In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s the kind of album where disliking a particular song was no big deal, because I knew whatever came next would be different enough to at least be interesting.”
I’ve always assumed that Crosby, Stills and Nash, as well as their output with the addition of Young, would be some tedious, hippy shit. I’m not sure why I think that, because I can’t name a single one of their songs off the top of my head. I also assumed the same presence of tedious hippy shit from Buffalo Springfield, the previous band of Stills, Crosby and Young. And this time, I did have at least one song the base that assumption on, the wet, painful For What It’s Worth.
Maybe it was a great song in the 60s, but in the decade since, it’s just been co-opted too many times by lazy movies and TV shows as a shorthand for the 60s. But the enduring legacy of the band, and its members, is too big to ignore. So I took a chance on Buffalo Springfield Again.
Immediately, Mr. Soul makes me feel better about taking that chance. Because Mr. Soul is a solid rock song. Louder guitars and more oomph than I ever would have expected from this band. And while it’s backed by up something a little more folkie in A Child’s Claim to Fame, it’s a version of folkie that is more lively and less nauseating than that genre description usually indicates.
When things get luscious, with the sting heavy and horn light Expecting to Fly, it’s the kind of thing that would sound tedious and painful if described to me, yet the real thing is kind of nice. It’s slow, buy measured. Floating, but still deliberate. Then the wailing guitar reappears for Bluebird, before it transforms into a great mix of that rockier guitar, with the more gentle, folkiness of the time. And the extended acoustic guitar solo that closes out the song (before a bizarre, but still entertaining banjo coda) really is something to behold.
Then there’s the soul of Good Time Boy. It sounds like it’s from a completely different album, or even a completely different band. But that doesn’t stop it from being a really cool song. It’s like Buffalo Springfield got obsessed with James Brown just long enough to write this one song, then got over it and moved on.
In a little over half an hour, Buffalo Springfield Again didn’t just defy my expectations of this band, it blew them out of the water. Not always necessarily because I liked everything they offered up, but because of the vast variety of what they offer up. I guess that’s the virtue of a band including several song writers, and that variation is what I liked most about Again. From the get go, it immediately felt like the kind of album where disliking a particular song was no big deal, because I knew whatever came next would be different enough to at least be interesting.