Saturday Deluxe / 2 December 2017

Neil Young Archives

Neil Young‘s online digital archive went live yesterday.

In a welcome message, Young first reminds us that listening to music has been one of the the “great joys” of his life, before going on to make his feelings clear about audio quality and what he sees as the failings of the music industry (and Apple in particular) to deliver “top-quality audio recordings”.

He says “the technology exists for everyone to have the choice of top-quality audio. Let the people decide. It would be easy for music lovers to make a choice if top-quality audio was offered by iTunes, rendering it obvious how good it sounds.”

He continues, “with control of an art form’s commerce comes some responsibility. Apple while controlling the flow of music to the masses, has failed to be responsible.”

All this brings us round to his archive and why it’s so important for him that the music available in the new archive is available at the highest possible digital quality.

The digital archive is certainly an ambitious undertaking and it’s too early to reach any conclusions about how effective the site is and indeed whether ‘the masses’ really care about audio quality. Many would argue that that battle was lost when people happily traded quality (well mastered music on CD) for convenience brick-walled masterings as MP3s, delivered on portable devices (first iPods, then mobile phones).

Head over to the Neil Young Archives site and leave some feedback/thoughts here at SDE.

SDE ChartWatch

Even with the constant promotion in the UK thanks to their cover of The Beatles‘ Golden Slumbers being used on the John Lewis Christmas Advert (for those not in the UK this has, for some reason, because festive obsession in Britain) Elbow‘s greatest hits only went in at number 13 on the physical album charts, while Björk‘s new album Utopia enters at a lowly number 26.

Tears For FearsRule The World is performing steadily at dropping only six places to 34 from 28 which will crucially maintain its presence on supermarket shelves. The album will get a sales boast next week because the 2LP vinyl edition was released yesterday.

Morrissey / Low In High School
‘Unnatural’ sales – Morrissey’s Low in High School

Morrissey‘s Low in High School had entered the physical album chart last week and number four, helped by the ludicrous amount of different editions and all the various coloured vinyl pressings. But as Terence Trent D’Arby once sang, you will pay tomorrow for what you do today, and once what you might call ‘unnatural’ sales (fans buying multiple copies of the same record) are taken out of the equation, it has dropped like a stone on the physical album chart, and Low in High School is number 44 in its second week.

You’d think the Eagles Hotel California reissue would have done quite well. There was a fair amount of advertising in London on the Underground network, and if fact I snapped one of the ads a few weeks back (originally posted on the SDE Instagram account). But it entered at number 61, which might be a product of a rather overpriced super deluxe edition (£85 for a 2CD+Blu-ray set, anyone?) and underwhelming content (5.1 is great, but only 10 bonus live tracks).

Andrew Ridgeley

Cherry Red are reissuing Andrew Ridgeley‘s one and only solo album, 1990’s Son of Albert as an expanded edition with six bonus tracks.

None of the bonus tracks are new to CD (since all the singles at the time came out on CD single) and I would imagine the market for this reissue is rather small but, hey, the guy was in one of the best pop bands of the 1980s and Cherry Red are probably confident of shifting a few thousand copies of what is a pretty dire album.

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[…] Andrew Ridgeley / Son of Albert […]

Michael Weber

Using NY Archives for a couple of weeks now. Beautifully made in retro style. Some of the songs are not available though…Does that mean, they’ll be made available once you start paying in July? Other than that, getting a lot of information out of this amazing body of work. Thank you Neil Young and Paul for sharing! Cheers!


I want that Eagles HC poster :) What a beauty!

Kevin Lewis

Please Neil – back up the on-line archive with proper Physical releases!!!!!!

Wayne Klein

I Think the Eagles release also reflects buying fatigue. HC has been remastered twice, sold in the album boxed set and received a DVD-A and Sacd. The live tracks are nice but it would have been better to have a couple of concerts on the Blu-ray, in addition more than 10 tracks. The 5.1 mix is nice to have but there have to be other incentives and I doubt that Henley was willing g to reach out to Felder to request his demos for HC, VOL and if they had a rough mix anywhere of the erased vocal that Felder supplied for VOL, alternate guitar solos remixed into or alternate takes with various rough tales available, including those would have helped sell the album. If you also account for streaming of Eagles (and Hd tracks downloads) material as well with the cost (it’s way overpriced and priced at a premium because of their stature whereas Jethro Tull for example offers the same amount of material for less by comparison), it probably took a healthy bite out of the release. With some special pricing for the holidays it might creep up a bit on the charts. They will probably make the same amount of money selling less at a higher price as selling more for a lower and took a calculated risk.


I don’t get when people talk about convenience vs quality, specific to music, as something new. Cassettes and fm are of a lesser quality to vinyl but far more convenient and hence found a market. More people owned cassette players and walkmen, vs turn tables, back in the day… mp3 is just a continuation of that trend. Flac vs mp3 is a similar arguement as well although the gap is shrinking as storage and bandwidth become more affordable.


I’m in for Son of Albert. I have the original release, and while it’s no Faith, it’s not bad by any means. If you buy it looking for an extension of Wham!’s sound, then you’d be really disappointed, but I think that was also the case with George’s solo work.

Randy Metro

I solved my problem with getting into the Neil Young archive. I ignored the pop-up window asking me to sign in with my Google (or FB for others) email account. I simply signed up with a new email account.

Once I was in, I found the site to be awfully awkward to use, but I’ll figure it out.

Donal M

With the truly groundbreaking NY Archives, now launched online, does this mean, we will never see a physical version, of Archives Vol,2,3,4,5 etc. ?

In any event, the online Archives is, well, just incredible, and much better than i ever thought


I wondered the same thing.

Justin Isbell

The NYA site looked great when Neil went through his tutorial. Plays really well at 320bps but when I flick the switch to master I get ‘chopped up’ sounds, the music’s unlistenable. almost like as it hits my PC it’s being overlaid on other parts of the track. btw shouldn’t be a bandwidth issue as I have a 150mps connection. I’m still feeling my way around the site so maybe I’ve done something wrong (but probably a teething issue).

Justin Isbell

Working fine now (on Edge), although on my PC downstairs it refused to run on IE though it also worked fine on Chrome. Sounds lovely :-)


The NY archive is great! I also love The Charlatan’s new iPhone app. Lot’s of great, innovative music tech coming out for fans…and both of these are free (presently)!!


I’m very happy to see the other’s wham! being reissued ! It still misses one mix (Red Dress “Instrumental Mix” which is not a ‘No Voice’ mix at all), and probably no fan of George Michael (apart of me) will buy this, but i’m quite happy now with this !


I think the Archives are incredible! Sure, you can still not listen to all of the music, but what is there is really impressive. Also the timeline already shows some unreleased albums and projects and if you click on an album, you already see the series it will be published and its number.
Luckily I have no bandwidth problems here and can enjoy all in master quality. Truly a fascinating project, unparalleled by any other artist so far.


Kind of surprised about Bjork’s low sales tbh. The low placement makes sense given the holiday season and the fact that she’s nowhere near mainstream, but seems like she got swallowed up by poor release timing more than expected. Not that she’ll care, at all, though.


The Neil Young site is great. The timeline looks a lot like the Archives Vol 1 blu-ray. But remember, for that he promised to add tracks later via BD Live and how many did he end up adding, something like nine? Neil gets bored easily. Hopefully he will stick with this one longer.

Randy Metro

I can’t get into Young’s site. I keep getting a “wrong email or password.” I tried several times. Refreshed the page to start over. To make sure I wasn’t out of my mind, I went to another unrelated site where I had to log in with my Google account. My email & password worked there, as it should. Something wrong with the Neil Young site.

Seth Hollander

I can’t get in either. Page won’t load for me in Firefox. Loads in Safari but won’t open the dialogue box for me to submit my Google id and pw- just a spinning wheel and no way to get in. Waited 29 years since he announced the initial Archive plans, so what’s a little longer? Stopped really caring at least a decade ago. Very happy that that Blue Notes Cafe collection came out last year, though!


Thanks for quoting Terence Trent D’arby’s title “You Will Pay Tomorrow”. He lost a lot of fans with Neither Fish Nor Flesh, but not me. I still loved that album (and I have everything he released under his original name). It’s a pity Sananda is putting so much subpar un(der)produced songs out.


Agreed. I have every Terence Trent release, but only a couple of the Sananda albums because…well, you want to talk “dire.” There is an incredible amount of talent there, but like pretty much ANY genius, he needs to have someone on the payroll who says, “No,” once in awhile, rather than just releasing every single thing he commits to recording.


Have to say, the Neil Young site is beautiful and amazing. Have already spent a few hours looking and listening.


Concerning Neil Young Archives, it took me some time to get used to the interface ; beside, it’s a great project but I think I’ll wait a few months before drawing any conclusions.

For the time being, it’s great, you have all Neil Young discography. I was expecting a little more… Maybe not Homegrown (that was on my Santa’s list) but maybe a few unreleased live shows or the alternative “Time Fades Away” Neil talked about.

The sound is great if you have a very fast internet connection; if you don’t, you get the same sound as on other streaming services. Which means that today, I don’t have anything new to hear on this site than on Spotify, for instance.

Also, I thought this would be a great opportunity to release the different versions of tracks or albums… The debut eponymous album is present twice, but links to the same tracks (and the second release had some remixed tracks)… The photos and pictures are great, but audiowise the site doesn’t bring anything new and was a bit of a letdown. What I fear is that the first updates will be made when the site will pass as a paid one and by that time he would remove again all of his albums from other streaming services… So, let’s wait and see.


I am very impressed with the Neil Young Archive and his generosity in providing all of his music (and more) in high resolution for free until end of June next year (after which, we are promised, a subscription option will be available for a modest fee). Mr. Young even took the time to create a tutorial for using the web site (yes, he is showing you around the archive himself). Big kudos and thanks, Neil!


I respectfully, but vehemently, disagree with the Andrew Ridgeley “pretty dire album” comment. I bought that album back in 1990 when it came out and absolutely enjoy it. In fact I still have it!

There is nothing that comes close to GM stuff, but the songs Red Dress, Mexico and Shake ate fantastic pop songs that I haven’t ever tired of. Please anyone who hasn’t heard it, give it a chance. It’s not that bad as you might fear!

Chris Squires

A very passionate defense. Fair play to you. It was never going to be loved when put up against Faith & LWPv.1 etc.

Larry Davis

It actually sounds like a good 80s hard rock record with a pop twist… A bit like Cheap Trick…not dire at all, and shocking in that it doesn’t suck. Even his Chic cover of “Hangin'” would make Nile Rodgers proud…


The Neil Young site is really amazing, and I do like the fact that he remains (un)compromising in his own idiosyncratic way – having made a site that loks great on a big monitor, well, no access on a mobile makes sense. But more importantly, with good broadband you can stream at 24/192, so plug the computer into the stereo (DAC) and you have a really fantastic sound. And free until end of June 2018 should give us plenty of time to enjoy the classics and reassess the more dubious releases.

Auntie "Scrooge"Sabrina

I’m all for choice regarding music and if people want to download lower quality rips for a pound then that’s there choice. As regards the likes of Elbow/Tears For Fears and many of these new releases which are vying for our money, come the last week in Deccember they may well be £5 or so. I’m saving my cash ’till then


I’ve tried to log on to Neil Young’s Archive a couple of times now, and my laptop doesn’t like it saying that the site is not secure. Is anyone else having this problem?


Works just fine for me. It doesn’t work on your mobile mind you which would be nice. It’s pretty amazing that he makes all songs available for free. Looks like we will also see i unreleased songs and live shows as well as films coming soon.

Darren Briscoe

Morrissey will never be loved by the masses which is a shame as High School is a damn good album!


Playing to 40,000 people in 2 nights at the Hollywood Bowl, and 21,000 people on Sat night in NY’s Madison Square Garden, I’d say that was love by the masses. Who else at 58 can perform in front of that many fans?

I agree with your comments about the album. With all the negative crap being written about it by people who’d just rather listen to no-social-commentary lyrics (blah), it’s easily one of the best albums of the year.


Who else at 58 can perform in front of that many fans?

Madonna. (Not arguing about Morrissey as a quality artist, mind you–I love them both. Just giving props to the Queen, who plays to the same size crowds rather regularly.)

Wayne Klein

I think that mass appeal is largely in areas like L.A., San Area Cisco, New York, etc. but that you would be hard pressed to see Morrisey play to larger audiences in, say, the Midwest, Florida, Texas, etc.


I never realised Andrew Ridgeley could sing never mind him releasing an album and a couple of singles. I see the album never even charted in the UK which makes you wonder where has the demand for this to be reissued came from ???

Larry Davis

I actually bought the original CD of Andrew’s solo album as a joke and out of curiosity…and ya know what?? It’s shockingly pretty good and not in a style you would expect…it’s mostly like 80s hard rock, like a tamer Motley Crue record with a drop of fun dancerockfunk as he covers Chic’s obscure early 80s single “Hangin'”… Guaranteed…you pop on this record at a party, and someone will go “Hey, who is this?? Pretty good!!” Then surprise when they hear the answer, like Naomi Campbell’s lone album from 1995…

Chris Squires

Ah, was hoping for some Wham! reissue information. I was the idiot who bought this the first time around…fool me once….