so i headed for the ditch

Posted: August 17th, 2016 | No Comments »

tonight's the night / neil young

while working at cobra rock, been playing a lot of neil young records (streaming on youtube in full) (god bless youtube). while catching up at mark richardson, ran across this article about young’s album, tonight’s the night, which i wasn’t familiar with:

While he always excelled at this style, Young’s approach to songwriting was about to shift drastically. “‘Heart of Gold’ put me in the middle of the road,” he famously wrote of Harvest’s big single in the liner notes to his 1977 collection Decade, perhaps thinking of his album in the bins next to those by massive sellers by Cat Stevens and Carole King. “Traveling there soon became a bore, so I headed for the ditch.” Tonight’s the Night, a noisy, harrowing scrape along the guardrail that sends sparks flying upward, was Young’s most moving dispatch from his chosen place.


But in the end, Tonight’s the Night is really a record about life. Like a drunk at the end of a long night or a boxer barely on their feet, the record staggers, stumbles, and lunges forward; it’s prevailing mode is “unsteady.” Nothing lands where it should, and it feels like it could collapse at any moment. But while a lurching gait can be a marker of damage or dysfunction, it can also be a sign of defiance. Because some force, whether it’s from outside or it’s something you bring on yourself, is trying to cripple you. But guess what: you’re still standing.

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