Neil Young - Re-ac-tor
As I understand it, there was to be no publicity surrounding Neil and his wife Pegi and their new born son, suffering from severe cerebral palsy. They joined a program to help him move around, crawl - to look after him. It required constant attention and dedication. They couldn't go out - Neil had severely limited opportunities to record new music. Because there was a strict 'no publicity' thing however, newly released Neil Young music, such as 'Reactor', and his debut for Geffen, the controversial 'Trans', appeared as simply inexplicable Neil Young releases. We can now understand why the lyric to a song here, 'T-Bone' reads as follows... "Got mashed potatoes. Got Mashed potatoes. Got Mashed potatoes. Aint got no T-bone. Aint got no T-bone" repeated six or seven times, that's your lyric. Good, huh? Neil recorded this album with his regular backing band, Crazy Horse. It was to be their last collaboration for quite some time. The goings on in Neils personal life affected his relationships and their was a stress and strain. Given all these facts, it's quite remarkable that 'Reactor' came out as well as it did. True, it's no 'Tonights The Night' or 'Rust Never Sleeps'. Well, of course it isn't. 'T-Bone' alone ensures that it isn't! But, simplistic lyrics aside ( and other songs here are hardly poetry ), 'Reactor' works well enough.
'Opera Star' is full of riffs and a dirty atmosphere and faintly ridiculous 'ha, ha haha haha' backing vocal parts. A lot of fun. 'Surfer Joe And Moe The Sleaze'is the clear highlight of the set. It's no coincidence that it's also the song with the best lyric, storytelling, etc, etc. The musical backing is fine Neil Young and Crazy Horse. What can you say? The stomping during the instrumental breaks alone, let alone the sheer atmosphere and delirious rock n roll joy the song evokes overall, means 'Surfer Joe And Moe The Sleaze' is more than good enough. 'T-Bone' could be seen as funny to some sets of ears and eyes, but not to mine. A simple riff, a repeated nonsensical lyric. Bearing in mind the goings on in Neils personal life, a dinner one evening was probably all he actually DID have to write about. It's sad, his first child also suffered from the same illness. Something like that is obviously going to affect you. Immense credit to Neil that he carried on AND did his duty to his son(s).
'Get Back On It' is piano led, boogie rock. 'Southern Pacific' rolls along very nicely, a nice 'train rhythm' to the song. I do like songs with that shuffling train rhythm, oh yeah. Not much else to say about the album, except that yeah, it is good overall and that the closing 'Shots' hints towards the Mr Young experiments with technology that his next effort would display.
Opera Star / Surfer Joe And Moe The Sleaze / T-Bone . Get Back On It / Southern Pacific / Motor City / Rapid Transit / Shots