Rod Liddle

Woke slogans welded to incompetent grunge: Neil Young’s Colorado reviewed

Young made some of the best albums in the history of rock music – but that was when he had a sense of perspective and humour

Text settings

Grade: B-

Horribly woke boilerplate slogans welded inexpertly to the usual incompetent Crazy Horse grunge. Young and his pick-up band of now 50-years standing usually work well together — as on Zuma, Everybody Knows This is Nowhere and even Ragged Glory. But that’s when there were a few decent songs in the mix, stuffed with compelling ideas and interesting imagery. That sort of thing is in terribly short supply here. ‘She Showed Me Love’ staggers along for an unendurable 13 minutes: ‘I saw old white guys trying to kill mother nature.’ Just old white guys? How about you check out the Indonesian and Brazilian loggers for a second? Then the tuneless thud of ‘Shut it Down’ — ‘shut the whole system down!’ What, the system that made your adopted country the most successful in the history of the world and gave you more money than you know what to do with?

‘Rainbow of Colors’ at least has a simple but decent melody. ‘Green is Blue’ is pretty and ‘Think of Me’ has a nice Stonesy country shuffle. The rest? God help us. I think Tonight’s The Night is the best album in the history of rock music, and I’d put On The Beach, Rust Never Sleeps and Time Fades Away in my top 20. That’s when the songs were not idle throw-offs and the lyrics were both nuanced and acute. Young was once a sharp observer of US politics, even to the point of acknowledging the attraction of Ronald Reagan, which copped him some flak at the time. He had, back then, a sense of perspective and humour. But that’s been a long time gone.