There’s always a sense of anxiety putting a new Neil Young album on the record player. Is it going to be any good? Will it measure up? Am I going to like it?
Barn for some reason didn’t even look like a Neil Young album. It’s too natural a picture. All these old codgers standing in the barn door in a landscape that is bigger than the legendary band it frames
So now to it, I loathed Barn the first time I heard it. It seemed formulaic. Love song, grunge fest, blues pastiche, folky song, falsetto repeat.
Then I gave it another go and instead of loathing it I found myself singing along. Tapping my foot playing air guitar and accordion rocking a little.
Then I sat down at home late at night with a cup of mint tea and my feet up on the table. It was dark and quiet in the house and I found myself really getting it.
Yes I wish he’d edit his lyrics a bit, but did he ever?
It’s not the greatest Neil Young and Crazy Horse album, it is however up there with the good ones. The guitars chug along, the drums are basic and insistent and the bass holds it all together. The lyrics are immediate and relevant to the moment.
I remember at the start of the pandemic listening to I Contain Multitudes by Dylan and realizing that shit was getting real. This evening I listened to Welcome Back and realized shit was still real and maybe we just may figure out how to get back. So Dylan ushered in the pandemic and Young helped us figure out we were mostly still here.
As Neil once said “it’s all one song”