Landing on Water may not be Neil Young's worst album, but it's probably the least noteworthy collection he's assembled. For what turned out to be his penultimate Geffen album, Young rebuffed his regular set of co-producers in favor of West Coast journeyman Danny Kortchmar--seemingly in the interest of honing a more radio-friendly sound. As a result, the singer finds himself bobbing his way through layers of synthesizer fills and Steve Jordan's strident drumming; the whole thing feels like a bland '80s rock soundtrack. None of these songs have even become concert salvage projects--evidence that their composer doesn't hold them in high regard. The one standout here is "Hippie Dream," a scathing death-of-the-counterculture screed inspired by David Crosby's then-life-threatening drug problems: "Another flower child goes to seed / In an ether-filled room of meat hooks / It's so ugly" Young wails, and one can't help but wish the music had half as much bite as the lyrics. --Steven Stolder
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Wow Neil, 23 years later a plane did land on water, and all
Richard C. Donovan | Edison, NJ | 01/16/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"After today's miracle in New York, I immediately thought of this forgettable 1986 album. I still own it on vinyl. The one good tract is "Touch the Night," a poor man's "Like a Hurricane." As New Jersey's biggest Neil Young fan, I half understand, but still wonder why, a minor Neil Young album title grabs my attention while I'm watching the US Airways plane floating south down the Hudson River on CNN. Secondly, I wonder whether Neil himself pondered the relevance while he watched from Australia -- he's currently there on tour. Finally, thirdly, and sadly, I did think about the poor souls on the plane. But they're alive. Hey hey, my my.
And lastly, if you own the LP, you realize that there is a cool photo of Neil sitting in an airplane seat, a flotation device strapped to his chest, the plane ready to hit water, and Neil looks scared. Real scared."
One of his Best
E. Willi | 01/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In celebration of the remarkable landing on water on the Hudson River in New York City, January 15, 2009, by US Airways pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger III, I am reminded of this recording by Neil Young.
"Landing on Water" is the hard rock Neil, with his guitar writhing and the drums pounding -- he even uses some synthesizer to good effect, and the San Francisco Boys Chorus adds a spiritual dimension to "Touch the Night". Probably too rocked-out for his folk-oriented listeners and they might be offended by his putting the hippie era behind him with "Hippie Dream": "And the wooden ships [think Jefferson Airplane] / Are a hippie dream / Capsized in excess / ... Another flower child goes to seed / In an ether-filled room of meat-hooks / It's so ugly / So ugly"."