Goldmine Pick: Neil Young’s ‘Le Noise’ reveals artistic intensity

Neil Young
“Le Noise”
(Reprise Records)
★★★★

By Pat Prince

From Le Noise’s opening noise-chord of “Walk With Me,” the listener’s attention will be immediately grabbed, without being released, for better or worse.

The yin and yang marriage of Neil Young and famed-producer Daniel Lanois on “Le Noise” is a successfully intimate one of ugliness and beauty, grime and polish; one consummated in a back room somewhere, churning out over-amplified poetry with a Romantic sound.

A good example of this outcome is “Walk With Me,” a combination of prettied-up desperation and aching sentiment mixed to fuzzy perfection. Another mention is “Someone’s Gonna Rescue You,” a wonderful piece of personal art from Young, with guitar licks that roll around like dramatic Cumulus clouds on a September day.

The best, however, is a bit of a break from the electric guitar elation. “Love and War,” strictly acoustic, but with the righteous anger of a philosopher, shines with a singer/songwriter glory.

The personal sociopolitical statement of “Le Noise” can remind one of Lou Reed’s “New York,” an examination of a world in disarray and a wiser and grizzlier man’s ruminations on it.

“Le Noise” may not reach the five-star creative apex of “Ohio” or the loud intensity of Young’s Crazy Horse days, but for some of us fans, it is a very nice artistic accomplishment. There is a return of faith, one that has certainly wavered since the ’80s.

Neil Young is not afraid to bare his soul here. All the imperfections and the right touches are revealed. As Young sums up “Love and War,” he pretty much sums up “Le Noise”: “I sang in anger, hit another bad chord, but I still try to sing about love and war …”


For related items that you may enjoy in our Goldmine store:
• Get the closest thing to the full Woodstock experience with the book “Woodstock Peace, Music & Memories.”
• Get the new John Lennon book: “John Lennon: Life is What Happens, Music, Memories & Memorabilia”
• Get the invaluable record collector’s resource: Goldmine® Record Album Price Guide, 6th Edition

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