Neil Young, 'Le Noise' (Reprise)

8
Le Noise
Critical Mass
Release Date: September 28, 2010
Label: Reprise

by Sean Fennessey

"When will I learn how to give back?" Neil Young asks on "Rumblin'." It's the last song on this brief, solitary, claustrophobic album, and might seem like a strange moment of self-recrimination for such a storied artist. But Le Noise, produced by Daniel Lanois and recorded solo with a reverb-swathed electric guitar, is all about doubt and desperation, and Young is never better than when he's unsure of himself. On his best work since 2000's Silver & Gold, he still can be laughably earnest, but then, these gothic blues make creeping mortality a pressing concern, and that's no laughing matter.

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