Neil Young Silver & Gold (Reprise)
Silver & Gold (Reprise)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., June 2, 2000
Silver & Gold (Reprise)The gentle side of Neil Young has returned. Some may be excited by this development, but judging by his latest work, the fact that he's getting older and gentler doesn't necessarily translate into better. The artist who can't seem to figure out if he wants to rage or mellow has released what by some accounts is his 29th album, Silver & Gold, and it's a decidedly acoustic affair. The last time he traveled this road was with Harvest Moon, and that collection was surely one of the best releases of the Nineties, striking a chord with its enveloping pensiveness and lucid nostalgia. Silver & Gold finds Young treading in similar moccasins, but without the same amount of success. He's still wrapped up in the past, but there are tunes that feel somehow incomplete with lyrics that could be best described as either overly simple ("Good to See You") or scattershot ("Without Rings"). In a lot of ways, Silver & Gold recalls Young's long-lost LP from 1974, On the Beach, a collection of odds and ends that some loved (mostly thanks to the devastating "Ambulance Blues") and some thought dreadful. It was full of bare arrangements and deceptive insight, and in a similar vein, Silver & Gold finds Young looking back ("Buffalo Springfield Again," "Daddy Went Walkin'") and warbling songs of love ("Distant Camera," "Horseshoe Man"). This time, however, even with the rustic edges and a bit of twang illuminating his words, it doesn't seem like enough. In the end, Silver & Gold rings incomplete and unfulfilling.