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Neil Young and Crazy Horse, ‘Walk Like a Giant’ – Song Review

Neil Young
Warner Brothers

There’s great news for Neil Young fans; not only is the iconic rocker releasing a new album with the world’s greatest garage band on Oct. 30, from the sound of its first single, ‘Psychedelic Pill’ is going to be a classic Crazy Horse production.

‘Walk Like a Giant’ is being released in its full-length 16-minute version, as well as an edited single for radio. The track features the sonic qualities you’d expect from Crazy Horse, with fuzzy, on-the-verge-of-feedback-because-we’re-playing-too-loud guitars, the straight-ahead drum and bass patterns that hold the group’s musical chaos together, and Neil Young’s inimitable guitar playing and singing.

Lyrically the song recalls the halcyon days of Young’s youth, when he and his musical collaborators truly believed that the music they were making was going to bring about a lasting social revolution. “I used to walk like a giant on the land / Now I feel like a leaf floating in a stream,” Young sings. “Me and some of my friends, we were gonna save the world / We were trying to make it better / But then the weather changed and the white got stained, and it fell apart / And it breaks my heart to think about how close we came.”

But while Young is clearly wistful for the lost innocence of that era, he is not giving up on the present; the song’s refrain is, “I want to walk like a giant on the land.”

The full-length version of ‘Walk Like a Giant’ features very long passages of the type of free-form guitar solos that are Young’s trademark with Crazy Horse, which at one point threaten to break down into pure musical white noise. It also gives listeners a full dose of Young’s signature nasally keening vocal wail, which never really sounds any better or any worse — it simply exists as a vehicle for him to deliver his songs.

It’s a lengthy effort of ambitious scope, but make no mistake — with its strict adherence to a garage rock (or in Young’s case, barn rock) ethos, ‘Walk Like a Giant’ is still pure, unadulterated Crazy Horse.

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