“Second of two in a row from Neil Young’s endlessly rich early mid-70s phase, though the album in question, Zuma, is not considered part of the Ditch series. Hard to say why really as, to my ears, it seems rather in line with the previous three albums’ grief and brooding and overall shambolic beauty. In the case of Barstool Blues that means an anthem for all the times you’ve just got to sit at the bar all night and drink, reconciling all the stupid shit you’ve perpetrated, and how its fallout got you there, sitting, drinking, reconciling, moaning those barstool blues … maybe somewhere in the vicinity of Zuma Beach, a thick haze of L.A. smog reminding you that every breath you take is a tiny piece of your inevitable death, but in a good way.” (Philip Random)
“Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps was the final album of his best decade (1970s), the one where he acknowledged punk rock while reminding us that he and Crazy Horse had been making a proper garage racket long before the likes of the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones hit the scene. Not that Rust Never Sleeps is a punk rock album, just raw and loud, and that’s all reserved for Side Two which kicks off with the one of a kind epic Powderfinger. Epic, sorrowful, poetic — I always assumed it was about the American Civil War, a young kid left behind to defend the farm (or whatever), facing down an approaching enemy with no hope at all yet determined to pull the trigger anyway. But that’s just my read. Different from Neil’s, I’m sure. And everybody else’s for that matter.” (Philip Random)
“The title track of Neil Young’s sixth studio album is completely concerned with heroin and the damage done, souls consumed, lives ended way too soon. It says 1975 on the cover (and it was actually recorded a couple of years earlier) but I didn’t find it until at least ten years after the fact, yet grimly perfect timing nevertheless, such is junkiedom — it never goes out of style. Which isn’t to say Tonight’s the Night is all one sustained dirge – the album that is. But that said, it never forgets what it’s about, always more shadow than light, always more nasty than nice.” (Philip Random)
It’s 1975 and if you’re Neil Young, you’re hanging out in sunny California, feeling a decade older than you were three years ago, but at least the drugs are good, and sometimes the smog ain’t so bad, particularly when Crazy Horse drops by. Just plug in and play so loud it actually cuts through the haze, and mystical birds of great danger are seen soaring high, fierce and beautiful.
In which Neil Young gets deadly serious in the wake of various deaths in and around the band (Crazy Horse) and weighs in with a public service announcement on the topic of smoking a little marijuana and going for a long drive if the times get too troubling. Because there’s nothing like a rear view mirror to put things further behind you than they really are. Which is kind of the opposite of Roll Another Number, which was already two years old before anybody ever heard it, the album in question having been held back for being just too grim.
Mr. Neil Young and his horse friends at the very peak of their shambolic grandeur. We credit and/or blame the Bolivian marching power that was all the rage at the time if you were a certain class of rock star or movie director (or the kind of person that hung with them) way back when in that cultural depression between the death of the Elvis and the Sex Pistols and whatever the hell happened next. Some have argued nothing — the world ended and it’s all been a feedback loop every since.