this album though like some other listeners it took a while to grow on me. It's perfect late night- I had to listen to it before crashing for the night on several... Read morePublished on Dec 24 2003 by Tys
Not even as good as "This Note's for You." A Neil Young album should not be this boring.Published on Nov. 1 2003 by Richard D. Price
Neil should have asked himself that question before churning this one out. Neil has recorded with a lot of different people but Booker T and the MG's just isn't right. Read morePublished on Oct. 16 2003
I can't understand the bad reviews of this CD. EVERY song is great!!!! Solid songwriting; another classic from NY. Read morePublished on Sept. 17 2003 by Michael J. Holland
This is not a very good album from one of the best songwriters, Neil Young. I hardly consider this or his last album, Silver and Gold, to be "comeback" albums. Read morePublished on Aug. 19 2003 by Nick Bobraton
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