Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill album review

After a ten-year hiatus, Neil Young & Crazy Horse have graced their fans with not just one, but two albums for the 2012 year. After the summer release of Americana, the lengthy rockin’ Psychedelic Pill delivers a full-fledged far out experience.

With a musical career spanning practically 5 decades, Neil Young is probably stranger to few. Hailing from Ontario, Canada, Young emerged on the ‘60s rock scene as folksinger, collaborating with the Squires and joining band Buffalo Springfield in 1966. Soon after, Young’s solo career took off with the 1968 release of his self-titled debut, followed by the 1970 release of After The Gold Rush.

While it might be challenging to pick out favorites among the 35+ albums to his name—not including his collaborative albums—some of his most beloved releases include 1972’s Harvest and 1979’s punk-rock inspired hit album Rust Never Sleeps.

Described by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as “one of rock and roll’s greatest songwriters and performers,” he earned his place in the Hall of Fame in both 1995 and 1997. Throughout his career Neil Young experimented with a variety of styles, becoming most famous for his acoustic and hard rock styles. While Young’s career has entailed numerous collaborations, he’s worked most consistently with garage rock band Crazy Horse, culminating in no less than eleven co-creative albums since 1969.

Psychedelic Pill—Young’s 35th album and his 11th with Crazy Horse—was released on October 30th, 2012 on Reprise Records. As its title indicates, it’s a trance-infused voyage into psychedelic rock, with lengthy, otherworldly and acoustically mind-boggling tracks, contrasting Americana’s classic folk rock sound. “Driftin’ Back” kicks it all off with the longest ride, with 27 minutes worth of dream-like lyrics and progressively intricate guitar riffs, followed by the title track’s intense rockin’ beat that channels partying in the guise of a free-spirited female muse. The autobiographical “Born In Ontario” diffuses a cheerful vibe whereas the melancholic “For The Love Of Man” explores a touching, more spiritual side.

Psychedelic Pill it is indeed, and quite fitting for a long, diverse trip with its time span of over 85 minutes.

Finding my religion, I might be a pagan, sings Young in “Driftin’ Back.” Blasphemy!

We all know that Neil Young’s religion is none other than… music.

By Natacha Pavlov

Natacha Pavlov is an avid reader, writer, and traveler. Aside from eating ridiculous amounts of chocolate from her native Belgium, she can be found consuming large quantities of tea, falafel and lebneh in the lovely Bay Area.

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