(photo (cc) zebble)
I almost feel ashamed of myself today, in a kind of tacky, sold-out way. Last time I posted Radiohead, it was an older, very well-known track that most readers and passers-by will already have. This time though, it's a Neil Young cover and if you know anything about the Hype Machine generation will know that it's exactly this sort of thing that'll pull in the punters. Maybe I'll try and post some more obscure Brazilian electronica tomorrow.
But, I'm going to do it anyway. Because, I like the song. So there. It was provided for me by my internet buddy and all round ginge Toby, and many thanks to him. It's actually a good cover, Thom's voice works pretty well on a few of the parts, especially the middle eight there, where he collapses into a sneery shout reminiscent of the "you don't remember, you don't remember..." bit in Paranoid Android.
But I digress, I really didn't mean to talk much about this cover version. Cinnamon Girl was the first Neil Young song I knew and inspired me to get the accompanying album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. This is one of the contenders for his best, I guess, although for some reason I have this and Harvest, and that's it. As to why I've never invested further, answers on a postcard to the usual address, because I don't know. Everybody Knows... is an excellent record, full of some great songs: Down By The River is positively apocalyptic in it's epicosity, and the downtuned, muted guitars prefigure Young's coronation as the Godfather Of Grunge some years later. Cowgirl In The Sand is one of the most enduring songs of his career, and Running Dry has that evocative parentheses, Requiem For The Rockets, an epithet that reeks of a wistful space age nostalgia. But probably the best-known here is Cinnamon Girl, as straightahead a rocker as Young has ever penned.
It's identifiable from the very beginning, with the big ol' powerchord riff bleeding into the harmonised vocals. I love the track, and couldn't pick a favourite bit: would it be the walking-up guitar riff which fades into arpeggio after the chorus? Like Thom, would I pick the wailing middle eight? Or the infamous one-note solo? Maybe the ringing overdrive of the outro guitar? Difficult, but a fun game to play. The song's so classically-constructed that while the consituent components are ace in and of themselves, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
A question I never - but should - ask myself is why would a particular artist cover this particular artist/song. Last time, I felt that Steve Adey just must have had something happen in his life equally as traumatic and far-reaching as Bob Dylan had to be able to sing Shelter From The Storm with such conviction. This time, though, I'm just not sure. Why would someone feel enough of an affinity with Neil Young to cover this? I dunno, sorry. I guess Neil Young's work covers such a wide range that he's touched everybody somehow - whether your oeuvre is acoustic or alt.rock, metal or folk, Young has something in their you can appreciate, so: who am I to question?
Neil Young - Cinnamon Girl
Radiohead - Cinnamon Girl
Artist: Neil Young/Radiohead
Website: Neil's Garage/radiohead.com
Recommended: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere/OK Computer
Buy: Amazon NY/R
More: Hype Machine NY/R; elbo.ws NY/R
If you like this you might like: Muse - Showbiz
Tags: Neil Young; Radiohead; Cinnamon Girl; alternative; indie; cover