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On the Beach (Remastered)

Neil Young

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Album Review

Following the 1973 Time Fades Away tour, Neil Young wrote and recorded an Irish wake of a record called Tonight's the Night and went on the road drunkenly playing its songs to uncomprehending listeners and hostile reviewers. Reprise rejected the record, and Young went right back and made On the Beach, which shares some of the ragged style of its two predecessors. But where Time was embattled and Tonight mournful, On the Beach was savage and, ultimately, triumphant. "I'm a vampire, babe," Young sang, and he proceeded to take bites out of various subjects: threatening the lives of the stars who lived in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon ("Revolution Blues"); answering back to Lynyrd Skynyrd, whose "Sweet Home Alabama" had taken him to task for his criticisms of the South in "Southern Man" and "Alabama" ("Walk On"); and rejecting the critics ("Ambulance Blues"). But the barbs were mixed with humor and even affection, as Young seemed to be emerging from the grief and self-abuse that had plagued him for two years. But the album was so spare and under-produced, its lyrics so harrowing, that it was easy to miss Young's conclusion: he was saying goodbye to despair, not being overwhelmed by it.

Customer Reviews

Gentle, beautiful tunes, emotional lyrics.

As someone new to Neil Young I had heard that this album was NY at his most depressive and depressing, not so IMHO. It's gentle and by no means happy but I don't find it mood-lowering. There are some brilliant melodies here, coupled with lyrics that are very moving especially if you know his biographical background for this period. "See the Sky About To Rain" is now one of my favourite NY songs and along with "Ambulance Blues" make this an album well worth adding to your collection.

Neil Young's masterpiece

As already stated, this is the one for real aficionados. It creeps up on you but once it gets you, it never lets go. There's something restrained in the way this album is put together and yet the effect is devastating. The way he transforms his sound from track to track on this record is amazing - just listen to the first four songs. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Neil Young's finest hour, without question.

Shakey in top form

This album, not "Harvest" or "Tonight's The Night", is for me Neil Young's finest. It's a "goodbye & good riddance" to the 60s hippy dream. There is bitterness in Shakey's words but the songs are just magnificent. "Revolution Blues" is the album's peak, a bruising portrait of Manson's LA. If you like Neil Young this is essential.


Born: 12 November 1945 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

After Neil Young left the California folk-rock band Buffalo Springfield in 1968, he slowly established himself as one of the most influential and idiosyncratic singer/songwriters of his generation. Young's body of work ranks second only to Bob Dylan in terms of depth, and he was able to sustain his critical reputation, as well as record sales, for a longer period of time than Dylan, partially because of his willfully perverse work ethic. From the beginning of his solo career in the late '60s through...
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