Kris Nicholson

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Ever since Time Fades Away, Neil Young has been expressing himself with a personally spontaneous and haphazard simplicity. He abandoned structure and perfection for a looseness induced by senses that were dulled in order to ease the pain.

At least we can thank him for offering insights into emotionally vulnerable times. The mournful moments were allowed to sound as painful as they were, undisguised by musical perfection—which never really sooths the pain (viz. Joni Mitchell) but merely represses or identifies with it. The bumps, the wrong turns and the loosely recorded music of the last three albums captured the feeling of moments before they passed. Songs were raw because messages were raw.

On Zuma Young recovers from his unstructured sorrow, as promised on "Motion Pictures"—"I'm deep inside myself, but I'll get out somehow." His catharsis has apparently wrought some salvation. If you found struggling beauty in Young's past of desperation, Zuma is a thoroughly rewarding recovery….

Kris Nicholson, "Capsuie Reviews: 'Zuma'," in Crawdaddy (copyright © 1976 by Crawdaddy Publishing Co., Inc.; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), April, 1976, p. 76.

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