11 March 2013

11th March - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's Deja Vu

Artist – Album: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Déjà Vu
Released: 11th March 1970
Sounds Like: A group falling apart, together

It’s quite common to say ‘they don’t make them like this anymore’ when listening to older music, but, honestly, they really, really don’t make them like this anymore. There’s no one around who’s like Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young any more, never mind four them working together in hippy country rock harmony.

Harmony is both entirely appropriate and wholly misplaced in the case of this album. It works because throughout the record the foursome layer their soothing voices in exquisite patterns, wrapped up together so tight it’s as if they’ve come from the same heart, like that massive multi-headed Hydra that Hercules had to have a fight with back in the day. But harmonic is not a good word to describe the relationships within the quartet. The group constantly fought and bickered as egos and alternative directions threatened to tear the group apart. CSN&Y may still be the biggest supergroup the world has ever seen and it’s hardly surprising that they struggled to hold it all together.

Fortunately, the infighting is not apparent on listening to Déjà Vu, their debut as a four piece. This may be because most of the music was written and recorded separately, but the way the album works so well together and each string plucked and word sung complements the next so perfectly. Graham Nash’s ‘Teach Your Children´ captured the hippy zeitgeist perfectly, but so did Crosby’s ‘Almost Cut My Hair’ and the group’s combined effort to cover Joni Mitchell’s ‘Woodstock’. Neil Young’s ‘Helpless’ may have contributed as much as anything to the arguments as the group struggled to find the correct arrangement, but the final result is a beautifully sombre piece that wouldn’t work without each of them chirping in on the chorus.

They don’t make like this anymore, and they may never again. Not because they don’t want to, it’s just difficult to be this good again.

Albumaday... rating: 9/10

1.       Carry On – 4:26
2.       Teach Your Children – 2:53
3.       Almost Cut My Hair – 4:31
4.       Helpless – 3:33
5.       Woodstock – 3:54
6.       Déjà Vu – 4:12
7.       Our House – 2:59
8.       4 +20 – 2:04
9.       Country Girl – 5:11
10.   Everybody I Love You – 2:21

Listen to ‘Helpless’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZpwe-mzb64

Also released on the 11th March:
2011: The Vaccines – What Did You Expect from The Vaccines?

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