Craggy Neil Young takes his time on 'Pill'
Neil Young & Crazy Horse, "Psychedelic Pill" (Reprise)
Neil Young is in a nostalgic mood on "Psychedelic Pill," a triumphant if somewhat meandering release with his band, Crazy Horse.
The opening track, the 27-minute "Driftin' Back," sets the tone, as a reflective Young sings about turning back the clock and revisiting his past. Sure, at nearly half an hour, it takes its time getting there. Cut the guy some slack. At 66, it takes him some time to get where he needs to be.
"Psychedelic Pill" is the latest in a series of moves by Young retracing his steps. Last month he released his memoir, "Heavy Peace," and this summer director Jonathan Demme released "Neil Young Journeys," a documentary in which Young revisits his Canadian childhood home.
Sure, some of the riffs on "Psychedelic Pill" have more than a passing resemblance to some of Young's best-known songs. And maybe some of the longer ones could have used some judicious editing.
Three of the eight tracks on the double-disc release are 16 minutes or longer. The other four are 4 minutes or less.
It's not like these extended play songs represent unprecedented territory for the craggy Young. As anyone who's played Young's 1969 song "Down By the River" on a bar jukebox knows, you definitely get your money's worth.
"Psychedelic Pill" comes 43 years after that recording and Crazy Horse sounds as good as ever, setting the mood with their signature harmonies, driving guitars and pulsating back beat.
Check this out: "Twisted Road" throws in references to pal and fellow aging baby boomer Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Roy Orbison, Hank Williams and letting the good times roll. It's nostalgic without being corny, rocking without being forced. In other words, it's classic Neil.
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