"The Strongest Offering from the Byrds"
Daniel S. Sullivan | Gibbstown,N.J. USA | 05/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After the departure of Gene Clark in 1966, no one knew if the Byrds could produce another commercially successful album.
Jim McGuinn, David Crosby, Chris Hillman & Michael Clarke showed they still could with this wonderfully eclectic album, "Younger Than Yesterday".
The Monkees were all the rage in late '66 / early '67, and McGuinn and Hillman thought it would be nice to write a "formula" for aspiring rockers.
"So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star" was the song they wrote, full of all the elements needed for success, including combing your hair and tight pants.
Learning how to play was also important, something the Byrds did well. The song opens with McGuinn's signature electric 12-string, which is built upon by Hillman's driving bass, and some soaring trumpet by legendary trumpeter Hugh Masakela. The requisite screaming girls are also present, completing this classic '60's anthem.
"Have You Seen Her Face" is a Chris Hillman composition, inspired by the Beatles' "And Your Bird Can Sing", which in turn, was inspired by the Byrds.
The glorious 3-part harmonies, Michael Clarke's above average drumming and McGuinn's staggering electric guitar breaks, this track , for me, is the album's finest.
"C.T.A.-102" is McGuinn tribute to life out among the stars, complete with bizzare sound effects, and sped-up backward voices to simulate alien life forms. Radical sounds for early 1967.
"Rennaissance Fair" is primarily a Crosby vehicle that he wrote after attending just such an event. Hillman's bass is the main musical highlight on this short, but sweet track.
"Time Between" is a Hillman tune that is stone-cold country. Vern Gosdin adds acoustic guitar, and future Byrds member Clarence White makes his first appearance on a Byrds record with his trusty Telecaster.
"Everybody's Been Burned" is David Crosby's torch song with a slightly psychedelic feel, with Crosby's smooth-as-silk vocal and McGuinn's haunting 12-string.
When originally released in 1967, Chris Hillman's "Thoughts And Words" opened side 2, and it was a powerful piece of music, featuring Hillman's "weary" vocal style, a counter-melody,Crosby's slashing rhythm guitar, McGuinn' fingerstyle work and dual backwards guitar solos.
"Mind Gardens" is Crosby at his psychedelic best, and the analogy was simpler than one might think upon hearing; the mind is a garden, needing nurturing and love, while being protected against harsh elements. McGuinn's backwards guitars lend an ethereal feel.
The next song is classic folk rock in the traditional Byrds style, Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages".
As always, McGuinn handles the vocals on a Dylan cover, which is an anti-protest protest tune that says "I was so much older then; I'm younger than that now" , which inspired the album's title. The vocal is spot on, the chorus harmonies smooth, and McGuinn's 12-string chiming clearer than ever. This was to be the Byrds' last top 40 hit.
A shorter mix with guitar through a Leslie speaker appears as a bonus track.
"The Girl With No Name" is another Chris Hillman country influenced tune in the same vein as "Time Between".
The album's closer is a re-make of 1966's "Why". Though many may disagree with me on this one, but I feel this re-make is superior to the original. The arrangement is tighter, the faster tempo rocks, and the vocals and instrumentation clearer. One of the band's best performances ever.
The bonus tracks ( other than "My Back Pages" ) are "Don't Make Waves" a movie theme song, an early version of "Mind Gardens", a well produced single called "Lady Friend" and it's flipside "Old John Robertson", another country style tune.
All these tracks strengthen an already strong collection.
The Byrds' best album - 5 Stars.
Best Album Ever
J. Fuller | Minneapolis | 02/26/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I do believe that the Beatles made the most incredible and important music of the twentieth century. I believe the Stone's legacy will live on forever. I believe that Bob Dylan was and remains a genius. I also believe that the best album ever made was Younger Than Yesterday by the Byrds. The MP3's are right here. Take a listen and see if you fall into the same trance I did back in 1967."