Tonight's The NightNeil Young
Tonight's the Night is a spectacle of raw, unfiltered tragedy. The opener is emotionally devastating, as Neil Young's voice croons and squeaks, soaring and collapsing through a set of lyrics about his dead friend Bruce Berry. Speakin' Out is wistful, melancholic, and evokes a sense of the band playing to dull the pain. World on a String works surprisingly well either in spite of or due to its roughness, but it's not as necessary as some of the other cuts. Borrowed Tune sketches a portrait of a sad, questioning, regretful artist wasted out of his mind at night's end. Come on Baby Let's Go Downtown is bright and bouncy and painful, as Danny Whitton who was instrumental in Neil Young's previous efforts delivers a posthumous performance that brings the house down. It reminds us what has been lost (the light that no longer shines) and provides a respite from the album's downtrodden tunes. Mellow My Mind is initially the least notable cut here, but its longing search for harmony and tranquility really sticks in the soul. To start side two, Roll Another Number is musically ambitious and describes Young's sense of anger at the industry that stifled the release of this album for so long. After deaths of those close to us, we often view our own lives through different lenses, and systems that once seemed necessary are now just a burden. Albuquerque picks up on the same thread, as Young seeks an escape from it all on what might be the best song he’s ever made. The tenderness and surprising sweetness of New Mama clash with the aggression of Lookout Joe with its wailing guitar riffs. Tired Eyes is delicate, full of regret and calm. Its placid yet beautiful sound is incredible to witness. The second rendition of Tonight’s the Night that closes the album is a necessary resolution to this abrasive, soothing, cynical, mourning, visionary record. Rest in peace, Bruce and Danny.