Friday, September 21, 2007
By design, this is an exceedingly dark album. The original gatefold vinyl LP was black inside and out, including the Reprise label itself, normally orange. Based on Neil Young's visceral reaction to three separate drug-related deaths in Crazy Horse and their road crew, some have gone so far as to call it anti-drug, which I suppose is fair enough, but a little bit of a stretch for someone who lives inside a marijuana cloud (not, in the interests of avoiding the appearance of hypocrisy, that there's anything wrong with that). More than anything it's a wail of pain, and the first of many abrupt revitalizations that would come to be a feature of Young's career. It's sloppy, loud, plain-spoken to the point of homely, self-indulgent, self-pitying, and often unlistenable. But when the mood suits – and that mood has more to do with Neil Young and Crazy Horse generally, rather than anything you might guess, like depression, sadness, or being bummed out – nothing else will do.