Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Landing on Water

Landing on Water - Neil Young 1986
Why review this album? We've already done two Neil Young albums (Trans, Le Noise) and the idea that we'll be reviewing all Young's albums should immediately be stricken! The main reason to review "Landing on Water" is because so many people pass off Young's music from the 80s as terrible, and a divergence from what he did best in the decades before and after.  The album is 80s, experimental, and extremely listenable. In fact... it's fun, which is something special when you're singing about the weighty things that Young does (homelessness, war, the death of hippie-dom, poverty). It's really something that he manages to get quirky pop music with serious messages to meld into something more than just absolute cheese. Yes, there is some cheese here, but it's the good kind, think Wisconsin Cheddar. It works in his favor, the fact that he can play in these oddball pop landscapes without getting absolutely ruined by them. It's pretty incredible. This particular album has all sorts of typical 80's cheese moments: crummy synths, sing along choirs, slick production, etc. What is missing that you would normally experience in the typical pop crap of the age? Well, for starters the songs don't make me want to hurl. Young sings genuine themes in a passionate way without preaching. The total lack of filler is nice. What's cool as well is that the cover of the album is somewhat avant garde, instead of some airbrushed glamour shot.
Catchy tracks of the album: "People on the Street" and "Touch the Night"
Noteworthy good tracks on the album: "Hippie Dream" and "Bad News Beat"
Bonus Points: "Drifters" has kazoo-ish type noises that overlay the synth rifts.
Sidenote: This album was unpriced at CD Game Exchange, but had a previous pricetag from another store for $1.99 on it. When going to pay, the cashier didn't know what to charge and called over another employee for consultation, who in turn, reasoned "Well, its a Neil Young album, so its at least $5". Needless to say, I got it for the price I wanted, but ohhhh the reasoning!

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