Category: Certain Songs

Certain Songs #1295: Neil Young – “Peace Trail”

Album: Peace Trail
Year: 2016

Recorded at Shangri-La Studios on September 11, 2016

After putting out two Crazy Horse albums in 2012, Neil Young didn’t release any new music in 2013, but put out two albums in 2014.

The first was A Letter Home, and it was recorded with Jack White, which on paper seems great until you read the fine print: it was a bunch of covers recorded on something called the Voice-o-Graph, which was basically a phone booth sized chamber with a mic that allowed you to record directly to vinyl. The result was fun, but non-essential.

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Certain Songs #1294: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Ramada Inn”

Album: Psychedelic Pill
Year: 2012

Recorded at Redwood Digital on February 26, 2012

So naturally, after perhaps the most experimental album of his entire career, Neil Young returned to the basics, and after the longest non-Crazy Horse drought of his career, released not one, but two NYCH albums in 2012.

The first one, Americana, is a bit of a controversial entry in the canon: it’s all covers, and covers of traditional songs — and, er, “Get a Job” — to boot. Oh, and they fucked with the melodies of the more well-known songs as well.

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Certain Songs #1293: Neil Young – “Hitchhiker”

Album: Le Noise
Year: 2010

Recorded at Le Noise, Silver Lake on March 29, 2010

After Prairie Wind, each of the new studio albums that Neil Young released for the balance of the 2000s had an interesting backstory, as well a few good songs, maybe even great ones.

In 2006, Living With War tried literally to raise rabble with pointed songs about Gulf War II like the title track and “Shock and Awe,” as well as the controversy-generating “Let’s Impeach The President,” (for lying, which seems both quaint and totally apropos today), though the best one was “The Restless Consumer,” a catchy commentary on late capitalism which was nevertheless too strident by half.

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Certain Songs #1292: Neil Young – “No Wonder”

Album: Prairie Wind
Year: 2005

Recorded at Masterlink, Nashville on March 19, 2005

It would be 2005 before we got another good Neil Young album.

That’s not as bad as it sounds, I guess. First off, Broken Arrow was his last album of the 20th century, unless you count 1999’s CSN&Y album, Looking Forward, which I don’t even remember, so I guess I don’t.

But even a glance at the always helpful timeline on the invaluable Neil Young Archives shows an absolute paucity of studio recording during that period, and no lost albums.

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Certain Songs #1291: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Slip Away (Los Angeles 09-11-1996)”

Album: Year of the Horse
Year: 1997

Recorded at the The Forum, Inglewood on September 11, 1996

Along with “Big Time” and “Music Arcade,” “Slip Away” was a definite highlight of Broken Arrow, but where it truly shone was on Year of The Horse, where it had time to slowly unfold.

I mean, sure, it slowly unfolded on Broken Arrow, too, but it kinda got lost a bit, being the third long slow song in a row to start off on that record, whereas on Year of the Horse, it was the first song on the second disc, following a pair of shorter songs that ended the first disc.

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