Monday, April 02, 2007

246. Neil Young - Harvest (1972)

Track Listing

1. Out On The Weekend
2. Harvest
3. Man Needs A Maid
4. Heart Of Gold
5. Are You Ready For The Country
6. Old Man
7. There's A World
8. Alabama
9. Needle And The Damage Done
10. Words (Between The Lines Of Age)


It is very hard, if not impossible, for me to decide which is my favourite Neil Young album, but this one is definetly up there. Maybe it is because it was the Neil Young album I grew up with seeing as it was his most popular album and the one my father owned. I also know it is sometimes derided as an inferior album in the context of Young's production, but I really love it.

Some people claim that it is over produced in parts and that it is misogenistic, particularly Man Needs A Maid can be accused of both. Still I appreciate the ridiculousness of its orchestral arrangement and its portrayal of whay might seem like a small minded and trivial subject but which is one that very man who has lived alone can identify with. Is it misogenistic or is it a statement of man's lack of capability of living without a woman, man's uselessness really. The orchestral arrangement is actually propelling this simple statement to the level of grandeur that post-relationship depression gives to even the smallest of issues.

Few artists manage to be as deep and beautiful as Young and this album has all of that plus some really catchy songs. Heart of Gold was, of course, a huge hit but if you think of it as a progession from Man Needs A Maid it makes all the more sense. Needle and The Damage Done is another amazing gem of an anti-drug song sung by a man who has seen his bright friend fade away because of heroin... and some people said it glorified drug-taking.

Neil is an absolute genius, and the music here is as strong as ever, there is much less of a rock feel but the tunes played on the harmonica are some of the best use the instrument was ever put to. Just fucking sublime. Get it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Heart Of Gold
2. Needle And The Damage Done
3. Old Man
4. Alabama

Final Grade



n 1998 Q magazine readers voted Harvest the 64th greatest album of all time. In 1996, 2000 and 2005, Chart's polled readers to determine the 50 greatest Canadian albums of all time; Harvest placed second in all three polls (losing the top spot to Joni Mitchell's Blue in 2000, and to Sloan's Twice Removed in the other two polls). In 2003, Rolling Stone named Harvest the 78th greatest album of all time.

According to a Rolling Stone interview, Young had wanted the album sleeve to biodegrade after the shrink-wrap was broken, but was overruled by the record company on the basis of expense and the possible product loss due to shipping accidents.

Heart of Gold in 1971 before the album came out:

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