Although Neil Young still has his voice (unlike some of his peers in their later work) and is highly emotive on his newest album, “Storytone,” I’m just not sure the writing is up to his previous standards.
The first track, “Plastic Flowers,” is really as good of a start as any. Much like other songs on the album, the solos ring out. The second track, “Who’s Gonna Stand Up?” is one of the album’s triumphs, even though the orchestra is a little too overbearing for my taste. However, on other parts of the album the orchestra does work. In particular, my heart was moved by the lushness of the orchestra sections on “Tumbleweed.”
For the most part, the rest of the album plays out not so well, which is painful to say given that it’s Neil Young. The solo blues songs along with their big band counterparts serve as odd additions. As for the solo tracks, his vocals remind me of the loose nature of “Tonight's The Night” (1975), while the big band songs remind me more of “This Note's For You” (1988).
For an album like “Storytone,” my love of Young transcends my disappointment. If I was not already a fan, this review could be one sentence, reading: "Why does Neil Young think that he should release an album based off some of the worst elements of his material?" So, borrow it from a friend. Or buy it for cheap. Find it and go through it. Then join me in waiting for good ol’ Neil to release his next project, a compilation of tracks from his classic period, “Archives Volume 2: 1972-1982.”