Sunday, June 9, 2013

Neil Young - Trans (1982 Geffen Records)

in 1982, Neil Young, having freshly inked a lucrative contract with David Geffen's new record label after an entire career at Reprise, set out to properly fuck everything up by releasing the mind boggling electronic album Trans.  inspired by the early new wave punks like Devo and german krautrock band Kraftwerk, Young threw all classic rock expectations out the window and crafted an innovative, futuristic landscape with synthesizers and vocoder vocal effects that were on the cutting edge of the early 80's and is, strangely, still relevant with the electronic bands of today.  many thought the album was done satirically with tongue firmly planted in cheek, but it's meaning was far deeper than that.  most fans did not realize that Young was the father of a son disabled with cerebral palsy and that Trans was designed as an experiment for Young to cross the wide communication barrier that stood between them.  his son responded favorably to these new electronic sounds so it became the focus of his new music, regardless of the expectations from his new label boss or his many fans.

 few would argue that it is among Young's finest records, but it definitely deserves to have the dust blown off of it and is worth revisiting.  it is as much of a head-scratcher today as it was over 30 years ago, and still stands as one of the bravest and most individualistic experiments ever attempted by an established rock star.

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