Freedom” has earned over the years being among the most important albums Neil Young has released. For us and for himself. It was taking up the reins of a career that in the dying decade had made him an erratic and irrelevant artist.
With “Freedom” he seemed to reconcile with the art of making songs with capital letters. Suddenly, when few expected it, it surprised the world with a long hour of appetizing and brilliant music.
The first three cuts shine with their own light. An acoustic “Rockin ‘in the Free World” that was repeated in an electrified version to close the album. It was clear that a decade later he intended to repeat the play of “Rust Never Sleeps” (1979) with a double classic called to endure. After “Crime in the City”, with his Mark Knopfler-style guitar and the abrupt “Don’t Cry”, few would doubt that he would succeed. Maybe he gets out of hand in the sweet moments (“Hangin ‘On a Limb”, “The Ways of Love”, “Someday”, “Wrecking Ball”) but in one way or another he ends up playing the fiber. “Eldorado” is a wonderful Hispanic fantasy with castanets included. “On Broadway” is bundled in neon to be electrocuted with glory. “No More” brings us back to the classic that always was and should never have been forgotten. Like that wonder called “Too Far Gone”, semi-acoustic delight with the best aromas of that meadow that he has drawn like no one else.
Freedom” is a great album, There’s no doubt. Although it may seem like a simple aperitif before the rotundity of “Ragged Glory” (1991), it has earned its status on its own merits. There are a handful of indelible moments rounded off by the electric catharsis of “Rockin ‘in the Free World”. The distortion sculpted in the art based on spasms and chills. Pure Neil Young and unadulterated.
You can listen to the full album below: