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Neil Young: Ragged Glory

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Dilapidation is a state of grace to Neil Young. His most recent album, Ragged Glory, transformed hailstorms of guitar distortion into a thing of beauty and a badge of authenticity. Now comes an equally ragged home video accompaniment to the album, Neil Young: Ragged Glory, but the results are far less glorious. The 25-minute tape lazily strings together five video versions of songs from the record (two constructed around Young’s great anthem for underachievers, ”F*! in’ Up”). Unfortunately, the only apparent concern of the clips is to subvert the usual slickness of music video. As a result, the pieces are intentionally decrepit but accidentally pointless. Most are simulated performance pieces, making us pine all the more for the spontaneity of a live recording. To stress a sense of contrived carelessness, the camera work is all swervingly random. The few ”story lines” offered are incoherent, if intentionally so. Such willful messiness would certainly have impact if it barged its way into the blow-dried world of MTV, but the channel shunned the clips. Packaged on their own, they mock only the buyer.

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