Sound — 9
This album is a very impressive piece of work and in my opinion contains some of the best work that he's ever created. Young's vocals and playing styles are very distinctive and there are plenty of moments of genius throughout. This album was created in a studio set up in Young's basement in 1970. Although not receiving much acclaim when it was first released, over the years it has been recognised as a landmark album in Young's career. The styles used throughout the album are generally folk and rock styles throughout. "Southern Man" is a very rock orientated song in contrast to "Tell Me Why" which is very much a country song. The different styles throughout make for a very interesting and enjoyable listen.
Lyrics — 9
I personally thought the lyrics were fantasic throughout! Particularly poignant is "Southern Man", which deals with the racism in the south very graphically. Also there are very strong messages to be derived from songs such as "Only Love can Break Your Heart" and there are powerful metaphors throughout the album. The lyrics comply very well with the music. The music is very well thought out and his voice and the lyrics match it perfectly. Young has a particularly distinctive voice and whether you like his voice or not, you will find it difficult to forget. Although I like his singing there are many people who don't. His voice is strikingly high-pitched and has a slightly nasal tone and it might take people a while to adjust to this.
Overall Impression — 10
I definitely think that this album is as good as any other work that Young ever created. The songs themselves are very well constructed and the songs written are still as relevant today as they were back when they were written. His guitar work is to be commended as he takes very simple chords but uses them very effectively, His style of playing is very unique and instantly recognisable. There is also some very good harmonica playing and piano playing during the album, particularly noteworthy is the song "After the Goldrush" itself for the piano playing throughout it. The melody is incredible in this song and in my opinion is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Another very impressive song is "Don't Let it Bring You Down". The lyrics and his choice of chords are superb and it is one song that I never tire of listening to. There is very little on this album to dislike I think, although if you are not a fan of his voice, this will do little to change your mind. The production is also not perfect. As I mentioned earlier this was recorded in his basement though so that is quite self-explanatory. I would certainly invest in another copy of this if I misplaced it. It is one of my most-listened to albums that I own and I would feel slightly empty without it in my collection.