Tuesday, October 15, 2019

On the Beach

Here is how I like... things.

Acloholic drinks...................herbal, bittersweet
Vacation destinations..................Italian



Sad sad sad sad sad sad sad! I like sad music, sad sad music!

Since I like my music sad it seemed only fair to start my 100 greatest albums of all time (wherein each album is individually the greatest album of all time) with a nice, dark, depressive, deeply sad album. And so I have, choosing the eminently bloozy, grim, bleak, heartbroken, dark, melancholy, and gorgeous masterpiece On the Beach, which Neil Young, the album's creator, called "One of the most depressing records I've ever made."

Neil Young was just being modest. It's far and away the most depressing record he ever made. It might be the most depressing record anyone ever made. Relationship shattered, fame coming to pieces, friends all dying of heroin overdoses, stoned out of his mind, this thing is a dismal work of lucid wonder, stirring the depths, unaccountable, striking notes that thrum the core of the earth, the deep ocean. All our unfathomable hearts are played to at half speed, but with all the time in the world. This album is being pleasantly drunk as the rain pours down outside your window and some bleak future is for a moment nearly blissfully forgotten. It's out of time, an unsolvable mystery that would do you no good if you could solve it. It is a broken dream you strove after all your life but never wanted.

The world is turning. I hope it don't turn away.

In all the history of music we can profitably walk away with only this:

"Though my problems are meaningless, that don't make them go away."

This is the greatest album ever made.

On the Beach


  1. Amazing that 40 years after first hearing "Ambulance Blues" it still rings with such depth. I think Neil was the first music I heard who gave voice to the plaintive without any coating, but also turned it into a sad, shared beauty. I could write a lot more but I have to head for the turnstiles.

    1. I like "plaintive without any coating". His voice is just so... good, it cuts hearts.

      We all need our hearts cut open, don't we? Is that blood pouring out, or jewels?

      And the home crowd scatters.


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