Neil Young: Colorado (Warners/digital outlets)

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Neil Young: Colorado (Warners/digital outlets)

Maybe it's time to call “time” on the much vaunted greatness of Neil Young?

Most of his better albums among the very many released this century – almost 30 in 19 years – have been pulled from his archives. And among the new recordings he has largely revisited the familiar (acoustic Neil, slightly country Neil) alongside eccentric non-events like A Letter Home, leaden or simplistic politics (the dire Living with War and blunt knife of The Monsanto Years) with just the odd one to sit up for (Le Noise).

Colorado is Neil getting back to the certainties of yesteryear by working with Crazy Horse again, for the first time since their divisive but enjoyable wig-out on Psychedelic Pill seven years ago.

Not exactly the same Crazy Horse however: guitarist Frank Sampedro has stepped down and the great Nils Lofgren, a longtime Young compadre is back in.

But this is still that same wonky, gloriously ramshackle rock band . . . which allows Young plenty of guitar space on the lyrically silly but enjoyably clunking 13-plus minute She Showed Me Love.

That downbeat Crazy Horse grind is the vehicle for the demented character and searing guitar of Help Me Lose My Mind, and the menacing Shut It Down (an admirable sentiment, but yet another Neil song about ecology and the parlous state of the planet).

Eternity is a minor league piano thing, Green is Blue is pretty and worthy (another song about the environment) and the mystical, slightly dippy lyrics only detract a little from Milky Way which becomes an archetypal but enjoyable slow and understated Young/Horse jam.

Olden Days (isn't that a Neil Young title?) is among the best of the 10 songs here: wobbly voiced Neil in reflective mode addressing an old friend/flame in a considered mid-tempo song with a pretty melody which suits its sentimentality.

Elsewhere you can acknowledge the sincerity of the sentiment (Rainbow of Colours) and admit I Do right at the end is lovely from a man closing in on 74 who's seen his fair share of loses recently.

Neil Young followers will doubtless embrace this because it is their man back on the Horse and is as comfortably familiar as their favourite 20thcentury Young albums.

But perhaps late at night or in their private moments they might have to concede there's nothing new or especially challenging about Neil Young here.

And maybe there hasn't been for quite a while.

Old ways and olden days, indeed.

You can hear Colorado on Spotify here

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Your Comments

Rik Roper - Oct 30, 2019

It's a lovely album. Sure his voice is getting a bit shakey, but for me some of this is like a mellow version of Ragged Glory. There is a fragility to this that I find appealing - he may not be challenging us but perhaps he is just giving us the gift of his talent purely for our enjoyment. I've had it on repeat off and on - thumbs up from me!

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