Neil Young, Chrome Dreams II

Young’s collection is best suited for the long weary road

Neil Young, Chrome Dreams IIAs the title suggests Neil Young’s collection of chrome dreams are best suited for the long weary road. As its quite easy to visualize yourself burning the midnight oil with thoughts of daily routines flying through your mind, like blurred yellow lines in the rear view.

A sequel to an unrealized Chrome Dreams ICDII is a mash-up of his past two releases (2005’s Prairie Wind and 2006’s Living with War) featuring the usual jukebox country numbers and down n’ dirty blues riffs. Consequently, because of the number of re-worked toss-offs CDII is generally hit and miss.

The long-winded 18-min “Ordinary People” loses steam by the third stanza; “Dirty Old Man” is obviously recorded for fun but could have been left off. Meanwhile in the hit column, the pop ditty “The Believer” is a track Jack Johnson only wishes he could write; “Spirit Road” is a 14-min journey showcasing Young’s roaring guitar work.

Now, Neil Young’s discography is legendary, so it’s hard to pinpoint the essence of what he does. Personally, what saves CDII from disaster is that Young continues to capture the emotional tug of human nature. When Young croons on reflective opener “Beautiful Bluebird”, “If Heaven had a window where the sun came shinin’ through / like a beautiful bluebird / I’d come flyin’ back to you” the sad lyric hits home hard.

Ultimately, CDII is only going to attract die-hard fans but even novices should find some gems among this uneasy mix. (Reprise Records)

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