Neil Young’s American journey has endured many twists and turns, and he focuses on another unique angle with his Fork in the Road album.
A love letter to his latest project, a 1959 LincVolt that he hopes will spur the electric car industry to action, "Fuel Line" has the ’60s troubadour intoning "Keep filling that fuel line" and "Fill Her Up" with added insistency. "Cough Up the Bucks" is a straight forward blues duck walk, with Young piercing through the sound mix, adding distortion and feedback at will. "When Worlds Collide" is vintage Neil, circa ’71, as he pumps up the reverb with jangled guitar leads and pure, earnest choruses. But, somewhere along the line, Young has discarded the innocence inherent in his earlier work. "Just Singing a Song" is a reflection of the modern, war-torn, digital age in which "just singing a song won’t change the world."
Whether he’s dabbling in realism or idealism is anyone’s guess, yet one thing’s for sure: on memorable compositions like "Johnny Magic" and "Off the Road," Neil Young keeps the rhythm spare, percolating and riveting on Fork in the Road. And, he proves once again there’s much to learn from his life story.
Fork in the Road is out now on Reprise Records.