- 18 Nov 14
YOUNG’S ORCHESTRAL EXPERIMENT YIELDS MIXED RESULTS
The second album from Neil Young in the space of seven months, Storytone is very much the yin to A Letter Home’s yang. Whereas the latter was a collection of covers, birthed in a frills-free “vintage” recording booth owned by Jack White, his current offering features all original material, and was recorded with a 92-piece orchestra, choir and big band. The results are rather mixed, I have to say.
Let’s start with the positives. The pizzicato strings and xylophone-based ‘Tumbleweed’ is a sweet song that’s both endearing and entertaining; and ‘Who’s Gonna Stand Up’ is another strong political statement from Young. However, efforts like the exceedingly odd, swing number ‘Say Hello To Chicago’, and the lumpen ‘I Want To Drive My Car’, which boasts one of Young’s worst vocals ever, really let things down. The Bacharach-isms on ‘Plastic Flowers’ aren’t much better either and at times Storytone drifts into Disney soundtrack territory. Die-hard Neil Young fans will probably feel more engaged (especially as the superior deluxe edition also features versions of the songs performed solo), but this experiment can’t be deemed a great success.