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Are You Passionate?

3.6 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Neil Young let's it rock and let's it roll with Are You Passionate. Backed by members of Booker T. & The MGs and featuring his longtime band Crazy Horse on 'Goin' Home', Young's rock n roll adds Memphis to the mix to create one of the coolest, most passio

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Though Are You Passionate? is Neil Young's studio-recorded follow-up to 2000's Silver & Gold, it might well have emerged on the heels of Harvest Moon. While both Crazy Horse and Booker T. & the MGs swing by to add ballast to several of these 11 brand-new tracks, gentle weepers like "Don't Say You Love Me," "When I Hold You in My Arms," and the softly lilting title track recall Young's aforementioned 1992 work while suggesting that the once outspoken social critic and on-again, off-again CSN&Y member is mellowing. Further proof of that can be found in the tender opening song, "You're My Girl"--a postcard from a father to a daughter on the cusp of adulthood and presumably inspired by Young's daughter Amber--as well as in the lazy, languid "Two Old Friends." Are You Passionate?'s one serious clunker, "Let's Roll," was inspired by the 9/11 cell-phone call Todd Beamer placed moments before he and other passengers on Flight 93 went down in a Pennsylvania field. You can't fault the guy for commemorating a heroic act and making a personal donation to the Beamer family, but all his talk of "going after Satan on the wings of a dove" and "facing down evil" sounds like a guy who's spent more time watching CNN than honing his lyrics. --Kim Hughes
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 9, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reprise Records
  • ASIN: B00005Y4A2
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,586 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Brian J. Sleeman on April 9, 2002
Format: 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.
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Format: 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.
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Format: 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.
Though Motown and soul characterize the album, a potpourri of styles and moods surfaces after repeated listens. From the searing, Crazy Horse rocker, "Going Home" to the jubilant "Be With You" to the gorgeously delicate title track, Young's capacity for venturing into unexplored musical territory shines as luminously as ever. Not Since 1992's Harvest Moon has Young's production been so artful, chiming with beautiful rhythm guitar on the rollicking "You're My Girl" and "Differently," the title track's softly lilting piano and the gently wailing guitar of "When I Hold You in My Arms," one of the most ethereal ballads of Young's career.
"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.
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Format: 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.
My favorite tunes are without a doubt the aformentioned "Roll", "Are You Passionate"(beautiful guitar work), "Goin' Home"(not his best, but very atmospheric), "Two old Friends"(A great commentary with an aching chorus), "She's a Healer"(Excellent guitar melodrama), and "You're my Girl"(tied with "Roll" as the best song on the album, a touching affirmation for his daughter).
This is a great album, though, admittedly, very different. I don't think it's his best, but it's so personal and revealing that I can't put it down, and the songs are so good I can't take it out of the player. It's one of those discs that doesn't feel done at the end, so when it starts over at track 1 it feels like the album is just continuing, not going back to the beginning.
Anybody that doesn't like this album has no heart.
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