20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neil continues to challenge the definition of "Neil Young"
Well, he's done it again. Throughout the last 30+ years, Neil's made a career out of zigging when people expect him to zag, and "Are You Passionate?" is no exception. Following a live album from the 2000 "Friends & Relatives" tour, an acoustic-folk album in "Silver & Gold," and spring 2001 studio sessions with Crazy Horse (for a...
Published on April 9, 2002 by Brian J. Sleeman
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars About Let's Roll...
This album is ok, some of the songs are good, some aren't but what I really want to say is, will everyone please stop slagging Neil for writing "Let's Roll"? Admittedly it's not a very good song, but everyone who is calling it right-wing, jingoistic, and hypocritical (or anyone who is saying, haha, even lefty Neil Young supports this war)is just plain WRONG. People are...
Published on March 21, 2003 by College student and Neil fan
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars About Let's Roll...,
This review is from: Are You Passionate? (Audio CD)This album is ok, some of the songs are good, some aren't but what I really want to say is, will everyone please stop slagging Neil for writing "Let's Roll"? Admittedly it's not a very good song, but everyone who is calling it right-wing, jingoistic, and hypocritical (or anyone who is saying, haha, even lefty Neil Young supports this war)is just plain WRONG. People are completely taking the song out of context. It's about the passengers on Flight 93 fighting the [enermy], and it is a tribute to them and their courage. The song is not about America's current foreign policy. The song is not about America's strikes on Afghanistan or the War on Terrorism in general. So everyone stop trying to make [a] song mean something it doesn't. Thank you.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neil continues to challenge the definition of "Neil Young",
This review is from: Are You Passionate? (Audio CD)Well, he's done it again. Throughout the last 30+ years, Neil's made a career out of zigging when people expect him to zag, and "Are You Passionate?" is no exception. Following a live album from the 2000 "Friends & Relatives" tour, an acoustic-folk album in "Silver & Gold," and spring 2001 studio sessions with Crazy Horse (for a project tentatively titled "Toast"), this one seems to have come out of nowhere. Some have said this album sounds like something out of his eccentric '80s catalog, where the bouncing around from genre to genre was the most pronounced. However, granted that some of those albums have their merits, this one is much stronger on all fronts.
Backed by Stax house band Booker T. & The MG's for most of this album, Neil dives head-first into '60s soul, and you can hear echoes of the old Stax sound in several of the tracks here. The opener, "You're My Girl," is a classic example, referencing a handful of '60s classics but written from the perspective of a man who's grown up and now faces an increasingly empty nest at home. Neil has explained this during his 2002 concert tour with CSNY as a song he wrote for his daughter, Amber Jean (who also had a song written for her during the '84 International Harvester period), whom he used to drive to school every day and has always loved the motown sound.
My favorite cuts on the album come next, in "Mr. Disappointment" and "Differently." You can see Neil gently swaying back and forth on a stool with "Old Black" in his hands as he weaves through both of these tunes, the lyrics of which continue the theme of the reflections of an older man on his storied past.
"Don't Say You Love Me" is another slow-rolling smoothie, and the first of three tracks on this album that were debuted on the 2001 European tour with Crazy Horse. The second is "Goin' Home," which comes to us from the same portion of Neil's mind as the classics "Like a Hurricane" and "Cortez the Killer." This one was an instant classic when performed live, and it's unfortunate that the studio version (even with the Crazy Horse lineup) lacks a lot of the punch the live version had. This one feels like it was recorded at 8 am while the Horse was still waking up, but even then it's a great song.
"When I Hold You In My Arms" sounds much more like the drifting ballad it was originally (anyone who saw Farm Aid last year on CMT got a preview of this). Lyrically it's representative of the new direct approach Neil's taken with his songwriting - you won't find anything as deep as some of the older albums, but that's not necessarily a bad thing: this new style fits the music well (can you see the lyrics to Ambulance Blues going along with an r&b/soul type of sound?).
"Two Old Friends" has been another staple in the CSNY setlists of this year, stuck right in between "Long Time Gone" and "Woodstock" - that oughta tell you how confident Neil is about it, and I agree - it's another of my favorites from the album. "Let's Roll" works really well in a live concert setting, however I wonder what that will sound like several years down the road. "Ohio" has had a long life and still applies - let's all hope that "Let's Roll" won't. This song has caught a lot of flack from a lot of people - it seems you either love it or you hate it. While I'm not a fan of some of the George W. Bush style lyrics, I still think it's a decent song, just a little out of place on this album.
Overall I think this album will go over well for fans of the Booker T. sound, as well as anyone who wants to hear Neil doing something different yet again. Far from the days of "Landing On Water" and "Everybody's Rockin'," Neil turns in a beauty here.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep on rockin' Neil...,
This review is from: Are You Passionate? (Audio CD)I was inspired to buy this CD after seeing Neil Young perform the title track on the Jay Leno show. Just the fact that he was backed up by Booker T and 3/4's of the MG's was enough for me! The song itself grabbed me with it's fifties beat and oddball NY lyrics. I loved it. I bought the CD the next day.
I don't care what anyone says, Neil Young is and always has been an original. Now in his fifties, he continues to refuse to conform and that's all right by me. This CD is yet another facet of this incredibly talented performer. I especially like, Mr. Disappointment, Quit (Don't Say You Love Me) and, of course Are You Passionate. The only track that I seem to skip is Let's Roll. It doesn't sit well with me for some reason. But that's not enough for me not to declare this a five star winner.
I respect any artist who can continue to perform into their 50's (and now 60's for some). It proves to me that we were right all along. The music I grew up listening to is solid, lasting and, in my humble opinion, the best ever. Neil, keep on rockin' and I'll keep on listenin'.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Touching View in to the world of Neil Young,
This review is from: Are You Passionate? (Audio CD)This album could be hastily placed among his genre experiments of the '80's (with stuff like Trans, Everybody's Rockin', and This Note's for You) simply by listening to the Stax inspired music. But the songs themselves are so much deeper than the inappropriate generalization.
The whole album tells a beautiful story that shows how much he loves his family (especially his daughter, someone hardly ever mentioned when people discuss Neils' home-life) and of his adopted country and his music.
"Let's Roll" has been almost universally panned by hardcore Young fans, but I love it. I don't see rash verbal attacks on the enemy, rather I see a harsh, cynical song attacking not only those who dared to attack our great country, but also the great country it attacked.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Passion of the Neil--With Booker T. and The M.G's.,
This review is from: Are You Passionate? (Audio CD)I am always mystified whenever a new Neil Young album is touted as being a "return to form." Has anyone else noticed that Neil Young does not take any consistent form, never has, and probably never will? I don't listen to Neil Young because I want to hear the same sound on every album. I listen to hear something that's fresh and expressive and speaks to the human condition-- he has very rarely disappointed me in that respect. So perhaps the fact that I'm not one of those fans that requires every helping of Neil to be come with a side order of Crazy Horse places me in a more tolerant disposition towards Are You Passionate? From the get-go. Be that as it may, this is certainly not a flawless album and actually took some time to grow on me as much as it has.
Are You Passionate? has often been described as a romantic album and, while many of the songs seem pretty clearly to have been written with Mrs. Young in mind, to say that 'Passionate' Is about romance and only romance is oversimplification if not misinterpretation and likely represents a complete misunderstanding of the title. Are You Passionate? is in fact, and in spite of the rhythm and blues styling that permeates nearly all of the tracks, one of Neil's most multi-faceted and complex albums. Much of this arises from the fact that a lot was going on in 2001, when these songs were written and recorded. And of course, there's always a lot going on in Neil's mind-- and as Neil himself says, "Strange things happen when worlds collide."
The first three songs flow into one and other almost seamlessly. You're My Girl has grown a lot on me, though I still don't think it's a great song. It's about Neil's daughter growing up and going to college and is really quite sweet. Booker T. and the M.G.'s back Neil on all but one song on this album, and the arrangement here firmly establishes an R&B sound that permeates most of the album--it's polished unlike most Neil Young music, and shiny to the point that some listeners may require sunglasses, but this is in accordance with the style it seeks to evoke. In addition, the lyric contains some nice images-- the metaphor of the "forest floor" for the world and the "falling leaves of time", and references nature repeatedly, with mentions of the "sun and the water." It's not a huge deal, nor the focus of the song, but it's something extra that adds to the appeal for me.
Mr. Disappointment and Differently are two of the album's strongest tracks. Disappointment reels to listener into the album after a tentative start with the previous song. Its greatest strengths are Neil's quite intentionally gravelly delivery of the clever lyric and the soulful instrumental break before the last verse, while Neil's concept of personifying disappointment in the form of an adversary is one of the most imaginative things I've ever heard in a song. This was one of the first songs on the album really appealed to me. Differently is equally clever, not least of all in that it works dance steps ("turn it around, bring it back") into the lyric of the song. Differently is a song about the choices we all make every day and how, in spite of our desires to change some of them after the fact, we cannot and must live with our errors. All that can be done is to make amends to the best of one's ability. Sometimes this works better than others, and here Neil appeals directly to those he has hurt for forgiveness and a fresh start. Personally, I related to this very strongly as I imagine do many others--even the most trivial of mistakes can weight heavily on your mind at times.
Quit (Don't Say You Love Me) seems to come as the response of the second person in the relationship to Differently. As well as being a beautiful melody, with exquisite guitar from Neil, it is also an extremely heartfelt song, played out as a conversation between two lovers trying to cope with difficulties in their relationship. You can almost feel the pain in Neil's voice on the refrain: "Don't say you love me--that's what she said!") It could perhaps have been more appropriately titled "Don't Say You Love Me (Just Say you Want Me"), but then that would have spoiled the twist at the end, by which time, suffice it to say, you can almost picture the couple concerned beginning an impassioned act of physical intimacy while electric guitar and tender piano mingle before a rock-solid rhythm section. Ultimately, though, it's just a great mellow song for when you're worked up, to calm you down and remind you of what really matters in life. It also seems to be the outcome of the first four tracks and set up for the remainder of the album--Neil urging not only his lover but also listeners to "stick around" and see what he has in waiting for us, even after a forty-year plus career, and he hasn't stopped to this day.
He's never feared controversy, either and next is likely the most controversial song he has recorded in several decades: Let's Roll. This is an immediate response to the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks on the United States of America. Most of it is concentrated on paying tribute to the everyday American people-turned-heroes who overpowered the hijackers of Flight 93 and, in so doing, prevented even more destruction and loss of life. Whether or not anyone actually said, "let's roll" we'll probably never know for sure, but that's irrelevant anyway-- it's the sentiment that matters. Whether or not the use of the phrase itself is an urban legend (and whether or not Todd Beamer called his wife, because really, there's no indication in the song that he's supposed to be the one singing the first verse--they could all be from the viewpoints of different passengers come to that, especially with the altered method of vocal delivery on the countermelody verse), that the passengers on Flight 93 attempted to overcome their hijackers and died in their effort to prevent greater destruction and loss of life is not. I think that's worth remembering and honoring, especially because not even the people on the other three hijacked planes, who were placed in the exact same same life-or-death situation, possessed the emotional, moral, and physical courage to do what those on Flight 93 attempted. One way or another, "You've got to turn on evil when it's coming after you" seemed to be Gandhi's philosophy, too. It's a fairly universal thought. The song is a little extreme, and I don't always listen to it when listening to the album, but then again, it was inspired by a desperate situation.
Next up is the title track, located dead center as the sixth of eleven tracks on the album. This was one of the first I was drawn to on the album. A bluesy number arranged brilliantly in waltz time, if you can imagine such thing, this is a natural follow-up to 'Let's Roll', beginning with a poignant lament of the struggle to survive "in a world that never stops turning on you, turning on me." This can be seen as a reference to catastrophic and tragic events such as 9/11. The song, as it continues, becomes increasingly obscure and difficult to interpret. I don't believe the narrator(s) of the countermelody sections is/are necessarily supposed to be the same person singing the verses, which suggest the narrator is an artist considering his craft: "Are you going to the top... "The love that never stops/coming to me/coming to you/coming to me." The middle sections then launch into what appear to be demonstrative bursts of the artistic inspiration. The separation is indicated to me by the double-tracking effect used to alter Young's voice from the unadorned delivery of the main verses. Overall, the song seems to me to be an image of the "real world" set against intrapersonal artistic angst, blending to form a tonally dark and psychologically complex whole.
As an aside, a possibility regarding the lyric of the soldier throwing the missiles that "might be the ones that kept you free" is that Young is singing purely from the soldier's perspective: that's what he'd hope (however vainly) the missiles would do, or he wouldn't throw them. "Fighting in the sky", to me, suggests air support or an air raid. "Dove into the darkness", with no indication of ever coming out of it again, suggests death--so the soldier is speaking as if from beyond the grave, not knowing for certain the earthly outcome of his actions. Yet he would not have committed them unless he believed they the potential to save lives and/or liberties.
Then it's on to the last half the album. This portion is bookended by the two truly epic tracks here. There's usually at least one massive, sprawling jam on any Neil Young album featuring an electric guitar, and here we have two. One is remarkable for its lyrics, the other for its instrumental experimentation. 'Goin' Home', the first of the two, is completely different than the rest of the album. It was required at a separate time with Crazy Horse, Young's longtime backup group, and it shows. Young and Pancho Sampedro's guitar parts are tantalizingly brief but searing. Ralph Molina hammers out a driving rhythm, reminiscent of Native American war drums. The lyrics themselves are some of the most interesting and poetic here, dealing with General Custer's last battle, Native American culture, and all sorts of other things. I won't even begin trying to scrutinize the various verses in the confines of this forum. Suffice it to say that, along with the awesomely powerful music, there is some truly great imagery here ("her clothes were changing--into sky and stars"), which, combined with the droning distorted guitars, creates a strangely entrancing aesthetic. The ending is equally ingenious, musically speaking: the intensity builds, builds, and builds, as the main riff is pounded out endlessly, overlaid with Neil's signature barbarian solos, just heightening, heightening, heightening in intensity. And then... it just stops. Abruptly. Just as if I were to end this review mid-sentence.
Several seconds later, we're on to 'When I Hold You in my Arms', in an almost seamless segue. Musically a throwback to '50 R&R ballads, it picks up where 'Quit' leaves off. It's a comforting, heartfelt number that's grown on me quite a bit. The lyrics are excellent and the whole message is encapsulated in the chorus line: " New buildings coming up. Old buildings coming down. New signs coming up; old signs coming down. We've got to hold on to something in this life." This song, while not one of the album's very best, epitomizes its core themes in a few short verses.
It is followed by the much more upbeat, yet lighter, 'Be With You', which is funky and a lot of fun. And definitely out of the ordinary for Neil. It's a warm message, rendered with good fun for all. How can one not break into a grin on hearing Neil's unmistakable tenor declare, "Girl, it shouldn't be too hard to live with you. It's really not complicated until I get the blues." It sounds like Neil is having the time of his life here, and the festive mood, shown here and on other potentially danceable tracks such as 'Differently', can quickly spread to the open-minded listener.
The final ballad, 'Two Old Friends', however, elevates the album to entirely different place. It is the beautiful and majestic tale of a preacher seeking Divine council. He laments a world filled with hate and sadly lacking "love and music in the air", sentiments to which I'm sure many of us can relate. The preacher, and Neil, and the audience, seek here to elevate themselves to a higher spiritual plain, to "see no evil, fear no evil, feel no evil." This is an album highlight and a beautiful and tranquil number I often like to hear after listening to 'Let's Roll.'
'She's a Healer', the positively brilliant album closer, I will not try to summarize in words. At nine minutes, it is the longest track on them album, and one of the best. You simply have to hear it. The most I can say is that it's like a rhythm and blues reinvention of 'Cowgirl in the Sand'--pretty much that good. It blends a really cool "soulful" guitar tone with Booker T's organ, a spirited piano, heavy bass courtesy of Donald "Duck" Dunn and a trumpet, all of which are layered upon a simple but addictive riff, used in trademark Neil Young fashion to build up what could be a simple 3-4 minute tune to genuinely epic proportions.
-- Pure magic; a great finale; you have to hear it, especially if you're a fan--like the entire album.
I would also suggest if, I might, trying the entire album in an alternate sequence. The running order of the tracks is the only reservation I have about the album. As I said, the opening track isn't one of the most impressive ones and I can't help but fee the flow isn't always quite there. Neil may, in fact, have been equally ambivalent, as he used the album art to give us this alternate version, in the form of a picture of series of notecards on the rear cover:
1. When I Hold You in My Arms
2. She's a Healer
3. You're My Girl
5. Be With You
6. Mr. Disappointment
7. Two Old Friends
8. Goin' Home
9. Let's Roll
10. Are You Passionate?
11. Quit (Don't Say you Love Me)
To some degree, I wish this sequence had been used. It gives the album a more experimental feel, which fits with this being Neil's first foray into soul and R&B music, though it also makes the album tonally darker at times. The final arrangement seems geared towards making the album as commercially accessible as possible. But considering how it was generally received, that was a bit of a waste to be brutally honest. Still, I don't think one version is necessarily "better" than the other. Personally, I might have chosen the one that wasn't used, but It depends what you're in the mood for. So if you're going to try 'Passionate' at all, I would recommend trying both sequences. Obviously you can also try your own, though I've yet to find anything as effective as the versions Neil gives us.
All in all, I won't say this is Neil's lost gem, or a really brilliant album. It is, however, rather underrated and quite interesting, both musically lyrically. In fact, the musical experimention is of such merit that, while I used to consider the songs on Silver & Gold to be stronger material, this album is increasingly the more interesting of the two, and has certainly become the one I return to more often.
In addition I wouldn't recommend AYP? as a place to start, nor are more casual fans likely to appreciate it as much as the thoroughly devoted. I would, however, encourage anyone interested in either Neil or Booker T. to give it a fair chance at some point, in spite of the lukewarm publicity surrounding it. It's actually one of his more interesting recent albums and if I were you, I wouldn't want to miss it. Sure, it's different--it's an experiment. That's part of the fun.
'Are You Passionate?' is a fun, yet multi-faceted and fascinating, album full of vigorous, joyful musical experimentation and excellent, highly relatable, spiritually searching, thought-provoking lyrics on a wide scope of topics, highly recommended for established fans of the artists involved. Let the good times roll.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Extra star for "Goin' Home",
By A Customer
This review is from: Are You Passionate? (Audio CD)Neil Young's genre exercises (for example, almost all of his '80s albums) tend to indicate a lack of songwriting inspiration. That's certainly the case with this new album, which isn't unappealing musically, but is a very disappointing collection of songs from Neil. (I could be mean and say that it continues a major songwriting slump from him since "Sleep With Angels.")
Young has written some of the most powerful, ambitious rock lyrics ever (think of "Powderfinger," "Pocahontas," "Cortez the Killer," and so many others), so it's depressing to hear him resort to obvious hackneyed rhymes and greeting card sentiments, as he does on much of this album. And his reaction to 9/11, "Let's Roll," could have been written by any hack songwriter--it doesn't tell us anything we don't already know. "Ohio" and "Rockin' In The Free World" had real passion; this new topical song feels done for the sake of doing it. Frankly, this is more like something one of his CSN cronies would have penned. I was hoping that recent events would fire up Neil lyrically, but it wasn't to be.
The music is fine--it's not as far a stretch from Neil's regular sound as, say, "This Note's For You," which in some ways is the closest album in his catalog to this one, stylistically. The Stax groove added by half of the former Booker T. and the MGs is enjoyable, and Neil tailors his guitar playing to the sound well, showing he's capable of some restraint in his solos he doesn't always display with Crazy Horse. This album mostly features a relaxed sound, but with a little bit of edge to keep the music interesting.
And speaking of Crazy Horse, the one true standout is "Goin' Home," the lone appearance by the group. It's the most energetic Neil and the Horse have sounded together in the studio in a long time, and the lyrics even have some of that old Young mystery. Hearing more of the Horse would have been nice, but given the unambitious, minor songs, it would have been a waste.
I keep hoping Neil will dust off his muse and deliver another great album, but this isn't it. It's far from his worst, but that's not good enough. I hate to say it, but this album and "Silver and Gold" make him sound old and a bit out of touch. But I wouldn't write him off yet...he's surprised us before.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Graceful Reinvention,
This review is from: Are You Passionate? (Audio CD)Four decades and 36 albums into his career, Neil Young continues to explore his versatility with Are You Passionate. While his collaboration with Booker T & The MGs may seem discrepant, the loose guitars of Young and Crazy Horse sidekick, Frank "Poncho" Sampedro, frequently bridge the gap between grunge and soul. The results are often marvelous.
Past departures from Young's folk and rock roots, such as Time Fades Away, Trans, Everybody's Rockin' or Landing on Water, were either flat or baffling or just plain awful. However, a sense of purpose and, yes, passion, makes this the most compelling experiment of Neil Young's erratic career. Something genuinely fresh derives from many of these songs, in which Donald "Duck" Dunn's bass and the sly croon of Booker T. Jones' trusty organ sweetly complement Young's familiar guitar licks.
"I knew that I wanted to play my guitar more like a saxophone this time," Young told Pulse magazine, "And I felt more like a horn player while I was playing my guitar." But while Young & Co. manipulate familiar instruments to create fresh sounds, the addition of bongos, tambourines, vibes and the occasional, hauntingly distant burst of a trumpet makes this one of Young's most flavorful projects.
With the exception of "Let's Roll" -- an embarrassing nod to the abundance of 9-11 tribute songs -- many tracks on Are You Passionate? demonstrate the kind of lyrical honesty that is unique to Young's best songwriting, revisiting themes of love, hate and loss with renewed inspiration. Whereas Young's previous album, Silver & Gold, was both musically and lyrically lackadaisical, these new songs are focused, inspired and occasionally biting. "Please don't tell me that you're leaving me just yet/'Cause I know I gotta let you go/Please don't tell me that you're saying goodbye," Young sings on "You're My Girl," a farewell song to his college-bound daughter, Amber. Other songs, such as "Two Old Friends," suggest that Young's days of innocence, love and politics have acquiesced to the world-weariness and nostalgia of middle-age:
"The Preacher went up to the Golden Gate and met God there
No my son. That time is gone.
As though to accommodate the album's bluesy ambiance, other songs bravely walk through memories of lost love and desperation, as on the beautifully tender "Mr. Disappointment": "I'd like to shake your hand, Disappointment / Looks like you win again, but this time might be the last."
Elsewhere, Young reveals himself in intimately confessional statements such as the album's final words: "All I got is a broken heart and I don't try to hide it/When I play my guitar."
While these mellow, sweet and introspective tunes foreshadow twilight ahead for the godfather of grunge, there are still some raucous reminders of younger, angrier days. If it really is "better to burn out than to fade away," then tracks like "Going Home" and "Differently" suggest that Young is taking his own advice. Ralph Molina's outraged drums punch through "Going Home" with ceaseless ferocity, while Young and "Poncho's" berserk guitars sing their decades-old anthem to rock and roll as though it were written just yesterday.
At 56 years old, Neil Young insists that he still has something to prove. Not only is this one of 2002's most inventive and inspired albums, it disputes the unfortunate stereotypes that dog rock's aging stars. "People my age, they don't do the things I do/They go somewhere while I run away with you," Young sings on Mirror Ball's "I'm The Ocean." Are You Passionate? reveals that the man means what he says.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Are You Passionate? (Audio CD)This album is an absolute gem. It is not only my favorite Young album, but my favorite cd in my collection (about 400). It's hard to put into words what makes this album work so well. It is powerful and flows with feeling from the get-go. Neil's saxophone-style lead guitar playing is fantastic. The only drawback -- the song "Let's Roll" isn't Neil's best work, but it actually compliments the rest of the album with the feeling it envokes.
This album is a case of being "worth more than the sum of its parts." Taken individually, each song seems a bit lost after hearing the entire album. I usually listen to the whole cd from start to finish, and I'm always left satisfied. Young was definitely inspired when he created this album -- and it will leave you inspired as well.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Neil's passionate!,
This review is from: Are You Passionate? (Audio CD)Are you passionate is Neil's new jewel, mellow, uplifting and, at the same time, profound! Mr disappointment is an instant classic. On 'Going Home' Neil is backed up by Crazy horse, fabulous!
However, most surprising to me was this record's very intense sound mixed with Neil's 'new' guitar style, subtle and groovy at the same time.
It is this intensity that certainly makes up for one of the 'weaker' tracks like 'let's roll', which just seems a little out of place on this 'liuttle' masterpiece.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Let's phone it in,
This review is from: Are You Passionate? (Audio CD)I own every album Neil Young has released, and my fan-hero relationship has hit one of those really rough patches, kinda like when a marriage loses its sparkle for a while. The great thing about Neil is that you know he'll come back (eventually) with something surprising and wonderful, like "Silver & Gold" or "Ragged Glory." The terrible thing about Neil is he'll give you the good, the bad, and very occassionally (as with "Are You Passionate?") the ugly. This is the worst thing he's done since "Old Ways" -- and it's even worse than that. The level of songwriting craft is perhaps his worst ever. The lyrics are more like Jesse Colin Young than Neil Young, and this splendid array of musicians is left to riff unconvincingly on what are clearly half-baked, barely sketched-in musical ideas. Maybe Neil was double-depressed by 9/11 and his own palid response in the wretched "Let's Roll" -- where the problem isn't the politics, but the lame level of musicianship. Nothing Neil does is completely boring or worthless or purely cynical, but "Are You Passionate?" sounds cynical in its shallow sincerity. The only real flash of the master's wit is in the sick joke of the album's title. Buy the "Red Rocks" or "Rust Never Sleeps" DVDs, or get "Silver & Gold" if you want a look at the amazingly stuff NY is still capable of.
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