Neil Young – Colorado (2019)

Waiting for Ragged Glory

This is a way too early album review of Neil’s new album “Colorado”.

Earlier this year news came from Neil Young’s excellent web site that he was going to re-release and expand the 1990 album “Ragged glory” including 40 minutes of unreleased material. A double LP of studio material from the session that brought us one of Neil’s very best albums. I was ecstatic. But we seasoned fans of Neil Young are used to waiting and thus, we are still waiting.

Instead, all of a sudden, there were words about a new Neil Young and Crazy Horse album coming out in November. That could be something! Recorded at the “Studio in the Clouds” in the Rocky Mountains the album was named “Colorado”. Running at 50+ minutes and given Neil’s obsession with great sound, the vinyl version is split into three LP-sides. We get a double album where the fourth side is an etching of warrior Crazy Horse on his horse. Also included in the vinyl is an extra 7” single with a live version of “Rainbow of colors” and a non-album track “Truth kills”. While more content is great, I would have preferred those tracks on the side 4 of the album proper.

“Colorado” is a mix of softer tunes with raggedy edged guitar play, and it is lyrics driven. There are songs about the environment, about old age and nostalgia and as always, about love. I love Neil and I prefer his songs that are somewhat hard to understand lyrically, songs like “Thrasher”, “Powderfinger” and “Cowgirl in the sand” are crème de la creme. I love how he is painting pictures in my mind.

Neil is a life-long environmentalist. He also likes the old ways of “Americana”-lifestyle. He has some great songs about Mother Earth, the natural beauty and saving the oceans in his back catalogue. But some of the newer ones about saving the environment are weaker and it may be because he is focusing more on the message than the music.

Often the best Neil songs are hard to understand after a few spins. It is like the draft, you don’t know what you got until a few years down the road. I really like this album and it may grow even more, but I still don’t think this album will ever compete with Ragged glory. “Colorado” feels more fragmented.

The only super-long song of the album “She shoved me love” will not be a new “Love to burn”. The guitars are nice, as always, but it is lacking in energy. It is hardly enough. Right? I don’t think so.

Speaking of guitar-playing, we now have a new guitarist in the band. Frank Sampedro is missing in action and in his place we have got Nils Lofgren. He played with Neil in the early 70’s on albums like “After the goldrush” and “Tonight’s the night”. Nils plays the guitar as well as the piano and a pump organ on the album. His piano on “Think of me” is easily missed but it’s a nice detail.

“Colorado” has some soft song where Neil sings with his thin voice, and some rougher songs with electric guitar boogie. My favourite songs are all scattered but the third side is really strong with “Milky way”, a song that could’ve been taken from “Sleeps with angels”, the Harvest moony “Eternity” and the full-on male chorus anthem “Rainbow of colors” that very well could have made it onto “Ragged glory” back in the days. The last song on the album “I do” is a soft acoustic song that could have been an younger cousin to “Will to love”.

 

Rating: 7/10

 

Side A:

  1. Think of me
  2. She shoved me love

Side B:

  1. Olden days
  2. Help me lose my mind
  3. Green is blue
  4. Shut it down

Side C:

  1. Milky way
  2. Eternity
  3. Rainbow of colors
  4. I do

 

Extra 7”

Side A:

  1. Rainbow of colors (live solo 2019)

Side B:

  1. Truth kills

 

Best songs: “Milky way”, “Rainbow of colors”, “I do”, “She showed me love”

 

Media: Gatefolded three-sided double LP, one side etched art, 7” bonus single

Release date: October 25, 2019

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