Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Psychedelic Pill


On Psychedelic Pill, Neil Young reminisces about the good old days. It is the first double album he has recorded, and is his longest album to date – it is nearly an hour and a half long.

For the second time this year, Young has teamed up with the band Crazy Horse; back in June, Young collaborated with them on Americana, which is a collection of traditional folk songs. Even though Crazy Horse has worked with Young in the past, their inclusion comes as a surprise, since the last time they worked together was on the 2003 Greendale release.

Young is not a stranger to long songs, his classics “Cow Girl in the Sand” and “Down by the River” are both ten minutes long. But on Psychedelic Pill Young sets a new personal record. The album kicks off with “Driftin' Back,” which is the longest song of the album at 27 minutes. The decision to put it at the top of the album was a bold choice, perhaps made in order to weed out the not-so-dedicated fans. Lyrically, it is either the most hilarious song of the year, or is Young's bitter ode to how much he hates the world. At one point he sings, “I used to dig Picasso, then the big tech giant came along and turned him into wallpaper,” which sounds a lot like a bitter old man complaining about the state of capitalism. But then Young sings “gonna get me a hip hop haircut,” which is the best dad joke I've ever heard.

If long songs aren't your thing, the shorter ones are worth checking out. The title track “Psychedelic Pill” could have been pulled straight from Young's 2010 grunge-rock album Le Noise, but with a fuller sound thanks to Crazy Horse. And then there is the folk song "Twisted Road", in which Young croons about the first time he heard his music idols Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and the Grateful Dead.

The biggest disappointment on the album is Young's tribute to his home province, “Born in Ontario.” Canadians never forget that Young was born here, but when his 2006 album Living With War was released, the underlying message within was that Young was now an American. Unfortunately Young's tribute to his home country is just a cheesy mess. Another disappointing song is “Love For a Man,” which is a bizarre track about angels and religion.

At this point in his career, Neil Young's fans will listen to his albums no matter what the reviews say. There are always amazing songs that prove that he still is a guitar force to be reckoned with, and you'll likely find a few flops. So if you like a long guitar solos, bitter old man lyrics, and still love Young's perfectly imperfect voice, this album is for you.