Another solid addition by a music powerhouse
What is there to say about Neil Young that hasn’t already been said at this point? He’s one of the most talented and decorated rock songwriters of all time, releasing nearly 40 albums of original material over a now 50-year span. He’s done it with a variety of different groups, whether it be Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, or Crazy Horse, as well as a long and decorated solo career. His collaboration with the latter band is by far the longest, as he first worked with Crazy Horse all the way back in 1969. He originally asked the members to be the backing musicians on a solo album of his but wound up recruiting them to be his full-fledged backing band. He ‘fired’ them a year later (despite the fact they were never ‘his’) but over the years he’s enlisted their help again many times. His new 2019 album, Colorado, is one of these times and marks his first collaboration with Crazy Horse in seven years.
It’s an evident fact that Young brings in the lads from Crazy Horse when his songwriting takes a harder rock edge because his solo stuff without them has always been more acoustic and folk-influenced. The first impression one gets upon listening to Colorado is that Young has still got it. His distinct trembly voice sounds like it hasn’t aged a day. The opener, “Think of Me,” is dominated by harmonica and sounds more like a traditional Young song, but the second track, “She Showed Me Love,” harkens back to his rocker roots. It’s an epic 13-minute jam session of a track that cranks up the electric guitars and allows Crazy Horse to really shine. A similar intensity shows up on the angry “Shut It Down,” where Young charges that the planet is so destroyed from global warming that “the system needs to be shut down.”
There are also a few softer moments as well on the album. “Green Is Blue” is a delicate piano ballad, the psychedelic “Milky Way’” has slick CSNY-esque harmonies and closing track ‘I Do’ is a beautiful folk goodbye. Overall, Young and Crazy Horse have created a solid release that will fit nicely into their extensive discography. It’s hardly a groundbreaking work, but anything these two longtime collaborators team up on will be miles better than many albums released today.