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Psychedelic Pill opens with Driftin’ Back, a gripping, 27-minute epic which starts with an acoustic intro (the only section of the album which was recorded in Kamuela, Hawaii) before it pokes down pathways that have been hinted at before, but never fully explored. Jesus, the Maharishi and Picasso make appearances in the song, Young noting how the images and messages associated with them are invariably corrupted or misconstrued. And, he fears, his own message and art have been corrupted and diminished by the very technology that has made it more accessible.
Two other songs on the album touch in similarly expansive musical territory, the elegiac ode Ramada Inn and the spirited prayer of Walk Like A Giant. Other highlights include Born in Ontario which offers further detail and new perspectives to the explicitly autobiographical thread that winds back to Helpless; Twisted Road is a joyous thank-you note to some of the others who inspired (and continue to inspire) him, with Bob Dylan (“Like Hank Williams chewin’ bubble gum / Askin’ me ‘How does it feel’”) at the fore; and the title track is phased, swirling stomp in which he honours the rock ‘n’ roll spirit at its most pure.