Neil Young - “Return to Greendale” Review

Story posted November 10, 2020 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Emily McGlynn

Whether fans asked for it or not, Neil Young has made more music to be listened to.

Young paired up with the band Crazy Horse again. This team is feeling nostalgic and did a live performance of their 2003 album “Greendale.” Finally, the live 2020 version is here: “Return To Greendale.”

This is Neil Young’s third piece of music he has released this year alone. He released an album, “Homegrown,” and an EP “The Times.” Many people likely don’t realize the amount of music Young has created this year. Crazy Horse is best known for collaborating with Young.

The pair went down memory lane and performed their 2003 album a second time. Is it better than the in-studio production? No.

Some people are fans of album live recordings rather than the albums produced in the studio. There is Nirvana’s “MTV Unplugged In New York” and Peter Frampton’s “Frampton Comes Alive!” but Neil Young did not achieve this level of music purity. The energy levels must be at an all-time high during the recordings for listeners to love it.

After listening through “Return to Greendale” and the original album “Greendale,” it was quite disappointing. “Greendale” is not a bad album. It is a rock opera and it comes with concert film. The only way for people to enjoy it is to watch and listen to it, not just listen.

This has been said before, but many would probably choose to listen to the studio recorded album than this live recording. It sounds better when it has been recorded in the studio.

The lyrics are the focus of this record. Throughout the album, it talks about the Bush administration, anti-war sentiments, environmentalism and capitalism. Each song is a memoir of people’s lives and how they correlate with these themes.

“Grandpa’s Interview” is a 13 minute rendition of what the lost generation has been through. “Sun Green” talks about the hard work of working in rural areas. Most of the songs are a conversation, which is not usually seen.

“Return To Greendale” is 70 minutes long, filled with chill rock tunes. Each song is accompanied with a snazzy guitar and monotonous drums. Young is known for how slow his songs are as there are not any “get out of your chair and dance” type songs.

This would be a great soundtrack for dad’s grilling outside and then discussing the economy on the porch.

The live recording of “Return to Greendale” diminished the meaning from the original. For fans who are a fan of live recordings and love Neil Young, this album will be a go-to.

Unfortunately, it did not wow this listener.

Rating: 5/10

Reviewer’s favorite song: “Devil’s Sidewalk” and “Bandit”

Least favorite song: “Carmichael” and “Grandpa’s Interview”


Emily McGlynn is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email at