Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

With the second solo album, even more pieces fell into place, and a new artist with a distinctive voice finds a more mature expression. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere was released in May 1969 on Reprise Records. Neil Young recorded with Crazy Horse for the first time. The producers were Neil Young and David Briggs.

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere cover


1. Cinnamon Girl
2. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
3. Round & Round (It Won't Be Long)
4. Down by the River
5. The Losing End (When You're On)
6. Running Dry (Requiem for the Rockets)
7. Cowgirl in the Sand

Compared to the debut album, Neil Young the second album got more tempo overall and the production is clearly better. It could also be claimed that this album lacks some of the beautiful harmonies that belong to songs like “Here We Are in the Years” and the imagination in “The Last Trip to Tulsa”.

The opening song "Cinnamon Girl" was written for the previous album and the hard rock guitar driven sound own similarities with that on "The Loner". "Cinnamon Girl" also separates from the other songs on Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.

But there are also acoustic songs with a slow tempo like “Round & Round (It Won’t Be Long)”. The mood is still gloomy in many ways as the previous album, that else with song titles like “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” and “Round & Round (I Won’t Be Long)”?

A verse like the one below can both be read as an existential or reflection of a time when heavy drugs cause many to die young:

How the hours will bend
through the time that you spend
till you turn to your eyes,
And you see your best friend
looking over the end
and you turn to see why,
And he looks in your eyes and he cries.

In a review in Rolling Stone from 1969 Bruce Miroff choose "Cowgirl in the Sand" as the best moment on the record:

On "Cowgirl in the Sand" everything works. The lyrics are quietly accusative, while the lead guitar, alternately soaring, piercing, and driving, keeps the song surging forward. But it is Young's singing which is the real key to the success of this track. "Cowgirl in the Sand" demonstrates quite clearly the peculiar depths of Young's voice. It indicates how rock manages, again and again, to triumph over high school music teachers and their legions. 

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere was a personal triumph for Neil that finally accomplish things that he didn’t have succeeded with before. In Buffalo Springfield, he had to abandon some of his ideas and at the first solo album, Neil Young, the sound of the recordings weren't able to get through the mixing. The companionship with Crazy Horse resulted in longer guitar solos and Neil seems to be more secure in his singing.

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