Neil Young's latest release Homegrown is a loose, country-rock-soaked album. Photo / Gary Burden.

Music Review: New Albums From Neil Young & Bob Dylan

Music critic Karl Puschmann takes a closer look at two new releases from the musical icons

Two very different albums recently surfaced from two of music’s all-time greats. Neil Young rolled up with Homegrown, a loose, country-rock-soaked break-up of an album that he made in 1975 but kept locked away for more than 40 years due to the heartache it captured at the time.

Despite the sentiment that saw it shelved, it’s not all the quiet acoustic charting of a deteriorating relationship. 

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Neil alleviates the emotional load by breaking into some classic blues-era stompers like the title track, slurs electric guitar all over the hazy harmonica-driven bar-room rocker We Don’t Smoke It No More and dissolves into the odd spot of druggy weirdness on Florida.

Purists will recognise some of the tracks here, Neil reworked them and gave them homes on later records but this is their original form and how they were intended to be listened to.

Taking a different tack is Bob Dylan, who just released his first batch of new songs in eight years. Rough and Rowdy Ways is accurately titled and sees Bob showing his hand while remaining as enigmatic and cryptic as ever.

LISTEN: I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You by Bob Dylan

The songs here flit between styles but are all anchored by Bob's gravelly croak, whether crooning on the gospel-flavoured I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You, bemusedly deconstructing himself on I Contain Multitudes or singin’ the blues on Crossing the Rubicon.

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But it all leads up to Murder Most Foul, a show-stopping, jaw-dropping, sprawling 17-minute, almost spoken-word epic that recounts the JFK assassination before going on to encompass culture, society, history, art and music to become a song for our times. Simply, a masterpiece.

Both are out now.

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