I’ve never dug particularly deep into Neil Young’s discography, which is a shame, because the one album I’ve spun on repeat before is an absolute favorite of mine: The poetic Rust Never Sleeps. Young, with backing band Crazy Horse, blends live sets with studio recordings, all-acoustic numbers with electric powerhouses, all with some of the most sublime, thoughtful lyrics I’ve heard.
I feel like the word “haunting” gets overused in music criticism, but it’s the first one that pops into my head when I listen to “My My, Hey Hey,” the album’s opener. An acoustic, minor-key ballad that outlines the album’s themes — “it’s better to burn out than to fade away” — this melancholic track would have been right at home on our Rainy Day Music mixtape.
One more tidbit: I love how Rust Never Sleeps‘ closer mirrors this track with an aggressive, sludgy production: “Hey Hey, My My My (Into the Black).” It’s a great bit of thematic bookending, of satisfying album structure.