Saturday, September 18, 2010

Neil Young - Le Noise (the second video)

Here’s another video from the upcoming (Sept 28) album from Neil Young:


http://pitchfork.com/tv/#/musicvideo/8384-neil-young-hitchhiker-reprise



Hitchhiker
Neil Young
Le Noise

This song was first performed (I think?) back in 1992, a bit slower, and on acoustic guitar. And without the last verse. Sometimes he holds onto a song for 18 years . . .

The reviews I've seen so far have been very positive.  Saying some version of "his best album in years."  That may be true, but it's still quite a ways away from being one of his best albums. 

My criticism from the other day still stands. As big and textured as the guitar sound is, it still feels like it’s lacking something in the mix. Percussion would help. Is that a drum at his feet in this video? Was it put there just to taunt me?

But that brings up an interesting question about reception. I have many albums of solo acoustic guitar and a singer, so why am I feeling that when the singer changes to electric, the solo performance isn’t enough? Well, I’m trying to keep an open mind. And I still wish Neil Young would spend more time on his lyrics, though this one seems to me a step above the rest of the album.

3 Comments:

At 9/18/2010 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have many albums of solo acoustic guitar and a singer, so why am I feeling that when the singer changes to electric, the solo performance isn’t enough?"

Really? Even someone like Bob Dylan? Love much of his work with bands, but I still think he did (& sometimes still does) some of his best work with just guitar, voice & harmonica. Sometimes, not always, he just seems more intense by himself.

Perhaps it's the dynamic quality of the performer & the particular songs themselves, of course. Some tunes just seem flat in comparison to a band version. But, only if the band is good & really adds to the composition & performance, of course. Elvis Costello does great versions of songs solo with guitar, but I love the power & energy of his full band versions. Young is great on "Harvest"-type material, which is acoustic but with a band... the country arrangements--lap steel guitars, fiddles, whatever--compliments his style nicely. But he's positively explosive on stage with a full band, he almost has an epileptic seizure up there (which I think is not too far from the actual truth). People seem to love or hate his electric guitar playing. I love it.

Young has always been sort of "experimental" on electric guitar. Playing one note over & over, pecking at the strings until they snap. Noise, feedback, sometimes barely controlled. On this new album, it seems he's combining his more subdued acoustic stylings with electronics & taking it up a notch or two.

--Chris

 
At 9/18/2010 10:57 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I wasn't as clear as I should have been! What I meant was that solo acoustic sounds just fine to me, but solo electric doesn't sound full, even as it's making as much or more music than a solo acoustic does.

The new album doesn't sound bad (in fact, it sounds good), it just sounds unfinished.

 
At 9/18/2010 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoops. No, you were clear, I just missed it, sorry.

--Chris

 

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