MUSIC REVIEW | Neil Young – Harvest (1972)


I can’t deny that Neil Young is a legend. I also can’t deny that I’ve never really got it. Well, I do. I can see why others love him so much, I can appreciate everything he’s done. I just can’t make myself love it as much as I feel like I should. His high pitched, wavering voice on quieter songs generally just shits me. And I’m starting to think that the invention of the harmonica might be the worst thing that has ever happened to music. But if I’m gonna write about music, writing about Neil Young seems like something I’ll have to do sooner or later, whether I like it or not. So here it is, with Harvest.

If you hate the idea of 60s and 70s musicians with harmonicas and acoustic guitars, you’ll hate Out on the Weekend. If you love the idea of 60s and 70s musicians with harmonicas and acoustic guitars, what’s wrong with you? Out on the Weekend certainly is a 60s and 70s musician with a harmonica and acoustic guitars. Make of that what you will, but I’m sure that description will steer you in the right direction.

Replacing the harmonica with a piano and pedal steel guitar, the titular Harvest is a big enough improvement on Out on the Weekend to make me think there’s a chance that I may one day get Neil Young. There’s a nice country feel, but I think it’s also just more substantial in general, giving me more to latch on to.

When Heart of Gold popped up, I realised it might be the sole reason for my avoidance of Young for so many years. High, wavering voice? Yep. Harmonica? Yep. The general sound of an aging hippy? You better believe it. It might be a classic, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. The only thing I could imagine being worse, would be having to listen to Young’s Old Man or The Needle and the Damage Done… Oh crap, I just looked a few tracks ahead. This is gonna get rough.

Thank Christ that before that onslaught of boredom can come slowly smothering down on me like molasses, Harvest gives me Are You Ready for the Country. A delightful jaunt of piano and slide guitar that represents the most life I’ve ever heard from Young, sans electric guitar.

When There’s a World hit, I wondered what shitty stage musical it wasn’t good enough for. Bu the time it ended, I’m not sure I had the capacity to think of anything that snarky to finish this paragraph. That’s how much life and energy There’s a World sapped from me.

Alabama… Where have you been? Why would Harvest torture me with five or six snooze inducers, all but burring one or two good songs, before finally getting to something genuinely awesome? For shame Neil Young, for shame. Alabama should have opened this album. It would have created enough goodwill to get me through the rest, and still come away happy.

Look, I don’t like that Harvest inspired me to write such bitchy, sarcastic shit. I want to like, I really do. I want to feel the same way about Neil Young’s music that so many other people do. But I think he’s gonna end up in the same place for me as Lou Reid. It’s not them, it’s me.

Neil Young

6 thoughts on “MUSIC REVIEW | Neil Young – Harvest (1972)

  1. I love Neil but I have to agree with the review for this album. Give me Neil all day long in front of Crazy Horse but the folk leaves me feeling… nothing really. Perhaps B&D could visit the harder stuff?

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