Review: Neil Young & Crazy Horse, ‘Americana’

Review: Neil Young & Crazy Horse, ‘Americana’: Aidin Vaziri | For their first album in nine years, Neil Young and Crazy Horse went back to their roots – all the way back. “Americana” is made up mostly of well-worn folk songs such as “Gallows Pole” and “This Land Is Your Land.” Only here, they don’t quite sound the way they did in preschool. The classic squall of guitars heralds the opening track, a gnarly, low-slung cover of “Oh Susanna” that finds Young biting off the verses in a voice that’s all vinegar and venom. Ignore the words and “Clementine” could be a guileless garage rocker, the production rude and the guitars loud. The group rarely treats these relics with reverence (its take on the Woody Guthrie classic being an exception), preferring instead to excavate the previously untapped grunge core of old campfire staples like “Jesus’ Chariot (She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain)” and “Wayfarin’ Stranger.” Yes, there are flashes of Jimmy Fallon’s late-night caricature of Young here and there, but when the group closes out the whole thing by tearing through the British national anthem, “God Save the Queen”? Well, that’s just punk.

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