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Time Fades Away – Neil Young

Time Fades Away

(1973), 7/10
A live album featuring all new songs, Time Fades Away was constructed under the shadow of Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten’s death. Whitten was invited to be the second guitarist on the tour, but it was obvious he wasn’t well enough to contribute, and he died on the evening of the day that Young dismissed him. Young felt responsible for Whitten’s death, and although many of these songs were presumably written before Whitten’s overdose, Young’s guilt informs the album’s atmosphere; Time Fades Away is more ragged and personal than anything Young had released previously. The lengthy ‘Don’t Be Denied’ is almost like a self-help mantra mixed with autobiography over a repetitive blues riff. ‘Last Dance’ is more powerful riffing, while ‘L.A.’ and ‘Yonder Stands The Sinner’ slip memorable hooks into their chaotic structures. Despite the overall chaos of Time Fades Away, there are stripped down moments; ‘Love In Mind’ is a short, gorgeous piano ballad, while ‘Journey Through The Past’ is Young accompanying himself on piano, complete with wrong notes. The simple, elegiac ‘The Bridge’ is one of Young’s strongest songs. Young has never allowed Time Fades Away to be released on CD. Despite the legend that’s built around it due to its unavailability, the ragged Time Fades Away is not among Young’s finest albums, but due to its personal and intimate nature, dedicated Young fans will find it fascinating.

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