Neil Young & Crazy Horse / Neil Young

Broken Arrow

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    5
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In many ways, Broken Arrow follows the same path as Neil Young's other '90s albums with Crazy Horse. Broken Arrow floats on waves of lumbering guitars and cascading feedback, ebbing and flowing with winding solos and drifting melodies. In a typical display of artistic perversion, Young has front-loaded the album with three epics with a combined running time of just over 25 minutes. Following the three epic-length songs come four concise tunes that range from the country-rock stomp of "Changing Highways" to the reflective "Music Arcade." Like the three songs that preceded them, these songs are uneven, with hazy melodies and underdeveloped lyrics. Finally, a long, live workout of Jimmy Reed's "Baby, What You Want Me to Do" -- which sounds like it was taken from an audience recording -- is tacked onto the end of the album. Although the song is a standout, it raises the question: what is the purpose of Broken Arrow? The album floats from song to song, with the guitars drowning out the sound of Young's voice. There are some fine songs buried amid the long jams, but the album is directionless, and that lack of direction never manages to develop a consistent emotional tone.

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