Holly Berman

Psychedelic Pill, Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s two-disc, second album of 2012, radiates nostalgia and a type of creative wisdom that only a 66-year-old Young could possibly put into music. Pill is the first original album from Young and Crazy Horse since Broken Arrow in ’96. The duo released Americana earlier this year, an album of American folk songs with a unique electric spin. This, however, was only a preview of Young’s look into the past.

This is the longest studio album Young has ever released, and the variety of extended jams is worth noting. “Ramada Inn” and “Walk Like a Giant” each exceed 15 minutes, while “Driftin’ Back” reaches nearly 28 minutes. The pure musical chemistry between Young and Crazy Horse makes this easy to listen to, as the jams seem to be in sync with the “psychedelic” aspect of the album. The trippy album artwork and a nod to the Dead in “Twisted Road” follow along with the theme.

The album largely reads like a flashback, and the past tense is key. You can hear Young’s nostalgia from songs like “Ramada Inn”, reminiscing about love, to “Born In Ontario” where he tells, “That’s where I learned most of what I know”.

“Twisted Road”, the first track of the second disc, feels lighthearted and almost simple as Young sings of some of his greatest musical influences. References to Bob Dylan felt particularly powerful: “First time I heard ‘Like a Rolling Stone‘ / I felt that magic and took it home.” Truly amazing to me is Young’s ability to fully capture the invincible and ultimately timeless feeling of youth in this track. It couldn’t be verbalized more perfectly than singing “let the good times roll”.

As a whole, Psychedelic Pill is satisfying and a must buy for any lover of classic rock. As this album was both lyrically as well as musically impressive, Neil Young and Crazy Horse never disappoint.