‘Already One’

Neil Young’s “Already One.” By the time I heard this one, I was well into my education about Young. I felt caught up. I’d gone to one of the Rust shows, and was overwhelmed again by how spectacular he was. He RAWKED. Even the acoustic songs, like “Out of the Blue,” had an edge.

And then came the “Comes a Time” album, which was all soft and quiet and too much of the whiny steel guitars that I allowed Young on the couple of cuts he’d throw them on other albums. If that country/acoustic feel was the croutons on the other albums, “Comes a Time” was all lightweight carbs, empty calories on which to gnaw.

Of course, there are some beautiful songs on “Comes A Time.” I like “Look Out For My Love” (which I always think it actually on “Zuma,” because it would fit better there) and “Peace of Mind,” which is really sweet. But too many people like “Already One” too much. I have memories of hearing it continually on the radio, but it may have just been that I played “Comes A Time” a whole bunch, trying to learn to like it.

But it never worked for me. That’s one reason there’s a ton of other Neil Young albums on Tim’s Big List (including two in the top 15, and only Pink Floyd matches that) and not “Comes a Time.” I liked some of it, but there was too much of what felt like Neil Young slumming with some kind of fake country twang.

(That reminds me of walking around a music store playing Young’s “Harvest Moon” album – yes, I was alive when that kind of thing went on – and my friend Tom Weber and I wandered the store, thumbing through albums and listening. Every time Young sung some sort of lyrical cliche, Tom would mutter, “Oh yes, Neil, you miss your baby” and other cutting remarks. Cracked me up, even though I liked “Harvest Moon.”)

The thing about “Already One” is Young and Nicolette Larson are singing as a split couple whose sole remaining connection is their son. So many of my friends hearing the song seemed to hear it as a sweet love song. And all I can hear are two people singing like the worst thing in their lives was meeting each other, except for this damn kid, who makes it all worse. The subtitle might as well be “I Could Forget We Ever Met If Not For This Damn Kid.”

And that’s probably the biggest reason the “Comes a Time” album doesn’t make the cut.

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