Neil Young Chrome Dreams II

Neil Young Chrome Dreams II
Many Neil Young fans will only need one reason to get this album: the song "Ordinary People.” This epic meditation on social decay was the highlight of the 1988 This Note’s For You tour but was inexplicably shelved afterward. Young’s decision to resurrect it now says much about how the song’s bleak descriptions of closed factories and inner city violence are still relevant. But it also shows that when Young chooses to clean his songwriting closet, he more often than not can cobble together a better album than his spur-of-the-moment concepts (Greendale, Living With War). Chrome Dreams II, the "sequel” to an unreleased 1970s album, is indeed stylistically all over the map yet each track, from gorgeous countrified opener "Beautiful Bluebird” to mammoth guitar workout "No Hidden Path,” stands firmly on its own. If there is a common thread it’s Young’s growing spirituality, something that first became apparent on Prairie Wind. Songs like "Shining Light,” "The Believer” and "The Way” display unusual conviction. That is, until this notion is instantly dismissed by the (admittedly hilarious) "Dirty Old Man,” an off-the-cuff rocker not unlike Sleeps With Angels’ "Piece Of Crap.” Add it all up and Chrome Dreams II is classic Neil Young: totally unpredictable but gloriously raw and honest. More importantly, unlike his other recent releases, it warrants repeated listening. (Warner/Reprise) (Reprise)