Album Review

Neil Young - Before And After

The songs are rarely improved upon, with the fidelity to ruggedness giving the songs the feel of half-finished demos, but the songwriting itself is, of course, stellar.

Neil Young - Before And After

Few artists have as rich a back catalogue as Neil Young. Under his own name – discounting his recordings with legends like Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills and Nash – he numbers ‘Before and After’ as his 45th studio album, 53 years after his first. But instead of new songs, here he presents rerecorded deep cuts from across his career. Some come from classics, such as ‘After the Gold Rush’ track ‘Birds’; while album closer ‘Don’t Forget Love’ was released as recently as 2021, on ‘Barn’. Each recording features minimal instrumentation, mostly Neil’s trademark warbling high tenor and warm harmonica set either to an acoustic guitar, piano or organ. The songs are rarely improved upon, with the fidelity to ruggedness giving the songs the feel of half-finished demos, but the songwriting itself is, of course, stellar. ‘Burned’, from Buffalo Springfield’s debut, maintains its jauntiness, while ‘Mother Earth’ carries a prophetic weight in its rich, bassy organ. ‘If You Got Love’ serves as an extra surprise, having been previously unreleased, and its simplicity and sincerity proves that after all these years, Neil Young still writes with the same heart of gold that earned him his name in the first place.

Tags: Neil Young, Reviews, Album Reviews

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