Neil Young: After the Gold Rush review: 50-year-old treasure still shines

Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 06:00


After the Gold Rush 50th Anniversary Edition

Neil Young

Reprise Records

Singer / Songwriter

We are unsure what to applaud here – the fact that Neil Young has lasted the course without too much (obvious) wear and tear or that, as with many other classic albums, we are familiar with every track. It isn’t often that an album from start to finish make itself known to the population at large but – similar to, for example, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours – After the Gold Rush has seeped into our collective consciousness, song by song.

The key, of course, is simplicity. The likes of Tell Me Why, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Oh, Lonesome Me, Birds, I Believe in You and the title track set a template in the same way that Young’s fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell established with her albums from 1968 to 1974: infectious, intelligent folk-pop perfect for any time of day and night radio play. The difference, of course, is that Young subsequently took a decidedly different route to creative fulfilment.

Neil Young: Wonderin' (previously unreleased)

With the exception of 1972’s Harvest (which yielded his sole number one song, Heart of Gold), Young would never get so close to the mainstream again. His famous quote about preferring to walk in the ditches than in the middle of the road marked him out as the maverick we know today. For a while, however, he was in everyone’s head. With songs as good as the ones we have here, that was no bad thing.