“Magnum opus” isn’t a phrase that should be thrown around carelessly, but Neil’s first album with Crazy Horse in nearly a decade… well, it’s a doozy. Once again we’ve got the long, epic rock dirges like those on Greendale, Ragged Glory, Rust Never Sleeps etc, with some short catchy bits tossed in between. Hell, some of this is as golden as “Cowgirl in the Sand” way back when. He’s an old man now: remember when he sang about being 24 but there’s so much more? Here we find him reflecting on his long life with a graceful dignity. (Kane, has amor fati ever sounded so awesome?) “Walk Like A Giant” is a contender for track of the year.
1. (27:37)* Woah. Nearly half an hour, starts acoustic but quickly picks up into a somber plodding rocker. This has got to be the Horse’s longest song ever—a must-hear.
2. (3:28)*Heavy phaser / flanger effect on a crunchy headnodding rocknroll riff that you’d swear you’ve heard somewhere before
3. (16:51)*Another ambitious long lyrical rock ballad, drenched in overdrive and nostalgia.
4. (3:49) Upbeat country rock about being from Ontario with a happy accordion solo.
1. (3:29) Driftin’ twangy folk-rock vibe, homage to Bob Dylan and autobiographical reflection
2. (8:33) Sad acid-washed tune, kind of sappy with a lot of whining harmonies, searing guitar solos.
3. (4:15) Hushed, somber ballad with very light strumming, religious themes, organ (or synth?) in parts
4. (16:29)** EPIC TRACK OF THE YEAR. A few minutes after he played this at Outside Lands, a guy pushed past me with his girlfriend, yelling at everyone within earshot, “her water just broke!” People were freaking out during the droning feedback at the end—think “Love and Only Love” but longer. (Neil said in some interviews that his favorite parts of Ragged Glory were the minute-long feedback outros. This is longer.) But the first 12 mins are a poignant affirmation of a long and troubled life, full of loud blazing guitar solos.
5. (3:13) the title track with the flanger mixed out