The title of Neil Young's new solo album, Le Noise, is a play on words from his collaboration with Grammy-winning producer Daniel Lanois. If you erase “Le,” you have a definitive review of the album.

Young's musical legend includes five of my all-time favorite albums — Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Gold Rush, Harvest, Harvest Moon, and Prairie Wind — impeccable. But this offering of eight original songs is overwhelmed by Lanois's electronic soundscapes, Young's enhanced bass playing, and multi-layered acoustic guitar backgrounds.

Young's aged, thin voice is at times screeching to get above the guitar volume. And some of his lyrics are too simple and devoid of melody. On "Sign of Love," Young repeats the title as if the needle/laser is stuck. On "Angry World," he moans, "Yeah, it's an angry world, and everything is going to be all right."

But there is one great new song, "Peaceful Valley Boulevard," which breaks up the wall of guitar noise and reminds the listener with its poignant observations and tuneful melody what art Neil Young is still capable of.

  • Album: Le Noise (2010)
  • Artist: Neil Young
  • Label: Reprise
  • Songs: (1) Walk with Me (2) Sign of Love (3) Someone's Gonna Rescue You (4) Love and War (5) Angry World (6) Hitchhiker (7) Peaceful Valley Boulevard (8) Rumblin

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