Friday, January 24, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Landing On Water" (1986)

"Landing On Water" - Neil Young (1986)

Oh yeah.  I'd heard all the negative buzz.  The album is extremely synth-driven and not at all what fans expected.  Neil Young's "Landing On Water" can be found in bargain bins everywhere for about an Abe so...might as well dance.  I wanted to have my own taste.   And guess what?  It’s not terrible!  In fact, once you accept the techno turn Young made, a few of the songs are quite good.  "LOW" is a far cry from "Harvest"  Or "Harvest Moon" for that matter.  But the lyrics are pure Neil and the tasty guitar burns can still be found.  “Hippie Dream” is just a killer Neil Young gem.  It's dark and throws a wicked dart at the time-passages of CSN.  Great fiery guitar that's way too short.  Many believe the song was directed specifically at David Crosby.  It's a great song, if not a bit mean-spirited.  Guitar sounds mean, as well.

The head rocker "Drifter" is another favorite that closes the album on a high note.  And easy to imagine Crazy Horse giving this one a go...had they been around.  The synthy "Violent Side" quickly turns into a surprising guitar rocker.  Again tasty, but too short.  Which brings me to the opening track, “Weight Of The World.”  The unexpected synth experience that hit listeners in the face right out the gate must have left fans feeling cold and ripped-off.  But the very techno-pop opener is as good as whatever else was happening in 1986.  Blame it on expectations maybe.  But for whatever reason, certain albums require an extra spin or two before a fair and final assessment can be made.  The AMG gives this album 2-stars out of 5.  I'd bump it up a 1/2 notch simply for not being boring.  "Landing On Water" is an average, not terrible at all, Neil Young album, that entertains with no quarter.  And that must account for something.

"Landing On Water" (back)

Geffen Records label

"Landing On Water" (sleeve front)

"Landing On Water" (sleeve back)

"Hippie Dream" - Neil Young / "Landing On Water" (1986)

TRACKS:
A1  "Weight of the World" 3:40
A2  "Violent Side" 4:22
A3  "Hippie Dream" 4:11
A4  "Bad News Beat" 3:18
A5  "Touch the Night" 4:30
B1  "People on the Street" 4:33
B2  "Hard Luck Stories" 4:06
B3  "I Got a Problem" 3:16
B4  "Pressure" 2:46
B5  "Drifter" 5:05

PERSONNEL:
Neil Young - vocals, lead guitar, synthesizer, harmonica, producer
Danny Kortchmar - guitar, synthesizer, vocals, producer
Steve Jordan - drums, synthesizer, vocals
San Francisco Boys Chorus – vocals (A2, A5)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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