Not shore about this one
On the Beach is the fifth studio album by Canadian-American musician Neil Young, released by Reprise Records in July 1974. The album is the second of the so-called "Ditch Trilogy" of albums that Young recorded following the major success of 1972's Harvest, whereupon the scope of his success and acclaim became apparent; Young subsequently experienced alienation, and On the Beach was inspired by his feelings of retreat and melancholy stemming from it. On the Beach is a folk rock album exploring themes of anger, alienation, nihilism and cautious optimism. Looking back on the album for the liner notes to the Decade box set, Young wrote that the experience of releasing Harvest, which inspired the despaired themes of On the Beach, "put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore, so I headed for the ditch. A rougher ride but I saw more interesting people there." As well as its release on vinyl, On the Beach was also released on cassette and 8-track cartridge, though the track listing for the latter formats was the reverse of that on the vinyl album. It remained unavailable on CD until 2003, when a remastered version was finally released. It has since been re-released as Disc 2 of the 4-CD box set Neil Young Original Release Series Discs 5-8. The album is also available in high-resolution audio on the Neil Young Archives website, where four additional album outtakes were added in February 2021.
Not shore about this one
I don't know what it is about Neil Young - his songs are not that complicated, the playing is not that flashy, his voice wavers and is almost whiny...but somehow it works. This album is captivating and every track is fantastic. I never heard any of these songs or this album before today, but every song pulled me in. Walk On was a good basic intro, but the Sky About to Rain was the first song to "hit me" - I really liked the Wurlitzer on that track. Revolution Blues had a good, driving theme. I even liked the banjo in For the Turnstiles. Vampire Blues was a very cool track and it was about this point that I said to myself "This is an excellent album"...then I got to On the Beach. It really amazes me how Neil Young can write such a straightforward song yet it carries such powerful emotion. Part of it is clearly his lyrics and vocal style, which is so raw, but it amazes me how much this song pulled me in. Motion Pictures (for Carrie) was another straightforward but captivating song. Finally, I found myself lost in Ambulance Blues. When it was over, I just felt the need to sit in silence. Wow, what a great album.
10 Albums You Actually Need to Hear Before You Die Chapter 2: Neil Young - “On the Beach” Getting this record recommend to me and being able to push a button and listen to it is nothing short of a miracle in my mind. I was a Neil Young fan for over a decade before I was even able to listen to this record. It was so out of print from the mid 80’s until the early aughts that unless you could find a vinyl copy or a bootleg cd recorded from vinyl, you were out of luck. On the Beach, at that point, had obtained a mythical status, “the greatest Neil Young album”, a “lost masterpiece”. When it was first released on CD in 2003, and I finally got to hear it, it lived up to the hype and then some. It is easily my favorite Neil Young record, a definite candidate for his best album and one of the five best records of the 1970’s. Every song on “On the Beach” is a Neil Young classic. “Walk On” kicks things off with an upbeat (by comparison to the rest of the record) southern rock feeling. The stunning, Wurlitzer driven second track, “See the Sky About to Rain” is one of Young’s most beautiful tunes, a mournful yet psychedelic exercise. Aided by Honey Slides, an edible, highly potent, marijuana/honey amalgamation created by Neil and his band, Neil turns in one of the greatest psychedelic songs in his entire catalog on “See the Sky about to Rain”. Rick Danko and Levon Helm of The Band (along with more honey slides) provide a thundering rhythm section on “Revolution Blues”, a noisy rock stomper about the Manson murders. “Well, I hear that Laurel Canyon is full of famous stars, but I hate them worse than lepers and I’ll kill them in their cars,” Young sings before launching into the second of two blistering guitar solos in the song. Young is at his most aggressive, maybe ever, on Revolution Blues. It’s a track that seethes with white-hot hostility. Even if David Crosby guests on rhythm guitar, Revolution Blues couldn’t be further from the pacifist hippy mentality that CSNY, Young’s side hustle, would typically traffic in. Revolution Blues is a goddamn masterpiece and what I wouldn’t give for a full album the band that recorded it: Young on Lead guitar and vocals, David Crosby on rhythm guitar, Ben Kieth on Wurlitzer, Danko on Bass and Levon on drums…now *that’s* a supergroup. We’ll call them Neil Young and the Honey Slides. I fucking love that song. “For the Turnstiles”, a plucky banjo and dobro duet between Young and Ben Keith, calms the storm a bit, if only temporarily, as “Vampire Blues” (the only one of three songs with “Blues” in the title that actually resembles the blues) lumbers in. It’s a disillusioned meditation on the state of the world in in 1974: a dire warning about our reliance on fossil fuels spurred on by the gas crisis and poor economy…”Good times are coming, but they’re sure coming slow” - if you can’t relate to that in 2023, it’s time to pull your head out of the sand. Neil Young’s world was falling apart in 1973-74, with friends dying of heroin overdoses, a relationship on the rocks and he could see the end coming. “The world is turning, I hope it doesn’t turn away,” he sings on the title track, a slow burning, introspective rumination on fame and his current state of affairs. “Motion Pictures” mines similar territory: Young’s disenchantment with fame and (possibly) his relationship with actress Carrie Snodgress. Sometimes it’s all futile, you can try your best to stop the world from turning, but you just can’t stop the tide: “…there ain’t nothing like a friend who can tell you you’re just pissing in the wind”. We all need that friend who can tell us when we’re wasting our time and energy, and here, on “Ambulance Blues”, Neil Young seems to be acting as that friend not only to himself, but also to the listener. “On the Beach” is the highest of several high watermarks in Young’s impressive 1970’s output: a raw, introspective and often bleak record; a record that is completely authentic and doesn’t hold anything back. It’s a masterpiece from start to finish and is unequivocally my favorite album of all time. If it’s not yours, that’s cool…but it really should be. [Postscript: I just finished watching the season finale of Poker Face, the excellent Natasha Lyonne whodunnit, and what song played at the end of the episode? “Walk On”. The matrix is real, everything is connected, we live in a simulation…What are the odds of that? I spend all day listening to and reviewing On the Beach and the only television show I tune into today ends with an song from On the Beach? Are you fucking kidding me? Holy fuck, unbelievable. Look at the date stamp on my review, then Google the airdate for S1E10 of Poker Face…I’m going to start a religion, The Church of the Honey Slides. We meet on Sundays, imbibe of the holy honey slides and crank Time Fades Away, On the Beach, Tonight’s the Night and Zuma. Long Live Neil Young.]
I’m so glad Neil Young isn’t on Spotify because this is now the fourth Neil Young album that this list has generated for me and I do not want him showing up in my Spotify Wrapped as my most listened to artist of the year because he’s trash and I think the only reason that four of his albums could possibly be on this list is simply that the creator of 1001 Albums has a huge crush on him. Should I be expecting more Neil Young in the future? If so, I’m going to need at least 3-5 days notice to prepare my ear holes.
I loved it! A pleasant surprise
Following the commercial success of his most accessible album (Harvest), Neil Young stated that he felt like he was in the "middle of the road" and wanted to head toward "the ditch." This album is his first step in that direction, and it's a good one. There are some really clever musical moves (listen to Revolution Blues and On the Beach back to back for an example) and some very dark, instrospective lyrics. This album doesn't contain any of my favorite NY tracks, but it might be my favorite of his anyway. Best track: Walk On
I wanted to like this. Opened well, but 'For the Turnstiles' broke me, awful voice. I really don't know what I would have listened to in the late 60's/early 70's. All this country tinged folk with horrible singers.
He really is one of the best. Something so mysterious and unconventional about his voice - seems like it should be grating and annoying but it never is. Vampire Blues is such an excellent song.
Starts with one of my all time favorites and somehow gets better. Neil Young is one of my all time favorites and this album is exactly why. I love the soft twang and the modulating energy and mood of this album in particular. Light, sunny, and fluffy songs like For the Turnstiles into the haunt of On the Beach. Good stuff.
Love this Album. What a journey. Walk On is the perfect starter and so many gems in here (Rev Blues, For the Turnstiles, Vampire Blues, On The Beach). As an album though, it's pretty bloody close to perfection. Those strings on Ambulance Blues! So beautiful and a great finisher to an incredible album.
The best sort of "lost classic", i.e. the one that actually lives up to the legend. Fantastic stuff. Neil keeping it off the market for so long only demonstrates how much of a dick he can be as a person whatever his musical gifts.
This album wasn't widely available until right about the time when I left Lawrence for Providence and I remember it had a certain mystique amongst my friends because of this. We must have been listening to vinyl rips from napster or kazaa or something. I remember my friend's band Ghosty even did a cover of Vampire Blues at a show once that was pretty fun. Production is definitely not smooth but not necessarily lo-fi. I find it very approachable, vulnerable even. I feel like it loses steam a little on the second half, especially with the last track, but all still prime Neil. Great album cover too.
It's a tough thing to have a world view and to weave that into music in a way that doesn't feel heavy handed or is off putting. I think Neil Young does that well. I can't say I'm a big fan of his music, or this album, but I appreciate his willingness to take a stand, given it can easily up-end his career. Even to this day, with his most recent stance to pull his music from Spotify in response to their support of podcasts that give a platform to disseminating misinformation, Neil is demonstrating that there is value in, and values around, his artform that he is willing to defend. That principle of integrity and willingness to take a stand, is something we all need to hear. For that, I think this album is worthy of being on the list, if for nothing else than the reminder it provides. Music is far more than just audio decoration, filling in the background of our lives.
On the Beach by Neil Young (1974) I’ve always been a fan of Neil Young, but I’ve never heard this album, which is shame, because it’s really good, if understandably unpopular. This is music that would have helped at times when tough decisions had to be made. Young does despair with panache, and causes the listener to take a deep breath, turn in the right direction and “Walk On”. The hope is but implicit (except the last line of this otherwise unpolitical record—take that, Nixon! [The headline on the 3/20/74 newspaper in the cover photo reads: “Sen. Buckley Calls On Nixon To Resign”. Three weeks after the release of this album, he did]). The Wurlitzer electric piano with its sometimes weirdly exaggerated tremolo spoils the dreary mood on several of these tracks (2, 3, 6). But the mournful slide guitar (Ben Keith) and Young’s uniquely forlorn voice fittingly provide the dark atmosphere for these compositions. Young explores the lower end of his vocal range on “On the Beach”, “Motion Pictures”, and “Ambulance Blues”. For those of you who don’t like his singing, you should listen to these three tracks before writing him off. This is music for a cold, blustery autumn day, when you’d like some good news, but there probably ain’t any. 3/5
I already know this is gonna be a 3. I don't think it's gonna be something I'll remember, but the instrumentals will be solid and I'm not a flagrant hater of Neil Young's voice like some people (it's max brodsky, the people I am talking about is actually one man and that man is max brodsky, he currently resides on cranberry lane and has somehow roped 3-4 individuals into a 3 year commitment of album listening and we can't escape, if you're reading this, send help. The 3-4 of us have become appreciators of each others' wit and music taste but we can't escape, we can never escape, oh god he's coming, I can already see the texts I'll receive, oh god what have I done. Have mercy on my soul.) it was a 3 I was right (I enjoy being a part of this album review process and was not forced to say this at gunpoint while my future wife is being made to watch a neil young biopic)
This fucker wants his music off Spotify and now I have to jump through hoops to try and find his old ass album? No thanks. Just like people who complain about piracy, if you make it difficult for people to find your content, they either won't or they will pirate. I can't even be bothered to pirate this guy. I don't pay for all these music services so you get a 1-star for being a tool.
I recognised the first track from the days of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant on XFM. I know Harvest and After the Gold Rush well, but no other Neil Young albums so this was a treat to listen to. It feels more Country and more spiky, less lush or gentle than those albums.
4.5 | Por muchos años para mí Neil Young no era más que Keep on Rocking in the Free World. Alguien que podía intercambiar con Lynyrd Skynyrd o los Eagles; es básicamente lo mismo no? Hace unos 4 años mas menos descubrí que estaba muy equivocado. Su rango musical es super amplio y su ingenio para escribir letras es espectacular. Nunca había escuchado este disco, había escuchado Tonight's the Night que me había encantado y se me había hecho uno de los discos más lúgubres y pesimistas que conozco; leí que este hace una trilogía con ese disco y con otro llamado Time Fades Away (que terminé escuchando también ayer y hoy). ESTE es el disco más pesimista y oscuro. Me fascinó. Todas las canciones son un hoyo de miseria explorando todas las desgracias y desilusiones que tenía en ese momento, nadie se escapa Nixon (''Ambulance Blues''), las corporaciones ("Vampire Blues''), Manson y toda el desencanto con la contracultura de los 60s en la Costa Oeste (''Revolution Blues''), su esposa (''Motion Pictures''). Podría incluso llegar a ser un disco pesado para algunos, demasiado depresivo, pero para mí el sonido crudo, la banda que casi se puede sentir tensa y cansada, todo refleja de manera perfecta la manera de abordar temas que no se pueden tratar de manera amable. En cada canción expresa emoción y empatía tanto ante las victimas como los victimarios. La última canción que va de lo acústico a lo eléctrico ofreciendo una letra tan llana como “All my pictures are falling from the wall where I placed them yesterday / The world is turning / I hope it don’t turn away” es simplemente genial. Gran gran descubrimiento y me recordó de nuevo lo que pensé hace unos años... Tengo que escuchar más Neil Young.
Love this album
yes yes yes love this
Great album, up there competing to be his best for me.
A fine album. One of my favourites by NY.
Este me ha gustado mucho - a NY sí lo conocía pero no creo que hubiera escuchado un álbum entero
Sotto il sole la pelle brucc
(Listened to before) A beautiful album with some of my favorites from growing up. A testament to masterful songwriting. Favorite Tracks: See the Sky About to Rain, On the Beach Least Favorite Tracks: None (Maybe For the Turnstiles; depends on my mood)
A really great mix of styles and just top-notch songwriting
7/8 songs saved. One of Neil's best
groovy! 'vampire blues' iconic 'on the beach' is v pretty pretty on the whole actually, i am really enjoying! second track sounds like 'sexy sadie' / karma police lol
It’s all the Neil you’ll ever need to know.
I actually really quite liked this. Laid back but interesting guitar rock. 4
I’ve got say, I really love this album. It’s fast becoming one of my favorite works by Young and one that I can see myself coming back to frequently. It’s really quite an eye opening view into Young’s own sense of alienation and his discomfort with fame. Musically, it’s prime Neil Young, but he’s also obviously struggling with being boxed into our idea of “Neil Young” and considering how he can break free from it. It’s no coincidence that he slips in “Revolution Blues,” a song about Charles Manson, after the Harvest-era “See the Sky About to Rain.” There’s real anger lurking on the edges of Young’s ennui and he’s still deciding what to do about it. Favorite songs: "Motion Pictures" and "On the Beach."
Loved it! Nice and short and classically Neil Young. I've only really ever listened to Harvest and Mirrorball so it was great to have another little piece of Neil Young history to add to the rotation.
Great great album. 2nd best after After The Goldrush and man it's close. 5 🌟
This has been one of my favorite Neil Young albums for a while now. Every time I listen to it I can't believe that it was out of print for nearly 2 decades. Walk On sets the tone for the rest of the album. Even though it's really the only upbeat sounding track here, the song is a criticism of the southerners that still refused to embrace or even acknowledge the civil rights era. See the Sky About to Rain seems to explore fate and the possibility of difficult times ahead. Revolution Blues is a song about the Manson family and the militant beat of the track kind of drives that point home. For the turnstiles uses the metaphor of baseball to convey the message that fame has a high price. I always felt this was in response to the overwhelming success of Neil's last couple of albums as well as the success of Deja Vu. Vampire Blues sounds like it's about the oil industry, with the line "I'm a vampire babe, suckin' blood from the Earth". Side two has a very introspective vibe on all of the tracks. On the Beach is another track about fame. This time it's from a much more personal perspective than For the Turnstiles. Motion Pictures has that line in it: "Well, all those headlines, they just bore me now I'm deep inside myself, but I'll get out somehow". Both tracks seem to indicate that fame doesn't make a person happy, but it can have the opposite effect. The last track, Ambulance Blues, seems to be a trip down memory lane for Neil. Perhaps this is taking him to simpler times before he started to get famous and living there is how he coped with it. All in all, the personal nature of this album is what makes it one of my favorites by him.
Always been a big fan of Neil Young. This has a lot of great works on it. "For The Turnstiles" is always a good piece for me. Not a real clunker for me, although Vampire Blues" does drag on a bit. Still, great album from him, top-notch.
Received another country like album on here, damn.... Neil Young though, he is gold! His song writing is brilliant and catchy. Instrumentals are kept simple although they prove effective to getting the tone across perfectly. Mostly a few guitars, bass and drums. "On The Beach" throws you into a fantasy onto a peaceful shore. As Young calmly sings you a story. Defiently reccomend
Beautiful and haunting. The music is up there with anything he's done, but lyrics really hit me. So sad and bitter. The man really needed a hug.
Elite album. A late-night affair. It gradually descends into darkness. But darkness by Neil standards is not hopelessness because Neil is always defiant even in his bleakest moments. Even as the guitars grow quieter throughout the song and the mood turns more somber, Neil never waivers and ultimately tells of his critics and tells the rest of us that he won’t be denied.
one of the most relaxing albums i’ve ever listened
Great one by Neil
I get that Neil Young is an acquired taste, but I acquired that taste quite a while ago, and this is one of the albums that was involved. His cracked forlorn voice perfectly suits the melancholy atmosphere of this album... Fave track - "For The Turnstiles" has historically been my favourite, but "Walk On", "Revolution Blues", "On the Beach" and "Ambulance Blues" are all stand outs too...
Neil said 😤
I had never heard any of these tracks and I loved the album. Reminds me of when I discovered 'Tonights the Night' and was blown away by Neil. One of my favorite all time artists and lyricists.
Like the Beatles, I don't think I can pick an absolute favorite Neil Young record. It would be between this one, "Harvest," and "Zuma" probably. This record is paced in a really interesting way. The first side is more-or-less the Neil Young we had come to love to-date. The second half is just pure studio stonery. And I like it all. Apparently Young and his band were ingesting the early 70s equivalent of weed gummies (called honey sliders) when they made this record. That may have contributed to the laid back and loose feel of the B-side. All good. It was a proud parenting moment for me when I heard Walden once a couple years ago in his room singing to himself "I'm a vampire, baby. Sucking blood from the earth."
Great album. Beautiful blues-rock sound with some clever lyrics.
Neil does a fantastic job conveying the moods he feels on the songs on this record. This record feels sad, drained, and worn down, all while being a wonderfully cohesive set of songs. Favorite tracks: "On the Beach", "Vampire Blues", "Revolution Blues"
I've only heard this one once or twice before, and didn't know any of the tracks well enough to sing along, but it's solid. 4.5, rounded up
Such an overlooked album by Neil, I might not have liked as much the first time I heard but over the years I've discovered I absolutely love this album. However I'm still surprised to see it on the list, must be a lot of Neil on this list.
I've had a beach visit that felt like this album. Apt name, incredible record.
Another excellent one from Neil Young. Great mood, even better lyrics.
Love me some Neil, but not on Spotify anymore! Good album, Neil's in his Rock mode here and not as folksy, revolution blues has a nice growl in his voice that I feel he doesn't use enough. Good album, liked the attitude he was giving off throughout and lots of new songs that I hadn't heard and would have added to the playlist if I could have.
Neil Young a cette incroyable capacité de transmettre la vérité dans chacun de ses mots, chacun de ses accords de guitare. Ce type possède une sensibilité hors norme. J'ai dû écouter l'album trois fois dans la journée, notamment pour apprendre à en jouer les chansons.
A champion even outside the main stage. 5 stars all over.
This album reminds me of one of those Stones albums from around the same time that had one or maybe two radio hits and then the band filled the rest of the LP with country or blues. Here, "Walk On" was the hit, sounding very 1974 (meaning the characters were recovering from a post-sixties hangover), and the rest of the album has a nice bluesy feel. I especially like "For the Turnstiles" and the title track. Also the fiddle and harmonica interplay on "Ambulance Blues" is great and makes its length more palatable. Great cover.
Kolejny z Youngowych klasycznych albumow, drugi z ditchowej trylogii On The Beach z 74, ditchowanie odnosi sie do okresu mainstreamowego sukcesu Harvesta, ktorego nastepstwem stala sie slawa pieniadze i popularnosc, a kazdy medal ma swoje dwie strony, wiec w tym przypadku motywami przewodnimi beda wyalienowanie z starego srodowiska, niepewnosc relacji miedzyludzkich, popadanie w nihilizm czy gniew, a to wszystko spisane na 8 trakach i 40 minutach, tym razem w spokojniejszym akompaniamencie, bo gatunkowo jest to folkowe rokowanie w ktorym mozna wylapac smaczki bluesowe, czy moementy ktore bardziej przypominaja instrumentalnie muzyke country, gdzie lwia czesc instrumentali gra sam Young, bo nie tylko gitara czy harmonijka jest uzywana, ale mozna tez uslyszec go na banjo, elektrycznym tamburyno, czy klawiszach takze elektrykowych, kolejna postacia sporo wnoszaca instrumentalnie jest Ben Keith, ktory gral z Youngiem od czasu Harvesta, tutaj operuje na rowniez szeroki wachlarzu instrumentalnym w zaleznosci od trakow, bo kazdy utwor ma praktycznie inny sklad, bo jeszcze dodatkowych 8 sesyjnych muzykow bralo udzial w nagraniach, ale nie zmienia to faktu, ze calosc jest spojna kompozycja utrzymujaca melancholijny, plazowy, jak w tytule, klimat, no i jest to kolejna z tych plyt ktore jestem w stanie sluchac od poczatku do konca, jesli akurat jestem w odpowiednim nastroju na melancholijne klimaty, bo takie arcydziela muzyczne nawet dla sluchacza bywaja obosieczny mieczem, bo niewielu jest artystow ktorzy potrafia tak wplywac swym glosem czy liryka na czlowieka jak wlasnie Neil Young, nie musze sie rowniez zastanawiac nad tym co dodac na spotifajowa plejke, bo po dramie z tym podkasterem reganowym pan Young zabral swoje materialy z serwisu, bo jest on za maly dla nich dwoch, to nie tylko on zabral zwinal swoje dyskografie po tym incydencie, ale jakos glebiej nie wnikalem, ale co do hajlajtowych trakow to beda nimi dla mnie see the sky about the rain i tytulowy on the beach, a dodatkowo jeszcze openingowy walk on, ktory jest najbardziej instrumentalnie rokowym trakiem calej plyty, trzymajacej rowna linie basowa czy drumowa przez caly kawalek, z dodatkowymi wokalami i dwiema gitarami, wiec idealny opener z bangerem
This is a frequent listen when things are gloomy. With recent news of another (!) mass school shooting here in the US, which followed a mass shooting in a supermarket, people have been on edge and I've been thinking about music that I'm drawn to when it's dark. This was one of them and I'm so glad it popped up for me. This album wraps up Young's Doom Trilogy when his world was collapsing around him and it strikes real. It's a must listen for when you're sad, or quiet, or completative or … whatever. 4.5/5
Depending on what mood you catch me, this is either Neil Young’s very best or one of his best. Bleakly beautiful? Beautifully bleak? Either way, it’s absolutely brilliant.
I'm so glad to see this album! This is one of the best Neil Young albums and almost no one knows it well. The best part of this album for me is that I discovered it myself later in life (in my 40's), so it isn't intertwined with complex teenage memories. I know every inch of it and love it so much. That Wurlitzer on See the Sky About to Rain combined with the slide is just... too perfect. The banjo on For the Turnstyles is just classic and portends banjo on later songs like Old King. Good thing I have this album in my collection since Neil Young is *still* way to good for Spotify!!!
Great album! Especially ambulance blues, on the beach and see the skies about to rain are terrific songs. Not my absolute favourite Neil Young album, but still a masterpiece in my eyes.
One lyric about being on a radio interview alone took me out of the experience a little, as it was just too specific to be relatable. Still, such a beautiful, sad and lonely album. Loved See the Sky, Motion Pictures and Ambulance Blues. You're all just pissing in the wind you don't know it, but you are and there ain't nothing like a friend who can tell you you're just pissin' in the wind
This doesn't look like a Neil Young album, and there are places where it doesn't sound like one. In a good way! Very enjoyable. YT music link here: https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_n1S9ljyNSBHJ-FKC5l44V500jlmEBtt-0&feature=share
great weekend listen!
I love Neil Young. This album is just stunning.
Lovely, really good, I’m Neil Youngpilled baby
I felt a little bit annoyed this morning when I saw this as my album. I thought to myself "they already have Harvest on the list and that's the best Neil gets, why do we need more?" But then I started listening and I think I actually like On The Beach better than Harvest! It might be that I'm listening with a more mature ear, or the songs on Harvest have become a bit overplayed for me, but this has been a pleasant surprise. That Neil Young, he's a sly one. A talented songwriter, never to be underestimated or discredited for his impressive artistry. I was unfairly annoyed and I take it all back. This album deserves to be on the list, it's such a treasure. And I love this album artwork! It's fun, but weirdly maudlin too. It pairs perfectly with the songs you get on this one. Great Monday vibes, really enjoyable listening through and through, a perfect work of art. I will say that Neil is probably still a bit too overrepresented on this list where Canada is concerned, we do have so many other great artists that deserve to be showcased too. But, that's UK ears for you, not as open as I'd like them to be...
I love this album. The honesty and sadness in the bluesy title track is a particular stand out.
"On the Beach" is the fifth studio album by Neil Young and right in the midst of an incredible string of albums from the late 60's to late 70's. It was the second album in his ditch trilogy (also including "Times Fades Away" and "Tonight's the Night") and inspired by feelings of retreat and melancholy from the success of his "Harvest" album. I'd say; there might be one positive song. It was recorded looser and more haphazardly than previous albums using a variety of sessions musicians including The Band's Rich Danko and Levon Helm, Stephen Stills and David Crosby....a more raw sound he wanted. Initially, Young wanted sides one and two swapped but stayed with current format. Also, of note, the album was available only on cassette and 8-Track from the early 80's up until 2003. The album begins with maybe the only happy sounding song in "Walk On," more in the standard rock sound category. An interesting guitar solo which sounds like it's in a minor key. Young sees the damage done to the earth, wars and being criticized but you need to keep moving on. I know this is the only song from this album that I've actually heard on the radio. Young sets the tone of "Revolution Blues" with an aggressive guitar. Danko and Helm in the rhythm section. Supposedly inspired by Charles Manson and perhaps told from his perspective. He goes after the Laurel Canyon Rich and Famous, Hollywood stars and his critics. I like angry Neil at times and this is my favorite song on the album. Side two which was supposed to be side one is the strength of this album. Young goes "Cowgirl in the Sand" in "On the Beach." Slow, grinding pace. Stark. Two guitar solos. The theme being the downside of fame; he's reached his pinnacle but it doesn't feel good. "Though my problems are meaningless, that doesn't make them go away." The last and longest song "Ambulace Blues" was unkowingly inspired by Bert Jansch's acoustic guitar playing in "Needle of Death." This song starts kind of in a country -way with the acoustic guitar. Add the harmonica and slide guitar. Young's very low voice tone. Far and away, the the most lyrical verses telling stories of things, events and people where things did not go too well including his criticism, Richard Nixon and CSNY. But, hey all things come to pass. This album is stark but I can't even say it's the most stark album Young has??? Every Neil Young album in this 70's time frame is worth a listen including this one. A high recommendation.
Actually great folk music. Fantastic story telling. Definitely saved.
I don't listen to this one as much as some of his other music, but it's freaking great, that's for sure. Definitely worthy of being on the list, I'll probably go back for another listen real soon. 😊
Neil Young took his records off of Spotify (for a perfectly good reason) and even though I think I have a copy of this squirrelled away somewhere (Yay, physical media!) I needed to check this out while at the gym and since I don't have a Disc Man these days I had to listen on YouTube with a Progressive Insurance commercial every couple of songs, just like God or Old Neil intended. Despite the commercials, this album is amazing. It doesn't contain any of Young's big radio hits, instead it's an album full of deep tracks that are all the real heads' faves. Neil Young at the top of his game, his best along with it's sister album Tonight's The Night.
Both blues songs and motion pictures is such a vibe
Oh so, this is one of the excellent Neil Young records. Upbeat, clean, perfectly produced, and most of the tracks here are bangers. Definitely one of my fave Neil Young albums. I realised with a career as diverse as Neil Young's, I will find records I really dislike and some I really love. This is one of the latter.
This is probably my favourite album ever. The vibes, musicianship, lyrics, themes all just immaculate. Basking in the darkness of the anti hippie dream and the failed utopia. What an album
“[Harvest] put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore, so I headed for the ditch. A rougher ride but I saw more interesting people there." Admittedly, this is not Young’s best album, but it might just be my favorite. Certainly, it is my most-played. Fully eschewing the commercialism achieved on Harvest, this album might as well be by a different artist than that. But, while bleak, On the Beach is still a far cry from the utter heartbreak and desolation in low fidelity that Young and co. put to record for their follow up to this Tonight’s the Night too. That album (arguably his best) was actually laid down before On the Beach, which means OTB finds Young after having gotten such vivid grief, pessimism, and anger out of his system. It finds Young amongst the rubble and decay—the vast fallout of Harvest’s overwhelming spotlight and the loss of multiple loved ones to overdoses—sorting through the sand as the waves lap. Having grown up near a beach, these themes strike a resonant chord with me. Too often the beach is the subject of tourism, sun-shiny days, sports, beer, sex, and the like. Less often is the beach illustrated on those cloudier days, with rougher waves, silent and empty sands; those days that remind you very much of the surface of this planet, and your no-where place on it. Full of anger and isolation, Young hurtles pessimistic musings at oil companies, fame, 60s “revolutions,” and lost loved ones. However, the album starts on a high note with “Walk On,” and an expressed desire to keep on living. I said yesterday in my note on Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks that I almost fear to play that record on vinyl for fear of degrading the audio fidelity. I feel oppositely about On the Beach. Where Blood on the Tracks’, poetry and intimacy seems to belong to someone else—Dylan—On the Beach’s feels personal to me. Each scratch in the record holding a time, on a rainy day, when I sat and took the record to heart. It has scars for me. Reminders and advice as I go forward. Pretty cool that Levon Helm (The Band) played drums on two songs here. I never knew that. Plus Rick Danko (also The Band) plays bass on one. Of course Crosby (RIP) crops up and Nash too. I had also never heard of these "Honey Slides" Young and his colleagues were consuming throughout the recording—a homemade goop of sautéed marijuana and honey. Pretty groovy. The liner notes for this album are pretty f***ing cryptic. Rusty Kershaw, the “de facto producer” of the album, writes, “On Revolution Blues I turned into a python, then an alligator, I was crawling like one, making noises like one. Plus I was eating up the carpit [sic] and mike stands and such. And in the meanwhile I started to crawl up towards Neil; which is pretty spooky when you’re trying to sing…” He closes, “But what the hell I give you my word there is good music in this album.” Yes, Rusty. What the hell, indeed. A 5-star record to me. And my favorite by my favorite.
Own on Vinyl
Love a bit of Neil
Hadn't listened to this before. Started off thinking I wouldn't give it 5/5 but the last track really brought it all together.
Great Album, I liked all the songs! I was a teenager when Neil Young started playing, I learned most of the songs on Harvest on my guitar, this is great music, that I had never heard!
When this lp came out I realized there was more to Neil than Harvest. An album of reality, harsh at times, and musically beautiful
Fabulous album! Start to finish.
Fav Tracks: “Walk On,” “Revolution Blues,” “On the Beach,” “Motion Pictures,” “Ambulance Blues.” Least Fav Track: "Vampire Blues." 4.5/5
eu não aguento mais receber albums do neil young, ele é bom mas eu tenho que usar youtube toda vez. eu gosto muito do estilo de guitarra dele e das letras. a voz dele por um tempo me irritou por ser muito suave, mas nesse album ela parece mais amadurecida. em musicas como revolution blues da pra ver o lado rock mesmo dele, porque o resto de folk cansa as vezes, por mais que lindo. on the beach tem um solo de guitarra muito incrivel. eu sou mais fã das musicas longas nesse album, elas tem letras mais profundas e um instrumental que progredi e volta durante a musica. ate agora é meu favorito do neil young.
I like the raw and subdued style of this album. The songs really grabbed me, and the first 5* for Neil Young is inevitable.
I am following consensus here and this is one of my top 5 NY albums, together with Harvest, After the Gold Rush, Tonight's the Night and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. Some notes: - I might like the straightforwarded but up-tempo cover of On The Beach by the Walkabouts a bit more. - Ambulance Blues is one of the best songs Neil Young has ever written.
Jedan od najboljih starih neilova
An excellent album. One of Neil's best work.
On the Beach was largely unavailable (through legal means) for over 20 years, and that’s a damn shame-it just may be the best entry of the Ditch Trilogy. Though Young still grapples with feelings of alienation and depression, tracks like Walk On indicate that he knows better times are just over the horizon.