Neil Young: Greendale

By James Calemine

Greendale proves a vital release in Neil Young’s prestigious discography. A conceptual album, Greendale tells the story of the Green family living in a small fictional California town.

The music on Greendale, supported by Young’s longtime band Crazy Horse, conjures a sludgy-electric blues sound. Each of ten songs serves as another chapter in the musical novel that ends 78-minutes later.

From the opening riff on “Falling From Above”, Young begins the story of the Green family and how their life represents every hardworking American family struggling against the aggressive media, corporate monopolies and infringement on personal freedom.

“Double E” paints the story of the town where Edith and Earl Green live with their 18-year old daughter, Sun Green. The number “Devil’s Sidewalk” portrays Satan living in the Greendale jail,and soon he makes an appearance.

“Leave The Driving To Us”, perhaps the best composition on the album, relays the story of how Cousin Jed shoots a police officer. “Bandit”, an acoustic tune, deals with Earl Green, a psychedelic painter from the late 60s trying to make ends meet. Once the Devil appears, Earl discovers he’s able to sell his paintings.

The final song on Greendale, “Be The Rain”, finds Sun Green leaving for Alaska behind the environmentalist chant, “Save the planet for another day/dream the farmer in the old heartland/Corporate greed and chemicals are killing the land.”

Visit Greendale. It’s worth the trip…

Read about Neil Youngs fascination with electricity, trains, cars, songs and guitars in Insured Beyond The Grave Vol. 2.

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