Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

(1969), 8.5/10
For his second solo album, Neil Young recruited garage band The Rockets. Renaming them Crazy Horse, they’ve served as his backing band ever since – their primitive stomp is the perfect complement for Young’s distorted guitar and scratchy vocals, and Young is more comfortable here than on his tentative debut. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere is essentially dominated by three behemoths. The punchy ‘Cinnamon Girl’ is a three minute piece of scything guitar pop that’s a good candidate for the best song that Neil Young has ever written. The two guitar epics, the nine minute ‘Down By The River’, with its famous one note guitar solo, and the ten minute ‘Cowgirl In The Sand’, are also rightfully recognised as among Young’s finest achievements. The remainder of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere is devoted to more downbeat folk material; ‘The Losing End’ feels like a throwback to early sixties pop, but ‘Running Dry’ and ‘Round and Round’ both outstay their welcome – the only memorable song is the title track, with its singalong chorus. Of course, few songs look good when they have to share space with ‘Cinnamon Girl’ and ‘Down By The River’, and its highlights are enough to make Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere a seminal effort in Young’s canon.

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