Fork In the Road
Performer: Neil Young
Distributor: WEA (Distributor)
Notes: In the continuing series of offroading jags that is Neil Young's career discography, the '00s stand out as a time when Young became a songwriter almost wholly without metaphor, when he--like a retooled Phil Ochs--mastered the topical song. Following previous '00s efforts like the 9/11-themed LET'S ROLL and the Iraq War-centric LIVING WITH WAR, FORK IN THE ROAD casts him as the musical propaganda wing for the Lincvolt project, a partnership between Young and the "Motorhead Messiah" Jonathan Goodwin, a Kansas man who got a converted Lincoln Continental to go 65 m.p.h. on 100 m.p.g. The message drives the music: each of the 10 tracks is about repowering the American dream of fast cars and open highways with a fossil fuel-free energy source. "Johnny Magic," a bracing anthem recalling ZUMA's "Barstool Blues," lauds Goodwin as the ecological answer to Johnny B. Goode. "Fuel Line" and "Cough Up the Bucks" fuse grunge and funk, while "Hit the Road" depicts rush hour motorists "trying to find the energy to stay in the groove." Among the crunching Les Paul chords (which sound like a revving engine), the album's two ballads--the organ-draped "Off the Road" and the minor-key "Light a Candle" framed by elegiac pedal-steel--stand-out as welcome oases. Another highlight is the closing title track, which features a loose and funny Neil Young grumbling about the poor sound of mp3s, governmental bailouts, and financial analysts on television.
Rolling Stone (p.70) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "This is mostly raw, chop-shop rock & roll, so auto metaphors fit right in." Spin (p.101) - "[T]he new rushed-and-blasted 'Johnny Magic' shared DNA with post-hippie strumfest 'Sugar Mountain': It's an ode to innocence lost by an epic talent..." Billboard (p.37) - "Lately, Young is obsessed with developing alternative fuels, and that's evident all over the album, most prominently in the snarky highlight 'Fuel Line'....Young is inspired throughout." Blender (Magazine) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he material verges on the extraordinary....Pragmatically exploiting his sure tune sense, his saving falsetto and a command of the political facts well exceeding that of LIVING WITH WAR, he's turned out the first great protest album of the new dispensation." Record Collector (magazine) (p.98) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "With the penultimate 'Light A Candle' Young implores us to remember that today's actions have bearing on not only our futures, but future generations." Uncut (magazine) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] brief, bracing, at times very funny garage-rock blast....This is not florid essay, but rather angry editorial banged out on a tight deadline..."
Like the Band, Neil Young eschewed his Canadian roots to create a sound rooted in American folk and country, which he mixed with visionary, poetic rock in Buffalo Springfield and on his solo albums. He played the crucial fourth wheel role in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, but ultimately proved too individualistic to participate in a democracy. The gritty, electric assault of his work with Crazy Horse is the alter ego of Young's more folk/country-based work, and also proved a key influence on the grunge sound of Seattle (Young even recorded a live album with Pearl Jam as his backing band). Over the years, he's followed his mercurial muse through everything from rockabilly to synth-pop to big-band blues, always remaining uniquely Neil.
Also Appears On:
Band (The) Browne, Jackson Byrds (The) Clapton, Eric Cohen, Leonard Costello, Elvis Crazy Horse Creedence Clearwater Revival Crosby, Stills & Nash Dinosaur Jr. Eagles Fogerty, John Giant Sand Grant Lee Buffalo Grateful Dead Harris, Emmylou Hendrix, Jimi Henry, Joe Hiatt, John Hunter, Ian Larson, Nicolette Lennon, John Long Ryders (The) Los Lobos McLauchlan, Murray Meat Puppets Midnight Choir Mitchell, Joni Mojave 3 My Morning Jacket Nash, Graham Nelson, Willie Newman, Randy Nitzsche, Jack Oldham, Will Parsons, Gram Pearl Jam Poco Prelude R.E.M. Red House Painters Reid, Terry Ronstadt, Linda Sill, Judee Sonic Youth Soul Asylum Soundgarden Souther, J. D. Springsteen, Bruce Stevens, Cat Sweet, Matthew Taylor, James (Soft Rock) The Flying Burrito Brothers Thin White Rope Thompson, Richard Uncle Tupelo Van Morrison Velvet Underground (The) Waits, Tom Weller, Paul Winchester, Jesse
Beatles (The) Cash, Johnny Dylan, Bob Eddy, Duane Gibson, Don Ian & Sylvia Monroe, Bill Ochs, Phil Orbison, Roy Paxton, Tom Presley, Elvis Reed, Jimmy (Blues) Richard, Little Rolling Stones (The) Shadows (The) Williams, Hank
|Regular Items||Double Rewards Items|
|Regular Items||Double Rewards Items|