It's far from perfect. It suffers from the typical CSNY problem: outside of CS&N harmonizing well, it doesn't seem like there is much of a collaboration going on. It sounds like a compilation of B-sides from each member's solo material. CS&N all have their talents, but in my esteem Y towers so far above them that I'd rather just listen to one of his albums. I think the best CSNY compilation album would be called Young, Young, Young & Young and it would just be a collection of songs the group recorded that he wrote. Hell, if that existed, I bet I'd give it an "A."
Still, this is an improvement over their last album, even if it still sorta smells like a cash grab. CS&N each contribute some of their best material ("Stand and Be Counted," "Faith in Me," and "Heartland," respectively). Though the album is called Looking Forward, it's old school in sound and in mindset. I'm not sure they intended it, but occasionally the album is a touching portrait of their growing irrelevance and disconnection from modern times. Mostly it's kind of sweet, but I would not be doing my duty if I didn't single out Stills' "Seen Enough" as embarrassing, get-off-my-lawn rantings of an old fogey. Hearing him sing about "gigabyte meth freaks" who are "removed from reality by silicone diodes" would be funny if it didn't make him sound so much like Andy Rooney.
After a decade of mostly Crazy Horse and Horse-esque projects with only a few stray ventures into folk, this album shows Neil transitioning into his next (and perhaps final?) phase: Old Man Neil. Old Man Neil likes to wax nostalgic about his past, sing about his kids, mull over his regrets, write love songs about his wife, and talk about getting old. His best song here is the title track, a sweet and funny ballad where Neil says he's "not waiting for times to change" and jokes that he's "trying not to use the word 'old'." The song is a potent mix of sadness, humor and hope, what will turn out to be the predominant themes for the next decade (and beyond?)
Rating: B -