http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/f9f894494520dfa8a02d2d24d66062b1da2df89c.jpg Americana

Neil Young and Crazy Horse


Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
June 5, 2012

It's been too long since Neil Young has gathered his grizzled cronies in Crazy Horse for one of their fraternal freak-guitar slopfests. Americana is the first full-on Horse album since the underrated 1996 gem, Broken Arrow. Nobody skewers expectations like Young, so there’s a catch: Americana has no Neil Young songs, just folk standards like "Oh Susannah" and "Clementine." No clever curation or Harry Smith-style crate-digging; as Young says, "They’re songs we all know from kindergarten."

There's an undeniable WTF factor in hearing these Cub Scout singalong ditties drowned in guitar feedback and off-key yelling. But that's the goofball charm. The Horse beat up on "She'll Be Coming ’Round the Mountain" (here titled "Jesus' Chariot") as if it's "Like a Hurricane." True, the doo-wop classic "Get a Job" is beyond their chops, and "This Land Is Your Land" gets spoiled with a kiddie choir. But they make the murder ballad "Tom Dula" roar like a lost cousin of "Powderfinger," and Young sings "Wayfarin' Stranger" with a surprisingly vulnerable high-lonesome twang. Now that he and the Horse are as far removed from Ragged Glory as Ragged Glory was from "Mr. Soul," he’s got the right to sound weary.

Listen to 'Americana':

Album Premiere: Neil Young and Crazy Horse's 'Americana'

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Santa Monica”

    Everclear | 1996

    After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

    More Song Stories entries »