Sound — 8
Neil Young is one of my favourite musical artists and this is a lot different to most of the kind of work I had heard by him. This is a concept album based on one particular family in a fictional American town. The album was released by Neil Young in 2003 along with a film going by the same name. This is more rock-orientated than a lot of his work but that was to be expected as he was working with Crazy Horse. But unlike most of his work with Crazy Horse there are no huge extended guitar solos. Instead the emphasis is placed more on the lyrical side of things. One thing to note is that the album is best when listened to in full. There is no real point just picking one song to listen to as they only fit well when together. The album has to be listened to in full in order to be able to take from it fully and be appreciated properly.
Lyrics — 10
I thought the lyrics are fantastic throughout the album. They're consistently strong and the fact that this is a concept album makes it much tougher to keep his listeners entertained yet this is exactly what Young manages to do. There are certain moments of lyrical genius throughout this album and the story that he tells is a very powerful one and also very thought provoking. The lyrics fit very well with the music in my opinion. The tempo noticably changes with the mood of each song and the riffs, though repeated often, match the lyrics very well. The strength of this album relies more on the lyrics than the music yet still there are some great sounding riffs such as the main theme throughout the song "Double E". His singing still sounds great and his voice is as distinctive as ever. His vocals fit this kind of concept very well and suit the moods that he is trying to portray in this story.
Overall Impression — 8
It is hard to compare it to Young's other work as it is a much different type of project than we are generally accustomed to hearing from him. But as a concept it stands very strong by itself. The themes it covers throughout are all very interesting and I would often find myself thinking about them long after I have finished listening to the album. It is hard to take a favourite song from this album. I mentioned before that they only really fit well together and that when listened to individually they do not have the same affect although the song "Carmichael" is impressive and it really portrays the bad mood that was creeping into the story at this time. I love the story told throughout the album myself. It is a story that would stand very strong on it's own and the fact that it was made into an album is impressive. There is very little on this album to hate although those looking for his more folk-orientated work may be disappointed and fans of his work with Crazy Horse may be disappointed at the lack of extended guitar solos compared to his other work. But all in all it is a very strong album and should be listened to for the story if nothing else.