Friday, February 24, 2023

The Albums of 1973: Neil Young: Time Fades Away

Released: October 15, 1973

Produced by Neil Young and Elliot Mazer

Side One: Time Fades Away; Journey Through the Past; Yonder Stands the Sinner; L.A.; Love in Mind

Side Two: Don't Be Denied; The Bridge; Last Dance

Time Fades Away was for a long time considered an obscure live album that provided mere snapshots from Neil Young's early 1973 tour backed by Nashville/LA session musicians The Stray Gators and David Crosby and Graham Nash who joined up on the last leg of the tour. A hectic ordeal for all involved with Neil wearing out his voice and clashing with his new band. Time Fades Away was received poorly upon release and it never got a CD release until very late in the game, but in recent decades its reputation has risen. 

The hard rocking "Time Fades Away" opens the record, a screed against the passing of time as the title suggests. "Journey Through the Past" is a stately piano ballad. Introduced as an "experimental" song, "Yonder Comes the Sinner" is a guitar driven rocker. "L.A.' is dedicated to the "city in the smog" is both weary and sarcastic - the best track on the album. "Love in Mind" is another piano ballad in the vein of Harvest.

Side two relied more on extended jams. "Don't Be Denied" is more mid-tempo weariness while the lyrics are autobiographical with references to Young growing up in Canada and moving to L.A. Another piano ballad with harmonica, "The Bridge" builds towards a catharsis. Running over eight minutes, "Last Dance" meanders and hints at the exhaustion hitting everyone, Neil repeating "No, No, No . ." on the fadeout.

Ragged and rough, the downbeat mode of the record evolves into an eloquent defiance. 

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