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Rust Never Sleeps
But It Didn't Seem Especially Alert In Seattle

I may catch some flack for this, even amongst close friends, but I have to say it: It's a shame such a big bunch of bright musicians wasted their time ineptly re-creating what Neil Young, already an old geezer at the time, managed to articulate in a single album. I must admit I've never understood why Neil Young is called the "Godfather of Grunge"; the Seattle grunge scene never captured the irony, humour, or self awareness of what Neil Young and Crazy Horse were doing in 1978. (I mean, if Kurt Cobain was such a genius, why'd he marry Courtney Love?)

Rust Never Sleeps showed that Neil Young was a great deal quicker on his feet than many of his contemporaries. At a time when rock was being turned upside-down by "punk", an astylistic (ooh, I made up a word) non-genre of pop music in the late seventies, Neil Young was there, getting nihilistic with the best of them. While critics were busy trying to lump the Sex Pistols, Clash, Elvis Costello , Wire, Generation X, and the Buzzcocks into some tidy package they could understand, Rust Never Sleeps grabbed the bull by the horns and rocked, while making a clever statement not only with the music, but with the film of the same name, which deftly captured the grit and wit of the material in visual form.

We don't need to zero in on individual titles or critique the acoustic vs electric structure of the original album, we just need to pop this CD in the player, and set the volume on 11. It almost sounds better if you have at least one blown speaker component and a crappy turntable. They should consider adding that option as a DVD special a few years down the road, when this recording will have certainly survived yet another dominant media format migration.

Ian Gray
January 2005

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