Tuesday, September 25, 2007
It's hard to imagine what it must have felt like for Neil Young to hear Kurt Cobain's suicide note close with his own incoherent denim koan of some 15 years earlier—"better to burn out than to fade away." Particularly as Young & crew's recent and most spectacular return to form paralleled the rise of grunge, even giving a helpful hand to Sonic Youth as opening act on the Weld tour, just as Sonic Youth in turn gave a helpful hand to Nirvana in getting signed to DGC. It's all balled up there. Neil Young stood even more in the crosshairs of history than he knew on that one. I've heard a lot of people dismiss this as journeyman '90s Neil Young, over the hump and on the down slope from his recent heights. But "Change Your Mind" alone belies that to me, 14+ minutes of deceptively amiable anguish that deploys all the sonic extremes of grunge, from a whisper to a scream as it were, delivered in fine Young/Crazy Horse fashion, whose overarching theme is the request to reconsider. There are plenty of missteps along the way, but even if it's the least of them, this is one of the keepers by Young.