Neil Young's 10 Weirdest, WTF Albums

Since 1968, Neil Young has released more than one album a year. 

Some of these records are among the greatest ever produced in the blues-derived idiom known as rock 'n' roll. 

And some of them are tremendous pieces of shit. Or at least, like, confusing as fuck. 

But, hey, that's a big part of the perennial rocker's legacy: Doing whatever the fuck he wants, whenever the fuck he wants. Because he's Neil Young, dammit. 

Here are County Grind's 10 favorite albums by Neil Young that might make you say (and/or type) "WTF?!?" 

10. Sleeps With Angels (1994)

The least weird of Neil's weird albums, this early '90s brooder was a doom-and-gloom follow-up to the equally bummed out "Ditch Trilogy" (Time Fades Away, On The Beach, and Tonight's The Night) of the 1970s. Only this time, there isn't as much free-associative Tequila-inspired improvisation. And, uh, the whole thing is about Kurt Cobain.

9. Living With War (2006)

Ol' Man Neil tries to make amends with the hippies he bummed out in the '80s when he hung with Willie Nelson and voted for Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately, he wrote a record frozen in time. And, might we add, it's a slice of the temporal pie -- the George Dubya Bush era -- that we have no interest in revisiting

8. Chrome Dreams II (2007)

Only Neil could crap out a compilation of stray tracks from different eras and title it a sequel to a legendary album that never came out, and get away with it. But then again, it's that kinda shit that makes him Neil Fucking Young in the first place. To love the man is to love his ADD genius.

7. Landing on Water (1986)

Neil's discography contains two records that took a stab at synth-pop in varying magnitudes. This is the shittier one.

6. Are You Passionate? (2002)

Hey, this album, especially the title track, ain't half bad. But no matter how enjoyable, we're still talking about a suite of songs featuring Neil Young crooning "Blue Moon"-esque Happy Days sockhop slow dance numbers.

5. Arc (1991)

Neil really wasn't joking when he told you to roll another one for the road. This is his equivalent to Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music. Only this collage of feedback and amp-blowing was released in earnest and not as a contract-fulfilling jab at his record label.

4. Dead Man Soundtrack (1996)

Leave it to American director Jim Jarmusch to inspire Neil's most successful art house endeavor to date. Arc was out there, but it was ultimately a studio composition. This soundtrack to the 1995 cult film starring Johnny Depp falls somewhere on the ambient/noise/drone/stoner/metal spectrum. And we bet Neil hasn't even heard any of those type of bands. He probably hasn't listened to anything besides his own records since, like, Buffalo Springfield. Oh, he probably heard of Pearl Jam at some point.

3. Americana (2012)

While only the third WTF Neil Young album, it is definitely the number one wackiest record the prolific legend has released in his five decade long career. After more than 10 years off with his default back-up group, Crazy Horse, Neil got the band back together for another victory lap. Only, uh, he wanted them to record an entire album of knee-slappin' barnyard standards like "She'll Be Comin' Round The Mountain" and "Clementine." Way to give the fans what they want, Neil. (P.S. NOT!)

2. Trans (1982)

This is Neil Young's successful synth record. Only in recent times have folks come around to fully understanding Trans. At the time of its release, it was the beginning of the dark ages for purists hoping their hero would recreate After The Gold Rush.

1. Everybody's Rockin' (1983)

Neil followed Trans with this glorious turd of a rockabilly record. This is what happens when you're Neil Young: nobody ever tells you, "No!"

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories