Album Review: “Freedom” By Neil Young
Album cover for Neil Young's "Freedom" - neilyoungchannel / Youtube
If there’s one thing that’s sure in the world of rock and roll, it’s that Neil Young doesn’t have a linear creative process. The folk icon is known for delaying album releases, as well as recycling material from unheard catalogs – which is what probably happened with 1989’s Freedom.
First and foremost, material from a previous rarity of an EP titled El Dorado was reused in the new album – the cut “Don’t Cry” hitting listeners with its tale of a broken marriage, and “On Broadway”, where Young dabbled with a rant about drugs, specifically cocaine. He also reused the horns from This Note’s For You on the tracks “Crime In The City” and “Someday”, which acted as fillers with their brooding atmospheres and themes. Young also harkened back to his acoustic roots on “Hangin’ on a Limb” and “The Ways Of Love”, where he was assisted by the amazing Linda Ronstadt.
Thematically, Young dealt with romance, substance abuse, and social commentary without being too in-the-face. Clearly not the cup of coffee that avid fans were used to, but this was just a testament of Young’s immaculate and authentic songwriting skill. He even used the titanic anthem, “Rockin’ in the Free World” as bookends to the album with two different versions to make a statement that he wasn’t just messing around.