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Neil Young
ARE YOU PASSIONATE?
(REPRISE)

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Like most institutions these last seven months, Neil Youngís new album reflects the duality of our times: thereís September 11, and then thereís everything else. The September 11 song is "Letís Roll," a single that takes us inside the cabin of United Flight 93, the hijacked jetliner on which the passengers fought back. Itís the best and most anomalous song on this erratic album, since itís got what Young at the top of his game has delivered since the late í60s: a reedy voice and rough, angular guitar notes telling a story with a dramatic edge.

"Goiní Home," the only track featuring long-time cohort Crazy Horse (on a tune alluding to Custer, no less!) is the other winner. The rest is mostly flaccid love songs and performances that donít cut as deep, if at all. "Mr. Disappointment" is quite a letdown 35 years after "Mr. Soul": the tone recalls Luka Bloomís version of LL Cool Jís "I Need Love," but Bloom is a much better rapper than Young is. "Quit (Donít Say You Love Me)" is Michael Bolton in wolfís clothing. The pairing of Young with soul titan Booker T. Jones on organ (and as co-producer with Neil) and fellow MG Duck Dunn on bass underachieves more often than it delights. This time around, rust ever creeps.

BY WAYNE ROBINS

Issue Date: May 9 - 16, 2002
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