Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Neil's new album. A (p)review.

I have been listening to Fork In The Road all day now, starting yesterday at 9:00. I have seen all his videos, and he has been posting about one a week. The record hits stores today, and I hope people pick it up. It isn't as good as Living With War, but then I absolutely loved Living With War. This one is a little dirtier, a little grungier, and has a lot more to do with his car. Which I think is awesome also. A quick track-by-track review:

1. When Worlds Collide - Opens with a pretty standard, pretty self-explanatory mission statement about Neil's trek across the U.S. in his LincVolt. "Takin' a trip across the USA, Gonna see a lot of people along the way..." Grungy, dirty, but not quite a rocker. It's a cool song about how he loves his car the way the kids once did in the 60s. Only, his doesn't suck up "all the peoples' fuel".

2. Fuel Line - If Neil Young were the Beach Boys (and, of course, he is not) this would be his "Little Deuce Coupe". Only it's a lot grungier, rocks a lot harder, and is, possibly, more cheesy. But I love this kind of cheese. His ode to the LincVolt "the awesome power of electricity, stored for you in her big battery" - really, it gets no cheesier than a line like that one. But Neil Young manages to walk a fine line between sweet, demented old man and earth-shaking social awareness changing rock star. And never more so than in this tune.

3. Just Singing A Song - Neil slows things down here, in what could possibly be considered the "ballad" of the album. Still talking about his car, and the quiet energy with which it rolls, he basically says "just singing a song won't change the world". Maybe just driving a car won't change the world either, but Neil is trying, as best he can.

4. Johnny Magic - Sounds a little like the "Johnny Rotten" from "Hey Hey My My", the repeated chorus. Again, about his LincVolt, Johnny Magic is perhaps the person who was born to create the eco-friendly car, then have it burst from his garage.
http://new.music.yahoo.com/videos/--208572348

5. Cough Up the Bucks - The spoken-word-chanted chorus is a little irritating, but the song is fun. In it, he says "it's all about my car". If we hadn't got that point yet, by track five, we were never going to get it.

6. Get Behind the Wheel - Guess what this one's about? A fast-paced rocker, this song is perhaps the most melodic of the album. So, Neil's "Fun Fun Fun"?

7. Off The Road - Another driving tune...this one slower and more ballady than the others.

8. Hit the Road - And...more car stuff! Again, an ode to his car - "she looks so beautiful with her top down", and more environmental messages "bumper to bumper in a giant cloud of fumes"
http://vids.eonline.com/services/player/bcpid1396519019?bctid=18492650001

9. Light A Candle - A hopeful song. Like, maybe just maybe the world is moving in the right direction. "What we do now will always be with us". It's almost clunky, but Neil remains very cool through what could be a rather maudlin tune in the hands of someone else.
http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2009/03/13/exclusive-premiere-neil-youngs-video-for-light-a-candle/

10. Fork In The Road - The best tune on the album. Shades of "Rockin' In The Free World", and it wraps up the album nicely with a dirty, powerful rocker. The car, the environment, the message of hope, and the timeliness - Neil even talks bailouts!
http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=50295490

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