Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I am still digesting Neil Young's Le Noise. It's a solo album in the literal sense, most of the songs are just Neil and an electric guitar, no one else.  Sometimes there's keyboards, sometimes acoustic guitars, but everything is played by Neil, but producer Daniel Lanois messes with the "noise" as well. This is one that doesn't go down easily, it's his strangest album since 1987's Life.  Maybe 1986's Landing On Water. Or 1983's Trans, which is probably his weirdest album, and one of the weirdest of all time.

I am starting to really get into the songs on this album.  Some of the hype leading up to the album has been a bit over the top - he's been playing these songs on his solo (not acoustic) tour.  The songs are good, they are stronger than much of his other recent albums that I enjoyed, 2007's Chrone Dreams II, 2005's Prairie Wind and 2000's Silver and Gold. "Love And War" actually is a solo acoustic song, and is pretty powerful, and says more than his more recent reactionary stuff like "Let's Roll" and Greendale. "Sign Of Love" reminds me of some of the sentiments on Havest Moon - I love the line "when we both have silver hair, and a little less time, but there still are roses on the vine, you can take it as a sign of love." 

It's funny that Daniel Lanois produced this album, I've always kind of wanted to hear him produce a Neil album, and I think Neil needed an "outsider" this time around.  All of his latest have been proudced with longtime friends like Niko Bolas, the late L.A. Johnson and the late Ben Keith.  I guess I was hoping for a sort of revival, like what Lanois did with Bob Dylan (twice, on 1989's Oh Mercy and 1997's Time Out Of Mind).  In some ways it does do that, and in some ways it is as risky as U2's Achtung Baby (which Lanois also worked on). I'll admit that I don't think that it works quite as well as those albums, but I'm really developing a taste for it. Ask me again what I think at the end of the year, but I think I'm into this album.

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