19. Neil Young & Crazy Horse, “Be The Rain” (Greendale, 2003)
The irony of Neil’s outta-nowhere rock opera is that, in the end, it’s another bunch of surreal narratives capped with an ecological plea - a closing device he uses only slightly less often than the reprise. However, of all his dramatic state-of-the-earth finales, “Be The Rain” is easily one of my favorites. The old hippie idealism isn’t smug here, but desperate - “paranoid schizophrenic visions/ livin’ in fear of the wrong decisions.” Spending an album in a town full of old coots only to leave with a hectoring, young environmentalist for Alaska. Like the video above, it’s totally shameless, totally brave and totally beautiful.