As recently mentioned, my web board of choice just did a Neil Young poll, giving me an excuse to get in a “Neil mood” and Neil out to nothing but Neil for the better part of a month. Despite gabbing plenty over there, I’m not done talking about the guy so I’m going to count down the songs I voted for here. It’ll be a diverse selection from 40-odd years of albums, so buckle up!
40. Neil Young & Crazy Horse, “Driveby” (Sleeps With Angels, 1994)
Though a moody rumination on Kurt Cobain and ghetto life may have been worth five stars to Rolling Stone in 1994, it’s hard to imagine anyone calling Sleeps With Angels a classic today. Not to say it doesn’t have character; where earlier albums had druggies burning out and later ones had old folks fading away, here Neil’s a middle-aged comeback king sweating the kind of death you don’t see coming, his band respectfully matching his mourn. “Well you feel invincible, it’s just a part of life. There’s a feud going on and you don’t know. Driveby.” There are a lot of songs where the paper makes him mad, but this time he’s just sad.