Neil Young – On the Beach (1974) 11.8

Genre: Rock
Rating: 11.8

Track List:
1. “Walk On” 2:42
2. “See the Sky About to Rain” 5:02
3. “Revolution Blues” 4:03
4. “For the Turnstiles” 3:15
5. “Vampire Blues” 4:14
6. “On the Beach” 6:59
7. “Motion Pictures” 4:23
8. “Ambulance Blues” 8:56

In ‘Ambulance Blues’ Neil sings “So all you critics sit alone / You’re no better than me for what you’ve shown / With your stomach pump and your hook and ladder dreams / We could get together for some scenes“. Kinda takes the wind out of my sails, and at the same time it leaves me with just a shred of hope that one day old Neil and I could get together for a ‘scene’ or two; that would be fun.

I love this album. It’s one of my favourite Neil albums and it contains my favourite Neil song, ‘For the Turnstiles’. Overall the album is desolate and despairing and the production is rough and unprocessed; mixed together these elements create a beautiful cocktail. In fact, it sounds much like the cocktail of weed & honey that Neil and the band consumed throughout the sessions for ‘On the Beach’.

Favourite tracks: ‘Walk On’, the album’s opener, is a combination of Young’s cynicism with a contrasting hopeful perspective, the restless ‘Revolution Blues,’ inspired by Charles Manson, whom Young had met in his Topanga Canyon days, & ‘For the Turnstiles’, a caterwauling country-folk hybrid on the banjo.

Neil had originally wanted the album’s A & B sides to be reversed. He later stated that he had always regretted giving in last minute and switching the sides. Had his original vision of the album come true the track list would have looked like the following:

Track List:
Side A
1. “On the Beach” 6:59
2. “Motion Pictures” 4:23
3. “Ambulance Blues” 8:56

Side B
1. “Walk On” 2:42
2. “See the Sky About to Rain” 5:02
3. “Revolution Blues” 4:03
4. “For the Turnstiles” 3:15
5. “Vampire Blues” 4:14

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