Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Reprise, March 14, 1969
Track Listing: 1. Cinnamon Girl, 2. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, 3. Round & Round (It Won’t Be Long), 4. Down by the River, 5. The Losing End (When You’re On), 6. Running Dry (Requiem for the Rockets), 7. Cowgirl in the Sand
I don’t get it.
So what is this? Are these reviews?
What are you selling?
Although there have been favorable reactions to the Library of Inspiration, of course there are other reactions too.
“Round and round and round we spin”
-from “Round & Round (It Won’t Be Long)”
In a word, this is nowhere. Like the black hole in cyberspace where these library walls reside, our disagreements about art lead to a place that everybody knows is nowhere. On the other hand, if the questions raised are genuine and not just thinly veiled daggers of hollow criticism, then I ask, “You got a minute?”
It’s the funk of a typical Monday. Or the drain of February. The logjam of winter. Sweat dripping down on hot August nights. Maybe it is just some loonies, pissing in the wind. Letting it out. Because they have to. Can’t stand another day in the dirty wasteland.
“I gotta get away from this day-to-day running around
Everybody knows this is nowhere”
-from “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”
But one thing is certain. This black hole of essays isn’t just about the art or the artists it celebrates. There is another side to this equation of inspiration. That is, the audience. What do you do when you see a great film? Does something burn inside you, screaming to get out? Do you just have to tell someone about this amazing experience you’ve had?
“You will not believe this album. You really won’t believe it.”
“You have to read the Ferris book? I laughed my fucking ass off! So touching too.”
“I sat in the back of the theater after Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind ended, and I broke down. Literally, broke down. I wasn’t sure why I had such a crazy strong reaction to a film, in public no less, until I thought about it later. Until I called you and we talked about it.”
You. Me and you.
Without an audience, what happens to the art? Furthermore, without a friend to share your reactions, what becomes of the experience?
“Oh, please help me
Oh please help me
I’m livin’ by myself
I need someone to comfort me
I need someone to tell”
-from “Running Dry (Requiem For The Rockets)”
So let me tell you this. But first let us open a bottle of wine and sit by the fire. Turn off the TV. This is a time for discussion. I just wanted to tell you a rather random thought I’ve been thinking about lately: how I have never stopped loving the album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, and how I always come back to it. Yeah, yeah. No big surprise, right? Because I love so many Neil Young albums, you say. But I always come back here. The charge of it. Time and time again. When I need the jolt. Key in the ignition. With Neil Young and Danny Whitten tying knots around each other’s groove, I feel it every time. I’m in.
“Be on my side
I’ll be on your side”
-from “Down By The River”
Do you feel it too? It is relentless. The next song too. And the next.
The streets are flooded. There is a river of emotions, a water main break pouring out of the speakers. Neil Young exploding on the scene with his second album. Whitten’s gone-too-soon epitaph.
“This much madness
Is too much sorrow”
-from “Down By The River”
But the ultimate thrill of this chrome joy ride is the seamless thread that joins it all together. It is what always brings me back. It is the funked-out groove that never lets up from start to finish. Reminds me of The Stones on Beggars Banquet or Exile on Main Street, when an album takes you for a ride. The entire album—not just one song—is the trip, as if each moment of every song is an essential link in the chain, joining together to lead you somewhere extraordinary. Doesn’t really matter where. You just know it is a place you really want to be. You can feel it. When the music’s over, the gas tank is empty but it doesn’t matter because you have arrived.
This is an album.
Or, more questions. What the hell? Who cares what Joe Schmo from Anywhere, USA has to say about Neil Young or Brian De Palma or Jack Kerouac?
Ultimately, maybe you say that this virtual trip is rubbish. Or that this particular reflection on Neil Young isn’t your cup of tea.
Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll go try this Neil Young album on for size just to see what it is all about. If you already have it, perhaps these words simply serve as a push that helps pop the clutch of rediscovery.
Maybe you will even find out that this black hole is distinctly somewhere, a place we’re in together. A place that contains the power to do nothing short of ignite your slumbering soul. On a Monday.
A kiss from a stranger. You feeling frisky tonight, baby?
No? Not in the mood? So you click another trip. Fargo, anyone?
Anyone out there?