Greendale [Second Edition]

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Neil Young is no stranger to experimentation, having devoted entire albums to electronic music, rockabilly, and even, as on the live Arc disc, unadorned feedback. Even by his standards, however, this concept album is pretty demanding: It's an old-fashioned morality play, pitting good against evil, hawk against dove, but Young's lyrical shadings blur the lines between the two sides, making for plenty of gray area. Musically, Greendale is something of an extension of Zuma, with plenty of Dust Bowl twang and fuzzy, ambling melodies. Backed by Crazy Horse's rhythm section, Young stretches out on several tracks, notably the character sketches "Sun Green" and "Carmichael," ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Neil Young is no stranger to experimentation, having devoted entire albums to electronic music, rockabilly, and even, as on the live Arc disc, unadorned feedback. Even by his standards, however, this concept album is pretty demanding: It's an old-fashioned morality play, pitting good against evil, hawk against dove, but Young's lyrical shadings blur the lines between the two sides, making for plenty of gray area. Musically, Greendale is something of an extension of Zuma, with plenty of Dust Bowl twang and fuzzy, ambling melodies. Backed by Crazy Horse's rhythm section, Young stretches out on several tracks, notably the character sketches "Sun Green" and "Carmichael," that are peppered with his trademark minimalist guitar solos. "Devil's Sidewalk," the album's sonic peak, is also its angriest declamation, as Young punctuates his stomping riffs with vocals, sung in the "Grandpa Green" character, railing against the downward spiral of popular culture. The story line can be somewhat convoluted -- and it contains enough murder and intrigue to fuel a year's worth of soap operas -- but at its best, as on the blues plaint "Double E" and the soft, parched ballad "Bandit," it's easy to throw logic to the wind and get swept up in the pure emotion. And as anyone who's followed Neil Young over the decades knows, few can match him when he's feeling passionate.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Prior to its release, Greendale received more attention than any Neil Young album in years, but it wasn't positive. Young hauled out his concept album -- about an extended family in a small town called Greendale, and how they're torn apart by a murder -- to unsuspecting audiences, who by and large were not happy about spending anywhere from 55 to 85 dollars to hear a dense convoluted song cycle, complete with rambling narrative from Young, for the first hour of the show and not hearing many hits in the remainder of the set. Early in the summer of 2003, there was a brief blast of stories about this quasi-scandal, setting the stage for the late-summer release of the album: it got Young some needed press, and announced that unlike his last several albums, Young was actually trying this time around. Frankly, he needed a change. Ever since 1994's Sleeps With Angels -- or, if you're less charitable, 1990's Ragged Glory -- he had been drifting, playing with different groups, never quite mustering up enough energy to assemble a consistent set of songs whenever he headed into the studio. Here, the story and the setting give Young a hook for the record, a common theme that he can rally around, and the album benefits so much from that focus that it doesn't really matter that the story is convoluted beyond comprehension; the plot matters so much that it winds up not mattering at all. Close attention and repeated listens offer few rewards to the careful listener, because Young doesn't really say much of anything here, no matter how elaborately he says it. Learning more about the narrative -- whether it's through the simultaneously released DVD of the Young-directed film Greendale, hearing his rambling on-stage between-song narratives, or reading apparent transcriptions of these ramblings in the liner notes -- illuminates the story slightly, even as declarations like "When I was writing this I had no idea what I was doing, so I was just as surprised as you are" emphasize the suspicion that there's not much meaning in the whole enterprise. All this doesn't really matter because Greendale works as a record -- it ebbs and flows and it holds together, playing as a unified whole on a level he hasn't approached since Ragged Glory. As Young says in the liner notes, these are things "you can't tell by listening to the songs, you have to listen to the instrumentals to get this," and while that is meant to apply to one of the many Crazy Horse-fueled meandering improvs, it really applies to the album as a whole since Greendale connects in its overall picture, not the details. Sometimes, such as the quietly eerie and affecting "Bandit," the songs stand apart from the concept, but usually the lyrics are too devoted to his winding narrative to be their own entities. Then again, Greendale was designed to be an interconnected song cycle, and if the narrative neither works nor signifies much, it nevertheless kept Young focused on the construction of the album, whether it's giving the songs memorable hooks or finding ways to make the signature ramshackle vibe of Crazy Horse sound both fresh and appropriate for this tale. It all adds up to a very good record -- one that is interesting, and one that satisfies musically. It may not be a latter-day masterpiece on the level of Dylan's Love and Theft, but it most surely is a comeback for an artist who seemed permanently adrift at sea. [In what is becoming a standard music-biz practice, Greendale was "relaunched" as a "second edition" six months after its release -- meaning, it was reissued with a different cover and a bonus DVD being the only differences in editions. Of course, the "first edition" had a bonus DVD, too, but this is a new DVD, containing a look "Inside Greendale," which is not the full-length film Greendale Young filmed. That will likely be released separately on DVD and it wouldn't come as a great surprise if this "Inside Greendale" would be included as a DVD extra when that happens. But in case that doesn't happen -- or in case fans can't wait a few months for the full-length DVD -- they can always buy the album again to get a DVD they may watch once.]
New York Times - Neil Strauss
By the end the listener is left practically breathless with the beauty, hope, pathos and power of the music and the story.... "Greendale"... [succeeds] like a flower blossoming in the dirt.
Rolling Stone - Milo Miles
Greendale has a tattered, buzzing, demonlike sound, rude as any Young has put out.
Blender - Jon Pareles
A consistently absorbing tale from a songwriter who's still pushing himself.

By the end the listener is left practically breathless with the beauty, hope, pathos and power of the music and the story.... "Greendale"... [succeeds] like a flower blossoming in the dirt.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/24/2004
  • Label: Reprise / Wea
  • UPC: 093624869924
  • Catalog Number: 48699
  • Sales rank: 52,952

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Falling from Above - Neil Young (7:27)
  2. 2 Double E - Neil Young (5:18)
  3. 3 Devil's Sidewalk - Neil Young (5:18)
  4. 4 Leave the Driving - Neil Young (7:14)
  5. 5 Carmichael - Neil Young (10:20)
  6. 6 Bandit - Neil Young (5:12)
  7. 7 Grandpa's Interview (12:57)
  8. 8 Bringin' Down Dinner - Neil Young (3:16)
  9. 9 Sun Green - Neil Young (12:03)
  10. 10 Be the Rain - Neil Young (9:13)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Inside Greendale - Neil Young
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Neil Young & Crazy Horse Primary Artist
Neil Young Organ, Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals, Indexed Contributor
Susan Hall Vocals
Ralph Molina Drums, Vocals
Billy Talbot Bass, Vocals
Pegi Young Vocals
Nancy Hall Vocals
Twink Brewer Vocals
Technical Credits
Neil Young Composer, Producer
Gary Burden Art Direction
Larry Cragg Guitar Techician
John Hausman Engineer
L.A. Johnson Producer, Video Producer
Tim Mulligan Mastering
Elliot Roberts Direction
Bernard Shakey Director
William Mitchell Engineer
Jenice Heo Art Direction
Mark Humphreys Producer
James Mazzeo Illustrations, Cover Art
Toshi Onuki Video Editor, Visual Design
Elliot Rabinowitz Executive Producer
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