Website: Neil Young Full Album Stream
The Inside Pulse:
Being a Neil Young fan requires patience and understanding. The man has been promising to release his Archives collection for more than thirteen years, and still…nothing. Outside of his “classic” period ending with 1979’s Live Rust and his 1989-1994 renaissance (Freedom through Sleeps With Angels), Young has been notoriously inconsistent. His later 90s and 00s works have been met with mixed reaction, with each album giving fans the hope that this will be “the one.” What that means is nebulous: Will it be the one on which Neil returns to rocking? Will it be the one where Neil’s songs actually SAY something? Or will it be the one in which Neil returns to his role as conscientious objector? After several albums of experiments and rehash, this may actually be the one that fans have been waiting for. While 05’s Prairie Wind was somewhat of a return to Neil’s acoustic form, it was not an overwhelming success, as it was bogged down with clear filler and an inconsistent tone. Recorded with a power trio and a 100-piece choir (which serves to act more as a chanting mass rather than your typical ‘church’ choir), on Living With War Neil Young has delivered a cohesive, timely, WORTHY addition to his canon.
Positives: Young has crafted his best melodies in fifteen years. From the title track to “After the Garden is Gone” to “Flags of Freedom”, these songs will stay in your head long after the album has ended. There is nothing opaque about what Neil is singing; these are songs that are written for the words and melodies to be understood upon first listen, with little interpretation required.
Negatives: This album was hastily written and recorded (supposedly in less than a week), which yields possibly sub-par sonics, although those familiar with other Young albums may not find this troublesome. This is not a bi-partisan album, as enjoyment is somewhat linked to where you sit in the political spectrum.
Cross-breed: Freedom with Rust Never Sleeps.
Reason To Buy: When he’s at his best and most inspired, there is no reason to NOT buy a Neil Young album. Politics aside, this is not only his best album in 12 years, but is one of his best albums of his career.