1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 12

Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, by Neil Young
Suggested by Mike Wootton

I’ve never bothered with Neil Young. To me, he’s the answer to a Popmaster quiz question that other people nail but I flail at. Ken will ask something, and I’ll yell “Johnny Cash!”, and everyone will look at me like I’m an idiot.

I mean, I know he’s a legend. He’s been around for decades (Neil Young, not Ken Bruce). As far as I can tell he’s still releasing stuff. He’s probably not as prolific as he was, but he’s no George R.R. Martin. And I probably know more of his songs than I realise. It’s just that his name never enters my head when I think about music. Nor does his face, or his voice. Or his… I wanna say guitar?

Everyone Knows This is Nowhere is Neil Young’s second album, from 1969, back with Crazy Horse. It runs at 40 minutes, almost twenty of which are covered by two songs (Down by the River, and Cowgirl in the Sand). That makes me suspicious, but I’ll get to that.

The songs are nice enough, a blend of countrified rock with an almost folky twist. They flow pleasantly, with good form. Neil’s vocals are particularly good, high but not weak or tremulous.

Everything feels accomplished, deft. My favourite track, Cinnamon Girl, is a driving opener with an almost psychedelic touch to the layered vocals. The album’s title track is solid, with good lyrics and strong guitar work. It’s all very pleasant.

We get to the two longer songs, and there’s a whiff of the self-indulgence in what are clearly improv sections ripe with overlong guitar noodling. I prefer my solos to be tight, to the point, and mercifully brief, but hey, one man’s fish is another man’s poisson. This might be the best part, for some folks. You do you, Neil.

Then the album ends.

Was it good? I guess so. I’ve pretty much forgotten it already.

Maybe it’s just me? Neil Young might be my version of Doctor Who’s The Silence, a creature which is completely forgotten if you’re not paying it your full attention.

I rate this album 6/10. I think.

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