Fork In The Road

  • Record Label: Reprise
  • Release Date: Apr 7, 2009
Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Songs are his job, and his reserves are apparently inexhaustible.
  2. It's not what you'd call pretty, exactly, but there's a hell of a lot of charm and admirable grit to Young's decision to say bollocks to politeness and tell it like it is.
  3. 80
    If that person favours the smoking, ragged garage rock that comprises the bulk of Fork In The Road, then you’d have to conclude, job done.
  4. 80
    Pragmatically exploiting his sure tune sense, his saving falsetto and a command of the political facts well exceeding that of Living With War, he’s turned out the first great protest album of the new dispensation.
  5. Like so many Young albums, there are the tracks that rise to another level (the 'Ragged Glory'-like 'Just Singing a Song' included) and there are those destined to be forgotten. True to himself, though, Young is inspired throughout.
  6. Mr. Young is in his electric bar band mode as the music stomps with bluesy distorted guitar riffs.
  7. Fork in the Road is charmingly clunky, a side effect of its quick creation and Young's hard-headedness. Neil might be writing records as quickly as a blogger these days but musically he's stuck in the past, never letting go of his chunky Les Paul and candied folk harmonies.
  8. So it goes with Fork In The Road, a 10-song set that Young threw together to promote his interest in alternative automobile technology. The concept drives the record to an absurd degree.
  9. The outcome is more noteworthy for Young's stinging guitar work, passionate vocals and his powerhouse band's accompaniment than for finely crafted songs that add considerably to Young's estimable body of work.
  10. The sloppily played garage rock riffs complement the slapdash nature of the lyrics, and--as you might expect--it’s that loose, under-rehearsed and under-written methodology that is both the album’s strength and its downfall.
  11. It's messy, funny and pretty crazy at points.
  12. Mojo
    60
    Nine of its 10 songs are around the three-minute mark and as solid and straightahead as the tank behind whose wheel they might've been written. [May 2009, p.98]
  13. Given that Fork in the Road was inspired by Young's alternative- energy-fueled car, the most appropriate description is probably ''pedestrian.''
  14. When today transcends tomorrow, as on 1979's Rust Never Sleeps and Freedom a decade later, there's no stopping this "Old Man" whose '59 Lincoln Continental drives these latest headlines.
  15. The music saves this album from certain disaster--an idea that, at its root is perplexing at best, is executed in an even more clumsy and confusing way.
  16. Road is a similarly one-dimensional variation on the singer's Grumpy Uncle Neil mode. A semi-concept album revolving around eco-cars and the failing economy, it. . . You've already walked away, haven't you?
  17. Craggy eco-concept record not the car-crash it could have been.
  18. The resulting album is a ragbag of environmentalist/credit-crunch rants and rusty old chuggers.
  19. The rough, grinding quality of the instrumentation fits with the intended immediacy of the project, but the songs themselves sound half-finished and half-considered.
  20. While the concept is inspired and resoundingly current, the jangly blues-bar rock seems an afterthought.
  21. Q Magazine
    40
    Neil Young sounds like he's up on bricks with his exhaust pipe hanging off. [May 2009, p.106]
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 7
  2. Negative: 2 out of 7
  1. OldFogey
    Jan 21, 2010
    9
    Messy, funny, crazy? Yup. I was surprised at how good it is. Mr. Young can be hit or miss. But it is also very good and very listenable. Good Messy, funny, crazy? Yup. I was surprised at how good it is. Mr. Young can be hit or miss. But it is also very good and very listenable. Good one to play while driving down the road. Full Review »
  2. VaughnA
    May 27, 2009
    2
    Another disposable Neil Young record. I have an idea, let's cancel Neil's Newsweek subscription and see if he's capable of Another disposable Neil Young record. I have an idea, let's cancel Neil's Newsweek subscription and see if he's capable of writing an album worthy of himself. Turn inward again Neil 'cause all you're doing is preachin' to the choir and putting them to sleep. Full Review »
  3. AdamG
    Apr 10, 2009
    9
    "Just Singing a Song" and "Light a Candle" are timeless Neil tracks. (Yes, the chorus for "Just Singing a Song" borrows a bit from "Love and "Just Singing a Song" and "Light a Candle" are timeless Neil tracks. (Yes, the chorus for "Just Singing a Song" borrows a bit from "Love and Only Love," but it still has a lot of charm.) I agree with Rolling Stones' comments ("funny, messy, crazy"), but not their rating. It's a loveable mish-mash that mgiht take a while to grow on you, but give it some time and it will. Full Review »