“Trifecta Tuesday” Where yours truly takes an album (a CD really) from his discography of over 200 and picks three essential tracks to take from that album.
Yes, I’m compelled to do this for a second consecutive week (I know, your socks are probably getting knocked off as well). NO SKIPPING WEEKS FOR THIS GUY! A couple days ago, fellow DUAN contributor “looschud” posted “After The Gold Rush” performed by Neil Young at his 1982 Berlin show. And thanks to him, I do own that CD, and that it is this weeks Trifecta Tuesday.
It’s 1970, and Neil Young and just finished off his tour with Crazy Horse, supporting the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. After The Gold Rush (ATGR) would be his second solo album. His first, the self titled Neil Young was mixed or poorly received, most of them notifying how a lot of the songs sounded a lot like Buffalo Springfield (Young’s prior band, who had disbanded not too long before). This release though, is not the case...
The title track...
FUN FACT: The title track was specifically written for a movie that ended up being scrapped. The title of that movie? After The Gold Rush. Anyways, this is my favorite song of the album. You hear Neil just barely getting to those high notes. I like to say that his voice is completely naked on this track, as in there are no backup vocals, no overdubs, and making it sound equally beautiful and depressing at the same time. The theme you hear at the beginning of each verse is related to past, present, and future. But listen and you hear he DREAMS just the past and future. He’s telling you what is occurring in the present. or what could possibly happen. “I was lying in a burned out basement, with the full moon in my eyes.../...When the sun burst through the sky” is mostly referencing to nuclear war. Still in the present “I was thinking about what a friend had said, I was hoping it was a lie” is a tough one, it could be about anything. What I like to think of it, is when Neil found out about the Kent State University shootings that happened earlier that year. Going back to the first and third verses, past and future. His view of medieval times (past) and the saving/rescue of mankind (future) are not real. While the present is very real indeed.
“Don’t Let It Bring You Down”
When he’s singing about a blind man, it’s not literally, but figuratively. FIRST SIGN OF A METAPHOR FOLKS. The first verse of the song is downright depressing. Just imagine yourself losing everything, or just something. Be it a death of a loved one, lost your job, divorce, house burns down, Vikings lost to the Packers. Second verse is more uplifting. “Blind man running through the light of the night, with an answer in his hand... Red lights flashing through the window in the rain... White cane lying in a gutter in the rain” You found the answer. Red lights flashing can be meant as a light bulb lighting up in your head. The blind man doesn’t need the cane anymore. He found something that uplifted him in a dark time. And if that second verse doesn’t quite seem as cheery as it should be, remember the chorus between the first and second verses and after the second verse. It not the end of the world. Just remember that you’re not alone, there is always someone who’s stuck in the same situation as yourself. Things will pick up again.
“When You Dance, I Can Really Love”
It’s a good jam, backing with Crazy Horse and an 18 year old Nils Lofgren on piano. You can lip-sync and play air guitar on this song if you actually wanted to.
All in all, After The Gold Rush is Neil Young’s best record he’s ever released.