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Neil Young is famous for scrapping completed albums and substituting
hastily recorded ones in radically different styles; Freedom, a major critical
and commercial comeback, seemed to be a selection of the best tracks
from several different unissued projects.
First and foremost
was a hardrock album like the material heard on Young's
recent EP Eldorado (released only in the Far East), several of whose tracks
were repeated on Freedom. On these songs -- especially "Don't Cry" and a
cover of the Drifters' "On Broadway" -- Young played distorted electric guitar
over a rhythm section in an even more raucous fashion than on his Crazy Horse
records. (Ed. Sounds like Niko Bolas was in on it).
Second was a follow-up to This Note's For You, which had featured a
horn section; they were back on the lengthy "Crime in the City" and
each of which contained a series of seemingly unrelated, mood-setting verses.
Third, there were tracks that harked back to acoustic-based,
albums like Harvest and Comes a Time, including "Hangin' on a Limb" and
"The Ways of Love." What made it all work was that Young had once again
written a great bunch of songs, bookended by acoustic and electric versions
of one of Young's greatest anthems, "Rockin' in the Free World."
William Ruhlmann, All-Music Guide