ARTIST: Neil Young
TITLE: On the Beach
YEAR RELEASED: 1974
CHART ACTION: #16 US, #42 UK
SINGLES: Walk On (#61 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: For the Turnstiles
LINEUP: Neil Young, Ben Keith, Tim Drummond with cameos by Ralph Molina, Levon Helm, Rusty Kershaw, Graham Nash, Billy Talbot, David Crosby, George Whitsell, and Rick Danko
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Young’s first studio album since his commercial breakthrough is a despairing look at 1974 from several angles.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The year 1974 was a bleak one for those who had hoped the Sixties would bring change, and the tone and tenor of this Neil Young album fits in well with the national malaise.
With songs about energy companies, politics, fame, serial killers, and cynicism, this is not a sunshiny walk in the sand. There’s some harrowing imagery throughout the record, and the tone is rough and ragged, with the mix deliberately being a rough monitor mix instead of the full mix done by the engineers.
There’s some glimmer of hope, as “Walk On’ points to a way out of fog. It’s a fantastic record, and a bummer of a record.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Young and his guests consumed a marijuana and honey concoction during the recording sessions called Honey Slides.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: A: There’s hardly a mis-step (depending on how you feel about “Motion Pictures”), and it does take you back to a time where it seemed nothing was going to go right in the world.