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Rock - Released November 15, 2004 | Reprise

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Rock - Released October 23, 1992 | Reprise

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Rock - Released September 1, 1977 | Reprise

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Rock - Released October 28, 1977 | Reprise

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Released in October 1977, the essential anthology Decade (a triple vinyl album back then!) gives a detailed overview of Neil Young’s work between 1966 and 1976. In 35 titles (including 6 unreleased pieces), the Loner’s genius bursts out for all to see. Mostly solo, but also with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills and Nash, this collection particularly shows that this decade was his most fascinating. Building on masterfully written songs, Neil Young mixes rock, folk and country with great originality for the time. In both ballads and much meaner songs, his style is like fireworks. He is most likely the most original artist of his generation. One that never shies away from questioning himself either. Novices can start climbing the mountain of his works with this five-star compilation record, before digging deeper, one album at a time. © MZ/Qobuz
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Rock - Released July 16, 1974 | Reprise

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Rock - Released October 25, 2019 | Reprise

Seven years after Psychedelic Pill, Neil Young has revived Crazy Horse. Amongst the 73-year-old’s many projects, this group has always been his most rustic, raw and wild. With Crazy Horse, the Canadian shoots at everything that moves, from massive rock and country digressions to soaring lyrical solos. His old rhythmic accomplices - bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina - are there to maintain the structure beneath sticky, gritty guitars. Except that on guitar, a change in casting has impacted the result of this 2019 vintage. The delicate Nils Lofgren replaces the hard rock of Frank Sampedro who chose to prolong his retirement in sunny Hawaii. Colorado ends up being less violent than its predecessors. But it’s still a Crazy Horse album. Of course, Neil Young is still punching his fist in the air and reminding us of the world’s problems. Having long been an environmental warrior, his militancy remains well-intact, as evidenced by the melancholic Green is Blue. His conviction and inspiration have not dwindled either and once again he reminds us that the best person to do Neil Young is still Neil Young. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released May 17, 2019 | Reprise

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For his umpteenth previously unreleased archive, Neil Young homes in on a snippet of his golden era, in the early seventies. Recorded on February 5th, 1973 at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa stems from his tour with the Stray Gators, a band that features Ben Keith on the pedal steel, Jack Nitzsche on the piano, Tim Drummond on the bass and Kenny Buttrey on the drums. It was a tour that was already documented on the official album Time Fades Away (October 1973) and during which the Loner mostly performed songs from Harvest (February 1972) and his upcoming albums, On the Beach (July 1974) and Tonight the Night (June 1975). Put together with his sound engineer John Hanlon, this archive doesn’t include the complete show, as the Canadian explained on his website: “ We don’t like to release a lot of songs on many albums, so On The Way Home went by the wayside. The Loner was just not good enough. I still make those decisions because I am here on the planet. However, those two versions will be available in the archives for members to hear. I have no plans to release everything I have ever recorded. Some of it is just not good enough.” As always with Neil Young’s archives, they are mostly targeted at collectors and hard-core fans. Novices would be better advised to listen to the studio versions of these songs, which are nevertheless recorded here in excellent concert versions. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released October 4, 1978 | Reprise

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Six and a half years later, Comes a Time finally was the Neil Young album for the millions of fans who had loved Harvest, an acoustic-based record with country overtones and romantic, autobiographical lyrics, and many of those fans returned to the fold, enough to make Comes a Time Young's first Top Ten album since Harvest. He signaled the album's direction with the leadoff track, "Goin' Back," and its retrospective theme augmented with an orchestral backup and the deliberate beat familiar from his number one hit "Heart of Gold." Of course, Young remained sly about this retrenchment. "I feel like goin' back," he sang, but added, "back where there's nowhere to stay." Doubtless he had no intention of staying with this style, but for the length of the album, melodies, love lyrics, lush arrangements, and steel guitar solos dominated, and Young's vocals were made more accessible by being paired with Nicolette Larson's harmonies. Larson's own version of Young's "Lotta Love," released shortly after the one heard here, became a Top Ten hit single. Other highlights included the reflective "Already One," which treats the unusual subject of the nature of a divorced family, the ironic "Field of Opportunity," and a cover of Ian Tyson's folk standard "Four Strong Winds" (a country Top Ten hit for Bobby Bare in 1965). © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 13, 2007 | Reprise

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Pop - Released June 11, 1993 | Reprise

Taped on February 7, 1993, and first broadcast on MTV on March 10, Neil Young's Unplugged appearance was released as a home video to coincide with the release of an audio CD version. This 73-minute tape ran seven minutes longer than the album, the extra time consisting of applause, guitar tuning, and a few scattered asides ("Aw, it's nothin', really," Young said, for example, after an audience member called out, "Thank you, Neil"). Young was anything but videogenic in his leather jacket, Harley Davidson T-shirt, jeans, and boots, sitting hunched over his guitar, often scowling as he turned his face, hooded with unruly, grey-flecked hair and partially covered by a week-old stubble, to the microphone. Yet his casual appearance and introspective demeanor served to focus attention on his music. And a 14-song set that on record seemed a random selection from across his career made more sense on video, as Young began with a series of early songs, accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica, then moving to keyboards and gradually bringing other musicians on-stage to augment the sound. The songs were wistful, midtempo reflections on stardom, love, and the passage of time. Some were familiar, including "Mr. Soul" and "Like a Hurricane," and were given new treatments; others were obscure or even previously unrecorded ("Stringman"). But all were melodic and inviting, especially the selections from Harvest Moon, including the title tune, which featured a broom as a percussion instrument. Unplugged was a low-key Neil Young performance that emphasized the consistency of his work over time and the repetition of certain lyrical themes and musical tendencies. If it avoided some of his best-known folk and country material, it did contain a few crowd-pleasers, and it brought up several forgotten tunes for reconsideration. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1969 | Reprise

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On his songs for Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young had demonstrated an eclecticism that ranged from the rock of "Mr. Soul" to the complicated, multi-part arrangement of "Broken Arrow." On his debut solo album, he continued to work with composer/arranger Jack Nitzsche, with whom he had made "Expecting to Fly" on the Buffalo Springfield Again album, and together the two recorded a restrained effort on which the folk-rock instrumentation, most of which was by Young, overdubbing himself, was augmented by discreet string parts. The country & western elements that had tinged the Springfield's sound were also present, notably on the leadoff track, "The Emperor of Wyoming," an instrumental that recalled the Springfield song "A Child's Claim to Fame." Still unsure of his voice, Young sang in a becalmed high tenor that could be haunting as often as it was listless and whining. He was at his least appealing on the nine-and-a-half-minute closing track, "The Last Trip to Tulsa," on which he accompanied himself with acoustic guitar, singing an impressionistic set of lyrics seemingly derived from Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited. But double-tracking and the addition of a female backup chorus improved the singing elsewhere, and on "The Loner," the album's most memorable track, Young displayed some of the noisy electric guitar work that would characterize his recordings with Crazy Horse and reminded listeners of his ability to turn a phrase. Still, Neil Young made for an uneven, low-key introduction to Young's solo career, and when released it was a commercial flop, his only album not to make the charts. (Several months after the album's release, Young remixed it to bring out his vocals more and added some overdubs. This second version replaced the first in the U.S. from then on, though the original mix remained available overseas.) © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 30, 2018 | Reprise

Neil Young’s archives are a bottomless treasure chest. The Loner has unearthed some hidden gems from 1976, the year when he was on tour both with his group, Crazy Horse, and as a solo acoustic artist, not forgetting his shows with Stephen Stills with whom he released the album Long May You Run in September. Songs for Judy focuses on his solo acoustic performances and comprises of around twenty tracks that he recorded in Boston, Atlanta, Fort Worth, Houston, Madison, Chicago and New York throughout November. They are mostly his classic hits (Heart of Gold, After the Gold Rush, The Needle and the Damage Done) but there are also some less well-known ones (No One Seems to Know). This was Neil Young when he was surfing an incredible wave of creativity, in just two years he composed three masterpieces: On the Beach, Tonight’s the Night and Zuma. The content of his compositions is truly impressive, and despite only being equipped with a guitar, piano, organ and harmonica, the recordings are flawless and deserving of being played on a loop. Even if these kinds of unpublished recordings are recommended first and foremost for Neil Young fans, for those who aren’t as familiar with his music this is a great place to begin. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released May 29, 2009 | Reprise

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Rock - Released April 12, 1988 | Reprise

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Rock - Released November 30, 2018 | Reprise

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Neil Young’s archives are a bottomless treasure chest. The Loner has unearthed some hidden gems from 1976, the year when he was on tour both with his group, Crazy Horse, and as a solo acoustic artist, not forgetting his shows with Stephen Stills with whom he released the album Long May You Run in September. Songs for Judy focuses on his solo acoustic performances and comprises of around twenty tracks that he recorded in Boston, Atlanta, Fort Worth, Houston, Madison, Chicago and New York throughout November. They are mostly his classic hits (Heart of Gold, After the Gold Rush, The Needle and the Damage Done) but there are also some less well-known ones (No One Seems to Know). This was Neil Young when he was surfing an incredible wave of creativity, in just two years he composed three masterpieces: On the Beach, Tonight’s the Night and Zuma. The content of his compositions is truly impressive, and despite only being equipped with a guitar, piano, organ and harmonica, the recordings are flawless and deserving of being played on a loop. Even if these kinds of unpublished recordings are recommended first and foremost for Neil Young fans, for those who aren’t as familiar with his music this is a great place to begin. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released September 26, 2005 | Reprise

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Since Prairie Wind is a return to the soft, lush country-rock sound of Harvest; since Neil Young suffered a brain aneurysm during its recording; since it finds the singer/songwriter reflecting on life and family in the wake of his father's death; and since it's his most cohesive album in a decade, it would seem that all these factors add up to a latter-day masterpiece for Young, but that's not quite the case. Prairie Wind manages to be less than the sum of its parts and the problem isn't a lack of good songs (although it does have a few more clunkers than it should) or a botched concept. Young's decision to revive the country-rock that brought him his greatest popularity never feels like a cynical move -- the music is too warm, comfortable, and friendly to feel like anything but Neil playing to his strengths. However, since he cut this in Nashville with a bunch of studio pros including legendary keyboardist Spooner Oldham, it feels just a tad slicker than perhaps it should, since the smooth sound inadvertently highlights the sentimentality of the project. It's hard to begrudge Young if he wants to indulge in rose-colored memories -- a brush with death coupled with a loss of a parent tends to bring out sentimentality -- but such backward-gazing songs as "Far from Home" feel just a hair too close to trite, and the easy-rolling nature of the record doesn't lend them much gravity. There a few other songs that tend toward too close to the simplistic, whether it's the specific invocations of 9/11 and Chris Rock on "No Wonder" or the supremely silly Elvis salute "He Was the King," which are just enough to undermine the flow of the album, even if they fit into the general autumnal, reflective mood of the record. But since they do fit the overall feel of the album, and since they're better, even with their flaws, than the best songs on, say, Silver & Gold or Broken Arrow or Are You Passionate?, they help elevate the whole of Prairie Wind, particularly because there are some genuinely strong Young songs here: the moody opener "The Painter," the gently sighing "Fallin' off the Face of the Earth," the ethereal "It's a Dream," the sweet, laid-back "Here for Your," the understated "This Old Guitar" (there's also the sweeping "When God Made Me," recorded complete with a gospel chorus, one that will either strike a listener as moving or maudlin -- a latter-day "A Man Needs a Maid," only not as strong). This set of songs does indeed make Prairie Wind a better album than anything Young has released in the past decade, which means that it's easy to overrate it. For despite all of its strengths, neither the recording nor the songs are as memorable or as fully realized as his late-'80s/early-'90s comeback records -- Freedom, Ragged Glory, and Harvest Moon -- let alone his classic '70s work. Nevertheless, it's the closest Young has come to making a record that could hold its own with those albums in well over a decade, which means it's worthwhile even if it's never quite as great as it seems like it could have been. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 4, 1990 | Reprise

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Rock - Released December 1, 2017 | Reprise

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We barely have time to digest his new albums before even newer ones are released! More active than ever since the start of the 2000s, Neil Young pens a disc here with Promise of the Real, his band that he uses a bit like how he used Crazy Horse in the past. With them, the Loner usually shows his claws. Which is even easier now that it is the time of Donald Trump’s presidency, which he applies himself to pull apart in due form. As for sound, The Visitor throws you off with its eclecticism, a quite uncommon occurrence for Neil Young on the same disc. Country rock, assertive boogie, classy folk, remover’s funk, everything goes in! Instantly recognizable, the old Canadian bison’s voice binds all of these things together for the duration of a classic and honest exercise which doesn’t upset the musical values of its illustrious author and doesn’t compete with his masterpieces of yesteryear. © MD/Qobuz
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Rock - Released April 24, 2020 | Reprise

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Rock - Released September 27, 2010 | Reprise

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The old conventional wisdom on Neil Young used to be that he alternated between acoustic folk and full-on guitar skronk with every other album but 2010’s Le Noise -- the French affection in its title a tongue-in-cheek tip of the beret to his producer Daniel Lanois -- melds the two extremes. At its core, it’s a singer/songwriter album, a collection of reflections and ruminations about life and loss in the modern world, war imagery rubbing against battered memories and tattered autobiography, the songs leisurely following their own winding path, but it’s produced loudly, with Neil supporting himself with only his electric guitar for all but two tracks, where he switches the Les Paul for an acoustic. He’s not in Crazy Horse mode, spitting out chunky garage rock riffs, but strumming his overdriven electric, with Lanois tweaking the results, accentuating the ambience in post-production. To say the least, this results in a distinctive album but it plays differently than it reads, sounding not too dissimilar from the Bush-era laments of Freedom. If Le Noise isn’t as galvanizing as Freedom, it’s because it’s created on a considerably smaller scale, its eight songs containing no masterpieces and Lanois’ moody noir production reining in Young’s messy signature. Le Noise winds up as something elusive and intriguing, a minor-key mood piece that's hard to pin down. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Neil Young in the magazine