Harvest is Neil Young's biggest studio album conquest in commercial aspects. It was the best selling album of the year in the United States and has remained as a perfect introduction of the artist. Harvest was released early in 1972 and was produced by Neil Young, Elliot Mazer, Henry Lewy and Jack Nitzsche.
1. Out on the Weekend
3. A Man Needs a Maid
4. Heart of Gold
5. Are You Ready for the Country?
6. Old Man
7. There's a World
9. The Needle and the Damage Done
10. Words (Between the Lines of Age)
The first song “Out on the Weekend” begins with a fantastic harmonica solo and the sound is some more harmonic and also the lyrics are partly more positive than Neil Young had used to be (he was actually in love with the actor Carrie Snodgress). Harvest was made in a studio in Nashville, but in the middle of the recordings Neil broke up for a visit to England, where he recorded "A Man Needs a Maid" and "There's a World" with the London Symphony.
Many of the songs are about love and sometimes the alter ego seems to find it, but even more often he is still searching. “A Man Need A Maid” and “Heart of Gold” express this.
The song “Heart of Gold” became one of Neil Young biggest hits. It blends an unforgivable harmonica and a guitar that makes some effective chord riffs.
The public response wasn’t shared by all critics though. Among the most negative receptions came from John Mendelsohn in Rolling Stone who argue that Neil lost all his uniqueness:
He's seemingly lost sight of what once made his music uniquely compelling and evocative and become just another pretty-singing solo superstar.
Despite the fact the sound on the Harvest album are more polished than the previous albums and without the instinctive guitar strumming filled by dynamics as Young used to deliver live, the statement seems a bit exaggerated. Songs like "A Man Need a Maid" and "The Needle and the Damage Done" are very typical Neil Young in different ways and without any diagnosis of a common radio hit decease.
According to an interview with Neil in the book Shakey Neil himself was most satisfied with the title song, "Harvest".
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