Year of the Horse

Neil Young / Crazy Horse

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Year of the Horse Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

As Neil Young's second double live album of the '90s, Year of the Horse could seem a little redundant to anyone who isn't a die-hard fan. After all, Weld was useful since it appeared ten years after the release of Live Rust, Young & Crazy Horse's first double live album, and it captured them at their peak. Year of the Horse, however, appeared merely five years after Weld, and in between those two records, Young had only released two albums' worth of material that suited these high-voltage, improvised performances. These factors didn't matter since Young decided to allow Jim Jarmusch to make a film documentary about his 1996 tour, and Year of the Horse is the album that was released to coincide with the movie. (It's not really a soundtrack, since these performances don't appear in the film.) It is true that there are many songs here that haven't made Young's previous live albums, but the performances themselves aren't particularly remarkable -- they sound like tired, meandering variations of Weld. There are enough strong moments to make Year of the Horse worthwhile for die-hard fans, but it's too predictable to appeal to anyone else.

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