Album Review – Paradox Soundtrack – Neil Young (Warners)
Review by Geoff Jenke
Paradox is another of Neil Young’s home movies tracing the imagined adventures of his band Promise of the Real as they adjust to the altitude of Colorado. The film was written and directed by Daryl Hannah, with a lot of it filmed on her phone. It has yet to be seen in Australia so all we have is the soundtrack. Neil has ventured into film making before with mixed results.
Neil is backed by his current band Promises of the Real, which features Willie Nelson’s son Lukas. However, at times the music is just Neil. The album opens with narrative under the title of Many Moons Ago before giving us small doses of guitar work in Paradox Passage 1. There are 6 passages spread across the album. The first real song is just called Hey and is Neil in fine “heavier” form. It is followed by more heavy guitar in Paradox Passage 2.
For some reason we get the chorus to the song Diggin’ in the Dirt but the main song doesn’t come till much later. Peace Trail is a pure delight and pure Neil Young.
Two classic Neil songs in Pocahontas and the 10-minute instrumental Cowgirl Jam (a take of Neil’s song Cowgirl in the Sand) are live (from Coachella 2016 I believe) and are definitely the highlight of the album. We then get a cover of Willie Nelsons Angel Flying Too Close to The Ground sounding very LoFi. Other covers are Jimmy Reed’s Baby What Do You Want Me to Do? which at under 1 minute 30 is just perfect and Leadbelly’s How Long, completely stripped back to sound like the original. A very forgettable Happy Together (originally recorded by the Turtles) makes an appearance and luckily it only goes for 46 seconds.
The album concludes with a song called Tumbleweed, complete with ukulele and Neil’s wonderful voice.
There is some wheat amongst the chaff on this album. Maybe we need to see the movie, but one has the feeling that will not help. The album is for Neil Young fans only. If you are chasing a classic Young album, get the recently released Roxy live album instead.