In 1983, Neil Young‘s record label sued him for 3.3 million dollars for not sounding like Neil Young. So what was the deal? He got the MTV mullet just like Geddy Lee and Eric Clapton. They were probably happy about that. But he also got his hands on a Sennheiser VSM-201 vocoder and was fraternizing with those weirdos from Devo. Worse than that, he recorded an album full of unsellable, synthesized ROBO MUSIC! And even worse than that, he made it the soundtrack to an even more unsellable weirdo movie that nobody understands!! Then he had the gall to play his unsellable weirdo robomusic soundtrack for the better half of his HBO concert special!!!
To be fair, Trans isn’t all indistinguishable cybo-rock. As part of the album’s concept, the vocals and music shift back and forth between sounding like good ‘ol Neil (Little Thing Called Love/Like an Inca/Hold on to Your Love) to sounding like a chorus line from Battlestar Galactica (Sample and Hold/Computer Cowboy AKA Skycrusher/Transformer Man), climaxing in a fusion of both styles, with a cover version of The Buffalo Springfield‘s “Mr Soul“, which is given the Devo-Satisfaction-Treatment.
Now, for both Neil Young fans and Devotees, here’s ”Sample and Hold” live in Berlin, and a beautifully mutated version of ‘Out of the Blue Into the Black’, from the movie Human Highway, featuring the Spud Boys themselves, along with Neil Young totally shredding on guitar, and Boogie Boy on synthesizer and lead vocals:
NEXT WEEK: BRING ON THE SPACE MAIDENS!