Neil Young, Chrome Dreams II

No, you're not missing an entry in Shakey's discography. Chrome Dreams II is a sequel to a 1977 record that went unreleased after the notoriously quixotic Young pulled it. Unfortunately, although several numbers from those sessions ("Powder­finger," "Pocahontas," "Like a Hurricane") later became landmarks in Young's canon, this album is fairly subpar by any yardstick. It's an odds-'n'-sods collection of both new and vintage songs and recordings straddling different genres, including cloying country efforts ("Beautiful Bluebird") that sound like Silver and Gold cast-offs, and outright fluff ("The Believer"). CDII's "epic" tracks, the 18-plus-minute "Ordinary People" and slightly shorter "No Hidden Path," have drawn the most attention but yield mixed results. More solid tracks, of which there are a handful, include the skuzzy, Crazy Horse-like "Spirit Road," along with "Dirty Old Man" and surprisingly touching closer "The Way," where Young sings lyrics of hope in his most innocent voice, backed by a soaring children's choir. It's an offbeat but effective left turn for Young, the epitome of a Muse Follower. However, all things considered, he probably should have followed his muse into better musical real estate.


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