Neil Young – Prairie wind
It is really hard to find a musician with such a large and admired discography as Neil Young. Since the late 60s, the Canadian has released more than 40 albums, many of them as memorable as the Harvest, the Rust never sleeps or the Freedom. But, at age 60, Young is still at his best, as he shows in his last album, Prairie wind.
After a series of doubtful albums that culminate in the criticised Are you passionate? (2002) many music critics and fans think that Neil Young was finally in his decadence. But then Young surprises the music world realising the epic Greendale (2003), musically interesting and conceptually admirable: emulating the best Steinbeck, Young invents an entire town in his loved California, and, focusing in the Green family, give free rein to values such as Freedom, Peace and Ecology that he has been defended since the late sixties. To complete this particular revived, in 2005 Young delighted his fans with the excellent Prairie wind, with no doubt his best work of the last 10 years.
With the release of the Prairie wind, Young return to his personal folk-rock style he showed in the early 70s, with two top-quality albums that catapulted him to the stardom: After the gold rush (1970) already fulfilled all the main elements that characterize the particular Young’s Universe: complex, suggestive verses with smart deal of surrealism, a brilliant musical accompaniment, and the unmistakable Young’s nasal voice over all them. Nevertheless, the success of this album can not be compared with the Harvest (1971), released the following year, and considered by many (not by me) as his masterwork. This album includes the wonderful single Heart of Gold -considered by many fans as Young’s greatest song- which gave Young his first nº 1 in the USA. Prairie Wind is Young’s most “essential” album since the release of the Harvest Moon in 1992.
The album opens with The painter, a nice, classic, melodic Young song about a female painter, and continues with No wonder, where Young’s values that we commented are evident in lyrics as “Somewhere a senator sits in a leather chair / Behind a big wooden desk / The caribou we killed mean nothing to him / He took his money just like all the rest” The third song, Falling off the face of the Earth, continues this accoustic series.
In Far from home, Young’s piano begin to shines, and it is more evident in It’s a dream, arguably the album’s most beautiful song. With its reflective lyrics and beautiful piano sound the song will make Young’s fans to remember songs as Heart of gold or the more recent Western hero. This is the song that wou’ll probably find yourself singing after the album ends… It’s a dream, only a dream…
In the song entitled Prairie wind the piano dissapear, and the accoustic guitar takes the main role. Here for you is a beautiful song that will make you remember From Hank to Hendrix, one of Young’s most loved songs. The old guitar is one of the most personal songs in the entire album, with Young’s nasal voice accompanied by a very listenable chorus.
In He was the King Young sings about the King, you know, Elvis Presley, as he did in one of hist most famous songs, Hey,hey; my, my (…the King is gone but is not forgotten…) although the style is very different, and the album closes with When God mades me, an intimal, reflective song about life, God, and Faith