Album Review: “Rust Never Sleeps” By Neil Young
Rust Never Sleeps album cover - neilyoungchannel / Youtube
When we say Neil Young was ahead of his time, Rust Never Sleeps is a surefire way to shut down naysayers. This 1979 live album release has Young and his backing band Crazy Horse commit to the album name as a motto to avoid artistic complacency and keep things creatively progressive. What sets this live album apart from others is it is comprised of all-new material recorded live, with some post-production tweaks like overdubs and the removal of audience noise.
The album starts off with “My, My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)”, which is an acoustic version for the closing track, has Young mixing in rock n’ roll with some punk influences in between. “Thrasher” is folk in general, but has mostly lost its live charm due to heavy post-production work on it. “Ride My Llama” follows, dating back to Young’s mid-seventies material and is a melodic ballad that builds a sense of peace in the tracklisting. “Pocahontas” is a heavy folk song that ties in history and fantasy, while “Sail Away” closes the first side with a light country arrangement reminiscent of Young’s CSNY days.
On the second side, “Powderfinger” is a good old folk-rocker with great electric guitar harmonies, while “Welfare Mothers” contrasts its heavy rhythm section with tongue in cheek lyrics about divorcees. “Sedan Delivery” has punk and blues influences in it, while the album closer, “My, My, Hey Hey (Into The Black)”, offers a sustained electric jam as opposed to the first version, and is probably one of Young’s most prominent songs.
Rust Never Sleeps was and still is a critically-acclaimed album of Youngs’, as well a being a commercial success in itself. It just proved the revolutionary vision of the singer-songwriter as it went on its course of evolution as the years came.