After a decade of releasing generally directionless, mediocre
albums, Neil Young has come back with one of the most successful
records of his storied career. Not only is Greendale a
success musically, but also it gives the sophisticated listener
something to think about as the story of this “musical novel”
The setting is present-day Greendale, a fictional
California town where the Green family live on the Double E ranch.
What goes down there is utterly fantastic: a drug-related cop
killing, visits from the devil, and a journey undertaken by Sun
Green to “be a goddess in the planet wars” with a guy named Earth
Greendale touches on themes that are anti-media, anti-big
business and generally critical of the direction our country is
headed. Nonetheless, hidden underneath this canopy of disillusion
is hope, and the story is by no means negative or contradictory in
its messages. It is as if Young is reflecting on the idealism that
was a cornerstone of his hippie generation with both nostalgia and
a smirk while looking both doubtfully and hopefully to the future.
There is a lot here that could be incredibly pretentious, but Young
manages to make it clear that he doesn’t take himself too seriously
Straddling the territory between Young’s soothing acoustic work
and Crazy Horse’s garage-grunge rockers, Greendale features
10 almost hypnotically simple songs, which invite the listener to
relax to Young’s cascading guitar work while soaking in the
Those who enjoy Young’s quieter stuff more than his thrashing
Crazy Horse material will probably get more out of
Greendale, although any thoughtful music fan who appreciates
a full-quality record in this day of singles and mixes will enjoy
Greendale, which finds Neil Young as prolific as ever.
Rating: 4 stars.