(8/29/03) Greendale the album is now for sale at a store near you, with bonus DVD of Neil Young performing Greendale solo and acoustic live in Dublin, Ireland. Here is a review I posted on Classic Rock Forums for Greendale:
Now, I've long considered Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere to be the greatest Neil Young album, in fact it's got my favorite Neil Young songs and it was the album that got me into Neil Young! However, I can now say that Greendale is my favorite Neil Young album.
I saw it live. Neil Young & Crazy Horse toured North America with a crew of dancers and actors and stage props to present to the continent his story of Greendale! And it was excellent. The story itself is moving and politically and socially important, plus it has a lot of layers and characters you can really learn to care about. Greendale definitely is something you have to listen to more than once. Each time you hear it, you pick something new out of the story. And I consider myself extremely lucky to have seen Greendale performed live in front of me (and I had great seats too)!
This album is a must-have for Neil Young fans, at least. The music is catchy and rocking. It's not heavy jamming like Ragged Glory or electric Rust Never Sleeps, but the power of the album comes from the actual story. However, there is a good number of memorable riffs, tear-jerking melodies, and extended jamming that makes this a great Crazy Horse album. People who'll tell you it doesn't sound like Crazy Horse have a good point, because it's not mindless power-driven Crazy Horse like Ragged Glory, this is a more mature Crazy Horse, focused on the music and story more than the volume and the feedback. Look at it from that angle.
The album comes with a bonus DVD of one of Neil's solo acoustic performances of Greendale in Europe. This is an excellent addition to the album, not only because it's a great performance to watch and listen to, but also because it shows you another dimension of Greendale. Softer, acoustic numbers with extended story-telling by Neil in between songs. It's really personal, and I think that is very important because Greendale is a personal story that Neil Young wanted to communicate with the world, and that's the impression that the acoustic DVD gives off. The performance itself is very excellent, and the acoustic renditions of the songs are never less than beautiful. As I said, it lets you see Greendale from a new perspective which helps you to understand the dynamics of the story even better.
Greendale is not yet complete, however. I am anticipating two more pieces of the puzzle to come in the near future. One of them is the movie that Neil mentioned which I thought was gonna come with the album. It hasn't been released yet, but I am still looking forward to seeing it as soon as I can. The other piece would be a DVD of one of Neil's North American shows, complete with Crazy Horse and the full-scale Greendale production. I am not certain that there are any plans for such a DVD to be released, but I am hoping on it because that would be totally cool and add yet another dimension to Greendale, especially for those who were not fortunate enough to have the foresight to go and see Greendale live.
All in all, if you're a Neil Young fan, you have to own Greendale. I believe this is the biggest album Neil Young has ever released. Even bigger than Rust Never Sleeps, the tour for which produced the infamous DVD with crazy antics, giant harmonicas, and scampering road-eyes (roadies in jawa disguise). Greendale is bigger than most albums anybody has ever released, and I consider it to be a true rock opera, along the lines of The Wall and Tommy, not quite in rocking-ness, but in production and ambition and even more so in activism and awareness of society (which Neil Young covers so well).
I would even recommend Greendale to non-Neil Young fans. It's a story that anybody could connect with. And even the people who don't like to listen to rock n roll can watch the softer, acoustic DVD instead. Greendale is a must-have for any fan of music, stories, or important societal issues. My only question to you is, why do you not have Greendale by now?
(4/29/04) It is another important time for Greendale fans! Greendale: 2nd Edition is now available in stores.
Greendale: 2nd Edition
I've figured out why there has been so little talk about Greendale around, even on the RustList. It's no coincidence. Neil Young intends it to be a secretive matter, for his own reasons, I'm sure.
Think about it, the tour came up out of the blue, and we were lucky to have just happened to hear an inside tip so that we could keep our eyes open and get tickets early.
And then the album came out pretty abruptly, earlier than we expected, if I remember correctly. And it came with the bonus dvd of the acoustic show, which was a nice treat.
Word has gone around about the Greendale movie, and it's clear that the movie is finished and that certain people have seen parts or all of it, and yet it has not been released to the public just yet.
I heard a brief rumour many months ago that the movie would be released this spring, so I have been waiting patiently and expectantly. The movie is still not out yet, but all of a sudden this Greendale 2nd Edition comes out of nowhere.
If you haven't heard of Greendale 2nd Edition, let me describe to you what it is, since I found it by chance browsing through amazon.com earlier in the week, ordered it, and I just at this moment finished watching it.
Greendale 2nd Edition is exactly like the original release of Greendale except for a couple details. The art itself, although the same, has the colors inversed (you know, the tan/black theme), and it actually looks pretty cool sitting next to the original Greendale. The CD itself is just the original studio album just like the one that comes with the original release of Greendale. 2nd Edition also comes with a bonus DVD, but it's not the same DVD as the original Greendale release. This one is a Making of Greendale kind of documentary.
Not so much a documentary, but rather a splicing of scenes from the Greendale movie (offering us yet more of a look at what we are all waiting for, to whet our appetites even further), combined with footage of Neil Young and Crazy Horse in the studio recording the songs for the album, with some alternate takes from what's on the studio album.
In the end, you might complain that you're buying Greendale again just for the new DVD, but that's not the point. I think maybe Neil's idea is that Greendale fans will buy the 2nd Edition, keep the DVD, then pass on the extra copy of the album (a legal paid-for version with nice artwork) to a friend to get them hooked on Greendale. Maybe. In any case, I'm such a huge fan of Greendale, I'll buy it as many times as necessary just to have all the different versions, even if it's just a new album cover design or something small like that. Just to support Neil Young and let him know that there are enough fans dedicated to Greendale to convince him that releasing more new material from Greendale (namely, the movie and hopefully live footage from the electric US tour) is a very good idea.
Speaking of that, I'm still very hopeful that Neil will eventually release a live DVD from the electric US tour. That's what I want most. But I want the movie, too. I can't wait to get it and see it in full. Seeing a lot of it in this new DVD is great, but I want the actual movie, I want to see it all!!!
Oh, and a lot of questions about Greendale are answered in the movie, just by watching the scenes. Not all the questions, though. And some of the situations Neil described between songs on the acoustic DVD but that aren't in the actual lyrics to the songs (like Sun's little hay-bale design in the middle of the large hill), are depicted in the movie, which adds that element back into the story, making it feel even more complete and clearing up a little confusion about various details (like the scene of the FBI man putting a bag of pot in Sun's bedroom drawer - suddenly it all makes sense!).
In any case, if you're a fan of Greendale, then pick up the 2nd Edition. Don't even think about it, just pick it up. And if you're not a fan of Greendale yet, now is as good a time as any to give it a listen.
Neil Young is so awesome. And Greendale rocks.
Greendale: 2nd Edition