by Kevin Allman
The news that Neil Young was added to this year's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (taking the slot that had been held for Aretha Franklin with or without hat) had fans of the grizzled rocker plunking down their ducats for the Fair Grounds on Sun., May 3. But even his most ardent acolytes have to be wondering if they're going to get vintage Neil or selections from his new CD, Fork in the Road, which is getting the kind of pre-release buzz one would associate with, say, a new Paris Hilton movie directed by M. Night Shmayalan. The Web site Ecorazzi tells us that it's a concept album where every song is about eco-cars:
We know Neil Young is absolutely head-over-heels in love with his project to convert a classic 59 Lincoln Continental into an all-electric vehicle but did anyone ever think hed take that enthusiasm and turn it into a new album dedicated to the topic? Certainly not his fans who are a little more than irked that his promised Archives Volume 1 album has now been pushed back to Spring. Young is more interested in getting out his new collection of songs about eco cars out called Fork In The Road. Inspired by his work with green autos, it contains such songs as Cough Up the Bucks, Hit the Road, Get Around, and Fuel Line.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, for any other artist out there thinking of glorifying their Prius in song.), the reception to the music has been less than welcoming. The other car songs featured on tour are decidedly bad, but this Fork in the Road song is so distressingly awful that it almost seems like a joke, said one reviewer on the Thrashers Wheat website. So hideous that one almost has to laugh at the situation.
The video for the title track has been removed from YouTube due to "copyright violations," but Rolling Stone sums it up:
Wearing a blue Tube Amp Repair t-shirt and eating an apple (with headphones plugged into it), Young sings about the economic collapse against a basic blues beat. Im a big rock star, Donald Trumps favorite rocker sings in the hysterical single camera video. My sales have tanked, but I still got you. Download this, it sounds like shit.
Near the end he plays some mean air guitar while a flat screen TV is repossessed in the background.
If you're curious, Fork in the Road is available for pre-order for the low, low price of ... $21.98. At a time when the new David Byrne/Brian Eno collaboration, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, is selling for $8.99 directly from the artists, that $22 price tag, not the lyrical content, is probably the bigger kiss of death. For that price, you could almost go to Jazz Fest.