Song Of The Day 6/30/2016: Neil Young – “Violent Side”

I don't usually like to approach popular music from a standpoint of negativity because I'm such an incessant beacon of positive vibes and enjoy lacing dried flower petals together into a dimensionally faithful crucifix, but the other night I was thinking about Neil Young's Landing On Water album from 1986. For a while it was, even given the large size of Neil Young's catalog, considered his worst album. It still is a top, er, bottom contender for that title. Looking at various internet sites who enjoy ranking artists' catalogs from worst to first, I see Ultimate Classic Rock has it as his 4th worst album, Stereogum his 8th, Record Geek Heaven his 3rd and Nerve his 2nd. Even Young was loathe to defend Landing On Water, opining to a radio DJ in an interview, and I believe these are his exact words, "It's a piece of crap." Coincidentally, "Piece of Crap" was the name of one of the songs on his 1995 album Sleeps With Angels. Or maybe it wasn't coincidence, just a carefully executed wedge of meta, before meta was meta.

Okay, look. I'm not going to try and convince you Landing On Water is a very good album, but at least it's better than...

Okay, look. I'm not going to try and convince you Landing On Water is better than any other Neil Young record, but going back through what's left of my archives, I think it might have been the first solo Neil Young album I bought. I started in the middle, sue me. And at that point I had nothing to compare it to (that would change). I was already a fan of Steve Jordan, who's the drummer on Landing On Water. And I didn't realize Landing On Water was basically a band playing over some demos Neil didn't know what to do with, so the odds were stacked against it to begin with. But I liked Jordan's playing on it. I also liked songs like "Hippie Dream," which was how I wound up feeling about the Sixties for a long while, and today's song, which I thought nailed psychosis in a nice, concise manner, with the help of the San Francisco Boys' Chorus.

Ah, forget it. I'm gonna go rock out to Trans.

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