Storytone – Neil Young [Review]

first_imgNeil Young’s new album, Storytone is a musical representation of duality, which is fitting for a man that has embodied duality for many harvest moons. From his tours that would feature both furious electric sets along with accompanying stripped down acoustic performances, to his passion for preserving the environment, yet also collecting vintage gas guzzling automobiles, but then converting those same cars into hybrids, to being pegged as “a hippie with a mean streak,” a sundry statement in itself, one thing has been a constant about Neil Young – he is a damn good songwriter.Storytone, is a sonic dyad consisting of grandiose cinematic versions of its ten songs with either a 92-piece orchestra along with a solo version, in which Young performs the album by himself on guitar or piano. They have a perfectly strange dichotomy that suits Young. He has always been geared towards pushing the envelope and has never been weary of failure. Remember the 1982 album Trans that used vocorders and electronic beats? Although, the full band version of Storytone doesn’t stray that far out there, it will still conjure feelings that you are watching an over-dramatic Disney movie at times. There are a few tracks that shine through nicely, however.Songs such as, “I Want to Drive My Car,” “When I Watch You Sleeping,” “All Those Dreams,” and “Like You Used to Do,” sound great with the added touch of drums, horns, and strings. The guitar solo in “I Want to Drive My Car,” one of the few of the album, is powerful, raw, and flourishes in the full band setting.Some others, like, “Plastic Flower” and “Who’s Gonna Stand Up,” feel over-the-top and forced. Young’s nasally warbling doesn’t always blend well to the full orchestra behind him. The environmentalist preaching in “Who’s Gonna Stand Up” feels much more appropriate with the intimate vibe of just Young and his guitar. The songs that thrive as the big band versions are outright well-written pieces of music that do well regardless of arrangement.Overall, at the ripe age of 66, Young has delivered an endearing album that has more gems than blunders. Storytone is a solid installment to an impressive discography that has been consistently growing for over 40 years. It’s nice to see that Young is living true to his famous words – “It’s better to burn out than fade away.”last_img read more

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