In 1981, trying to recap on the sound ans style of “Rust Never Sleeps”, Neil Young banded by Crazy Horse records “Reactor.” “Reactor” is my of my top ten Neil Young records due to the mixture of musical styles such as country, punk, new wave and hard rock he incorporates into this album. For the longest time, I had just the record until it was released on CD in 2003.
Musically, this is an enjoyable album. The album is very raw and heavily geared to the guitar sound. Many musical styles are heard on this record from song to song. Neil Young is trying to find his place in the New Wave movement which one can hear on”Rapid Transit.” So, the songs themselves are different. “Shots” is very heavy in sound while “Get Back On it” is more country and bluesy sounding.
Is “Reactor” perfect? No! and far from it. It will set the stage for more experimentation that Neil brings over to Geffen records such as “Trans” after Reprise cuts him from the label. But, this is a very catchy record for me. It’s hard, it’s distorted and yet, simple. However, some of the songs are too simple. “T-bone” is a great example of being too simple. The lyrics are basically “Got mashed potatoes, Ain’t got no t-bone.” repeated throughout the entirety of the nine minute song. But, yet other song structures both lyrically and musically are solid. “Shots” is a great example of that.
I know many criticized Neil for doing this record. Many said the album’s roughness was due to the commitment of album contracts being fulfilled in a hurry, while staying at home caring for his son. Either way, I feel that this I a decent record.
1. “Opera Star” 3:31
2. “Surfer Joe and Moe the Sleaze” 4:15
3. “T-Bone” 9:10
4. “Get Back on It” 2:14
5. “Southern Pacific” 4:07
6. “Motor City” 3:11
7. “Rapid Transit” 4:35
8. “Shots” 7:42