In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I’m not sure if a single album has ever made do such a complete 180 on my view on a band or artist.”
I have always assumed I don’t like Crosby, Stills & Nash. I grew up in a time when there was nothing more lame or more sad than a hippy. They seemed like the worst part of the 60s. And even bands and musicians who thrived in that scene seemed more like the exceptions, not the rule. But I’ve recently realised that my dislike of this band was based on nothing but pure conjecture. And after finally listening to the band that contained two of the titular three, Buffalo Springfield, I realised that I may have been unfairly dismissive of Crosby, Stills & Nash all these years. Which is something I’m trying remedy by listening to their self titled release from the year of the hippy, 1969.
Opening with a seven minute epic is one way to scare me away from almost any album. But Suite: Judy Blue Eyes bounces along at such a cheery pace, that it never feels drawn out or indulgent. Then it’s all about soft, gentle harmonies, over slightly psychedelic (but never too over the top), floaty guitars, on Marrakesh Express and Guinevere.
When I wrote about Buffalo Springfield, I wrote about how much I liked their eclectic sound. It’s multiple song writers all brought something different to each and every track. Everything I like about Crosby, Stills & Nash is the exact opposite. These three dudes just seem like they’re in such perfect harmony. I mean that literally in the way they deliver the meticulous vocals, but also in the way the album feels overall. You Don’t Have to Cry and Pre-Road Downs are completely different in tempo and energy, yet they still sound the consistent work of one constant, combined artistic voice.
All is well, until Lady of the Island comes crashing in. The perfect example of everything I thought I hated about hippy culture, this song is just painful. It’s what I assume an iron deficiency would sound like if it could write a song. Luckily, the album redeems itself straight away with Helplessly Hoping. A finger picked acoustic guitar and air tight harmonies that are so impressive, even if I didn’t like the song, I’d have to respect it.
I’m not sure if a single album has ever made do such a complete 180 on my view on a band or artist. One of the main reasons I started this blog was to make myself listen to a wider range of music, more new stuff, and more classics. Well, that just paid off, possibly more than ever before, with Crosby, Stills & Nash. I don’t only want to hear more of this band, I want to hear more of the various configurations of these dudes over the years and their solo stuff.