From RobotFist's Greendale review by Brian O Flynn:
"Bob Dylan has aged badly, John Lennon and Johnny Cash are dead, but Neil Young still has it after all these years.
On first impressions he appears to be senile, but if you buy into the whole concept album thing, you will see he has never been saner. Young has a story to tell, it's a simple tale, a tale mixed with hope and sorrow. He plays different characters: a Bandit in a bad situation, a megaphone-wielding activist and an old grandpa. There's a leisurely pace at the Double E Ranch and Young is not afraid to settle in a groove and jam. He has all the time in the world. 4 tracks clock over 9 minutes. "
From Jambands.com 's review of "Greendale - Neil Young and Crazy Horse" album by John Patrick Gatta:
"Still, when one considers the state of music, the underwhelming intelligence of the American people in regards to what corporations and its government are really doing, and the fragile ability to criticize those who reside in the Beltway, let alone in the White House, I applaud Young's lofty ambitions. Greendale is worth a visit. Whether you care to settle down and put down roots is another matter. "
"In channeling Jimmy Reedís relaxed, slow, smoldering electric blues and pairing it with folk melodies, Young has found the perfect musical accompaniment to his spoken-sung lyrics. Thereís precedent in the undulating waves of 1990ís "The Days That Used To Be" and progressive momentum in 1995ís autobiographical "Iím the Ocean", but Crazy Horse has never loped, shuffled, or rollicked quite like this. Eight of the ten songs - chapters, really are variations on basic, groove-heavy blues riffs which Young opens like an aluminum can, rocks back and forth, works up and down, and bobs like a buoy at sea."
"If Letís Roll was his gut reaction to the attacks of September 11, then Greendale is his thoughtful condemnation of the George Bush Administrationís response as well his horror at what America has become. Indeed, Young attempts to tackle all of the countryís problems, laying them bare within a 10-song, 80-minute tale, and if he bites off more than he can chew, thatís only because there is so much that is currently wrong that anything less just wouldnít suffice. Leave it to a Canadian to point out our own foibles, but itís hard to quibble when Young is so accurate in his assessment."
"I'm on a MISSION to get everybody over the age of FIFTY to buy 'Greendale'.
Because this dude. This SINGULAR DIFFICULT DUDE. HAS STILL GOT IT!
Nobody's got it anymore. Rod Stewart sold out. Jimmy and Robert haven't done anything great in eons, together or apart. Everything we believed in...is dead. Exists on record only. The cherry on top has been lifted for use on classic rock radio. Otherwise, the sixties and seventies...are history."
In case you're unfamiliar with Bob Lefsetz and his influence in the music industry, here's what Blue Man Group said about Lesetz: "He is a modern day Lester Bangs, who tries to find needles of musical inspiration in giant haystacks of blandness, and who tries to mobilize the people who care about music into some kind of force of influence against the giant media monopolies and the purveyors of mediocrity." Lefsetz' endorsement of Greendale is major achievement and recognition of the significance of Greendale against the bleak landscape of today's uninspired and disconnected music.
"The sound overall is very Zuma -- the opening chords on the first cut, 'Falling From Above,' immediately brings to mind 'Barstool Blues' -- but you hear echoes of a lot of different Neil Youngs throughout. There's the raw rocker of 'Devil's Sidewalk,' the After the Gold Rush soulfulness of 'Bandit,' and the semi-anthemic 'Be the Rain,' which will serve nicely as mood music for the next Greenpeace fundraiser. Young and his prowling, growling guitar delivers it all with the kind of improvisational moxie that characterizes his best work.
One thing's for sure: you won't hear another CD like it all year."
"Greendale finds Neil Young claiming to work with Crazy Horse again, though you really can't help but notice that Crazy Horse apparently no longer has a fucking GUITARIST, so essentially Neil is working with the rhythm section from Crazy Horse, much like David Gilmour recorded his last two albums with the drummer from Pink Floyd.
Actually, maybe 'working' is the wrong word to use for an album where every single song has the exact same uptempo 1-2 drumbeat, every melody is a collection of two to three basic generic chords, and most of the tracks don't delineate between 'verse' and 'chorus.' These are NOT 'musical compositions' -- this is the kind of music that you create by walking into a garage with a drummer and bassist you've never met before and just playing the most basic, easy-to-learn riffs you can think of on the spot."
" Strictly for the aging hippies who convinced themselves that Bob Dylan's Love And Theft was a masterpiece. My CD comes with a bonus DVD of Neil performing the songs solo on acoustic guitar; improbably, it's even more longwinded and boring, thanks to endless between-song narration."
From RollingStone.com a 4 Stars review in Issue #930 (September 4, 2003) by MILO MILES:
"Greendale uses a hippie dream of strong-willed folks' spontaneous redemption as a cover story for a compelling, ominous rendition of America after 9/11: There's paranoia on Main Street."
"The ten song plot line of Greendale, is sometimes inspiring, other times limp. Told through Youngís earnest voice and raw musicianship, Greendale holds a far chance of hitting Broadway. Tackling cliche' topics of: the environment, revolution, silence to the media, and other snippets of paranoia within todayís post 9-11 U.S. climate, the story is part high-school play, part political campaign. "
"Greendale is the best thing Young has produced since 1989's Freedom, and possibly the most ambitious work of his career. As an album, the songs work together beautifully. It stands up to repeated listens, and actually gets better the more you hear it. Will it get played on the radio? Probably not, but that's radio's loss."
From the Los Angeles Times (syndicated to Access Atlanta a review by Robert Hilburn:
"Against all odds, however, the man with the quivering voice and howling guitar is at his boldest and most personal in this wonderfully ambitious work. In 'Greendale' (in stores Tuesday), Young weaves the fictional story of a small-town family (the Greens) into a sort of 'state of the union' address that touches on Orwellian inroads on personal freedom, tabloid media and social apathy.
What Young says here is that little does change -- most people in Greendale just go through life, often responding to arbitrary twists and turns without leaving much of a mark. But Young clings to a relentless, John Lennon-like belief in the possibility of positive change. Thus, Grandpa's lingering optimism is picked up by his granddaughter, who becomes a warrior for the environment."
An interesting article from The New York Times headlined "Have You Heard the New Neil Young Novel?" by Madison Smartt Bell. Bell puts forth the premise that the Greendale narrative intertwined with the music makes for a compelling read.
"Mr. Young has always been remarkable for his creative resilience, and
this time he really has done something new, rendering into this
combination of print and audio a novel that is surprisingly
sophisticated and satisfyingly complete.
He embeds the story line in musical arrangements sufficiently stripped
down to recall the idea of a Homeric bard accompanying himself on his
harp. The music supplies and modulates the tone of the work Mr.
Young's familiar chiaroscuro palette or sometimes goes a little
further to capture a lyrical feeling the words can't fully express: in
the description of Mr. Young's accompanying text, "you can't tell by
listening to the songs, you have to listen to the instrumentals to get
this." While the songs themselves dramatize the narrative's scenes,
the printed text handles exposition and summary transitions, in an
idiosyncratic manner that allows Mr. Young to speak directly to the
Bell concludes by summing up Greendale for the major achievement that it is for commenting on today's times.
"Mr. Young's not the first or last to notice that if our world is
significantly less free now than in the time of his youth, it's less
because of government than the inert momentum of the increasingly
monolothic media. "Greendale" makes a loud and clear protest against
the oppressive qualities of both not the recycling of antique hippie
platitudes that it might appear at second hand, but a message aptly
tooled for just these times. Here is an unusually vivid picture of
mass media's most sinister system of self-reference, flowing from
sitcom TV through reality to tabloid TV and back again. But what's
most refreshing is the successful use Mr. Young has made of artistic
freedom; with the multidimensional twists that bind his music to his
narrative, he's stitched the novel a whole new suit of clothes. "
Read more commentary on Neil Young's Greendale. The critical controversy both pro and con.
Read reviews of the live concert performances of Greendale in Europe, US, Canada, Asia (Hong Kong and Japan), and Australia on Greendale Concert Reviews page.
"You can make a difference if you really try." - Be The Rain