Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Neil Young: After the Gold Rush [Reprise, 1970]
While David Crosby yowls about assassinations, Young divulges darker agonies without even bothering to make them explicit. Here the gaunt pain of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere fills out a little--the voice softer, the jangling guitar muted behind a piano. Young's melodies--every one of them--are impossible to dismiss. He can write "poetic" lyrics without falling flat on his metaphor even when the subject is ecology or crumbling empire. And despite his acoustic tenor, he rocks plenty. A real rarity: pleasant and hard at the same time. A+