Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Buffalo Springfield (as a member of Buffalo Springfield)

The biggest problem with Buffalo Springfield's self-titled album is its lack of identity. With the exception of Stephen Stills' zeitgeist-y classic "For What It's Worth," the songs are indistinguishable from any other generic, Beatles-esque, mid-60's pop-rock group. You could put it on for your folks and tell them its The Zombies or Paul Revere & the Raiders, or whatever, and nobody would bat an eye.

Be that as it may, there are several enjoyable, well-crafted, slightly dopey (sample lyric: "so if you want someone to love you/pretty baby, I'm your guy") generic Beatles-esque, mid-60's pop-rock songs on Buffalo Springfield. Neil wrote five of the twelve tracks, and it's no surprise that I prefer most of them to Stills' tracks. Neil's songs don't show much evidence of his unique style or ambition, but in a weird way it lends interest to them. It's kind of amusing to hear Neil adjusting his style (or perhaps having his style adjusted by others?) to sound more like what was popular at the time. He only gets to sing two of his songs, likely because his voice wasn't nearly as, uh, (how shall I put this?) commercial as Richie Furay's. Turns out that Mr. Young does a pretty good job writing this kind of music. They don't quite sound like Neil Young songs, but "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing" and "Flying On the Ground is Wrong" are pretty catchy. And damn if "Out of My Mind" isn't a beautiful song that I never really appreciated until now.

Rating: C+. It's good, but there's something happening here, and what it is ain't exactly clear. Yet.

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