Chrome Dreams II

Studio Album by released in 2007

Chrome Dreams II review

Previously unreleased songs

Neil Young's discography hides lots of secret details or to put it more precisely songs, which never had a chance to enter any of his official albums for some unknown reasons. That fact that Young is always having a couple of good old unreleased songs in reserve is one of the most amazing things about this person indeed. His discography is one of the richest in the entire history of rock music as it is and the "new" songs from the past only emphasize this musician's artistic prolificacy. Neil Young's new album Chrome Dreams II stands in a tight connection with his past. This is a sequel to his enigmatic album Chrome Dreams from 1977 that had originally been scheduled for release but was shelved in favor of American Stars 'N Bars. However, contrary to logic and expectations of old fans the album doesn't contain even a single song from Chrome Dreams. Basically, the album consists of newly penned songs although it also features three other previously unreleased tracks, which were composed and recorded back in the eighties.

Stylistic diversity of Chrome Dreams II

Neil Young's longstanding experience let him work out an original approach to music making. He thinks not by separate songs, rather by whole albums. Chrome Dreams II was intended to be a record with a positive massage. Young wanted to avoid using the songs written in the similar style because he believes that the diversity of material helps this particular message to be more emphasized. "Now that radio formats are not as influential as they once were" he says "it's easier to release an album that crosses all formats with a message that runs through the whole thing, regardless of the type of song or sound". The specific character of Chrome Dreams II lies in the stylistic diversity, which varies from smooth country to edgy hard rock. The first tracks of the album are rooted back in eighties. Beautiful Bluebird was recorded in 1980 for the original version of Old Ways – an album which was released only on 1985 and didn't have this very track in the final list. Boxcar is a song from another unreleased album of 1988 Times Square and Ordinary People was initially recorded in the same time period for Young's album This Note's For You. As Neil Young himself says: "Some songs, like Ordinary People, need to wait for the right time. I think now is the right time for that song and it lives well with the new songs I have written in the past few months".

Ordinary People stands as the center of the album

Young's comment corresponds to the reality pretty well – Ordinary People doesn't sound out of place here indeed, moreover, it stands as a peculiar center of the album leaving the rest of the songs in the shade. The situation looks more like these are new songs that live well with it not vice versa. First of all it concerns production work. Despite all the possibilities of modern technologies Young gave his preference to the amenities of the vintage sound. Such tracks as Spirit Road or Dirty Old Man obviously imitate the old school romance of Ordinary People. Of course, it will be appreciated by his old fans but from the objective viewpoint this attempt looks a little bit unfinished. It all becomes especially visible against the level of Ordinary People. This track is a solid thing indeed and it stands as the album's main driving force. The only song that has enough power to compete with it is No Hidden Path. It doesn't mean that the rest of the songs sound bad, no, there are lots of nice ideas here, such ballads as Shining Light or The Way turned out to be really good compositions but the truth is that they carry nothing especially valuable. Chrome Dreams II is an album for Neil Young's diehard fans, they will certainly find lots interesting things here, but as a whole this work looks a little bit pale in comparison with some of his previous albums.