Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Neil Young: Silver and Gold [Warner Bros., 2000]
Previously, Young's bad records have always had the mark of weirdness on them--impossible songs, twisted politics, stupid clothes. These 10 well-culled copyrights, two from the '80s and only four from 2000, are something new and ominous, because they're dull. They smell of equine methane: the old-fart hegemony that fuels alt-country, AC radio, and literary anthologies canonizing Ry Cooder, Ernie K-Doe, and Spooner Oldham. So though Duck Dunn and Jim Keltner get more beats going than Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina ever will, their mild funk is just another species of roots politesse, and Neil's self-indulgently halting vocals open the dismaying possibility that he takes Will Oldham seriously. True love isn't this boring, Young must know that. Hell, the Buffalo Springfield weren't this boring either. But they are now. C+