Neil Young – Storytone

neil young storytoneIn between ending his marriage, taking up with a new and younger woman and advocating a boycott of Starbucks Neil Young seems to still have the time and energy to make albums. All sarcasm aside, one of Canada’s premier musical treasures has decided to change things up for his latest, Storytone. While you cannot say that he has a beautiful or powerful voice, Neil Young’s vocal style suits what he does and fans have adored it for decades now. I also understand the desire to try new things as your career goes on. Pushing yourself or exploration are never a bad ideas. Sometimes your gamble pays off while others you realize quickly that it was not wise. Storytone falls into the latter category. Neil Young’s voice does not mesh with a full 92-piece orchestra and just moderately better in front of a jazz band. It leaves his voice up front and center and it does not suffer the exposure well. The lush arrangements do not envelope his voice rather they kind of hang him out to dry. At times they even verge on schmaltzy. You have to give props to an artist who does what he pleases and does not bow to record label or industry pressure. This is what makes him an artist – a true artist. I guess this means that even Picasso must have a couple of disasters of paintings hidden in the back of his closet. Neil Young goes with his gut and sometimes, very rarely, it leads him astray. There are some bright moments but they are too few and far between.

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