So Neil embraces hard rock and finally makes an album that you'd want to shake your ass to. But that's not the only improvement. I realized going back to Everybody Knows This is Nowhere how solid the production is. Unlike the needlessly over-textured sound of Neil Young, this album sounds clean and stripped down. Nothing is getting between the listener and the songs, and it is some great songwriting indeed. You can also clearly isolate each instrument in the mix, which helped me further appreciate the album's emphasis on riffing and exploring.
If I'm giving the impression that this album is some sort of shapeless jam session, that's just not the case. The songwriting is across-the-board excellent, from the nostalgic title track, to the to the playfully downbeat "The Losing End," to the rousing 10 minute finale "Cowgirl in the Sand." And it's not all hard rock, either: "Round and Round (It Won't Be Long)" is one of Neil's most beautiful ballads.