Rob Brunner
September 05, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

American Stars 'N Bars

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Neil Young (Musician)
Producers
Reprise Records
genre
Reissues

We gave it a B-

Of all the many missing bits and pieces of Neil Young’s swiss-cheese catalog, On the Beach has left the largest hole. Released in 1974 and never before available on CD, it’s the final album of what’s known as his ”doom trilogy,” and the cavern-black atmosphere lives up to that dismal billing. The sound is stripped-down and casual, but the vibe is intense. ”I hear that Laurel Canyon is full of famous stars,” he sings, supposedly in the voice of a Manson Family member, ”but I hate them worse than lepers and I’ll kill them in their cars.” The other three albums — late-’70s and early-’80s toss-offs also on CD for the first time — are not essential, but even Young’s most mediocre efforts manage plenty of inspired moments.

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