Deep Dive: Neil Young + Crazy Horse, RE-AC-TOR
Today we celebrate the birthday of a rocker who’s always done it his way, no matter what the critics – let alone the fans – might have to say about it. We speak, of course, of Neil Young, and there are precious few musicians who’ve dabbled in as many styles and genres of music as this man, so we thought we’d spotlight one of his more experimental albums.
Recorded at Modern Recorders studio in Redwood City, California and produced variously by Young, Jerry Napier, Tim Mulligan, and David Briggs, RE-AC-TOR found Young dabbling in new wave for the first time, blending a Synclavier with the guitar-heavy sound that had been his signature throughout the ‘70s. There have been reports which suggest that Young’s focus was less on his music at the time as it was on his handicapped son, with the album being delivered as much to fulfill a contractual obligation as to make an artistic statement. That said, the music is still as fascinating as ever, even if the lyrics may not always be up to Young’s usual standards.
If you’ve never listened to RE-AC-TOR, you should at least give the closing track, “Shots,” a spin, as you’d be hard pressed to find any review of the album that doesn’t at least give credit to that song for being some top-shelf Neil. Otherwise, you should still check it out from start to finish, just to see how outside-the-box Young’s work was at the time.
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