There are two faces of Neil Young: Harvest-folkie and Zuma-rocker. But the truth is, he's at his best when he straddles both approaches and (more times than not) at his worst when he wanders. On Barn -- his 41st LP, and 14th with Crazy Horse -- the proud "Canerican" (as he refers to himself) decides to plant himself squarely between both modes, creating a breezy 10-track affair that sounds reassuring and recognizable.
Co-produced by Niko Bolas, who helped record one of Neil's finest works (1989's Freedom) and joined by his longtime musical partners Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina, Barn finds Young reaching back to his glory days for something familiar.
Neil Young is standing on the porch, smoking weed, waiting for somebody else to show up. That's the basic premise of "They Might Be Lost," the strangest, loosest--and thus, the quintessential--song from Barn, his latest album. (Young's discography itself is strange and loose enough that contextualizing Barn in the usual ways seems futile, but if you must know, it's his 41st studio effort, and the 14th to feature Crazy Horse, his trustiest backing band.) Young wrote "They Might Be Lost" quickly and intuitively and didn't give the band much time to rehearse it, a first-thought-best-thought approach that pervades Barn.
Times and trends come and go, but one thing remains constant, Neil Young will be out there somewhere readying another album for the world. With over 40 full-length releases under his belt, it’s no surprise that this marks his 14th with Crazy Horse. Numbers aside, it’s still the rarest of things to have a partnership last over half a century, especially in the fickle world of rock ‘n’ roll.
There is something special about a Neil Young and Crazy Horse album. You can't quite put your finger on it, but they don't really sound like anything either has released. As soon as you hear a few seconds you know it's a Crazy Horse album. Young's guitar has a specific crunch to it. The drums ….