Did Neil Young Just Release the Biggest Commercial Flop Of His Career?

by VVN Music

Neil Young released his latest album, Peace Trail, on December 9. It very well could be the biggest flop of his career.

Peace Trail debuted at 76 on last week's Billboard 200, the lowest of any of his 38 studio albums that have made that chart and only bettering his self titled debut from 1969 which did not make the charts.

On the Billboard 200 that was released today, it has fallen completely off the charts. Based on those chart positions, it is unlikely that Peace Trail has sold more than 30,000 copies in its first two weeks.

While not considered a critic's favorite, the album at least received middling reviews. On Metacritic, the scores range from an 80 from Classic Rock Magazine to a 20 from Now Magazine with an average of 57 (5 positive reviews, 11 mixed, 2 negative).

Still, using the Metacritic averages for all of Young's albums from 2000 on, it does come out toward the bottom of the range. 2013's Le Noise was best at 80 out of 100 while, at the other end, 2002's Are You Passionate? was the lowest with a score of 54.

So what happened? Matt Williams at Now Magazine said:

Now and then you get a glimpse of ideas that could’ve made the album more powerful if they’d been further explored. Young’s vicious guitar squalls, when they appear, are always deeply welcome, as are the screaming harmonica blasts. But the songs are so spiritless and phoned-in that those moments are too little, too late.

Here's a list of Neil Young's studio albums with their peak position:
  • Harvest (1972 / #1)
  • Americana (with Crazy Horse) (2012 / #4)
  • Mirror Ball (featuring Pearl Jam) (1995 / #5)
  • Comes a Time (1978 / #7)
  • After the Gold Rush (1970 / #8)
  • Rust Never Sleeps (with Crazy Horse) (1979 / #8)
  • Psychedelic Pill (with Crazy Horse) (2012 / #8)
  • Sleeps With Angels (with Crazy Horse) (1994 / #9)
  • Are You Passionate? (featuring Booker T. & the MGs) (2002 / #10)
  • Prairie Wind (2005 / #11)
  • Chrome Dreams II (2007 / #11)
  • A Letter Home (2014 / #13)
  • Le Noise (2010 / #14)
  • Living With War (2006 / #15)
  • On the Beach (1974 / #16)
  • Harvest Moon (1992 / #16)
  • Trans (1982 / #19)
  • Fork in the Road (2009 / #19)
  • American Stars 'n Bars (1977 / #21)
  • The Monsanto Years (with Promise of the Real) (2015 / #21)
  • Silver & Gold (2000 / #22)
  • Greendale (with Crazy Horse) (2003 / #22)
  • Tonight's the Night (1975 / #25)
  • Zuma (with Crazy Horse) (1975 / #25)
  • Long May You Run (Stills-Young Band) (1976 / #26)
  • Re-ac-tor (with Crazy Horse) (1981 / #27)
  • Hawks & Doves (1980 / #30)
  • Ragged Glory (with Crazy Horse) (1990 / #31)
  • Broken Arrow (with Crazy Horse) (1996 / #31)
  • Storytone (2014 / #33)
  • Everybody Knows This is Nowhere (with Crazy Horse) (1969 / #34)
  • Freedom (1989 / #35)
  • Everybody's Rockin' (with The Shocking Pinks) (1983 / #46)
  • Landing on Water (1986 / #58)
  • This Note's For You (with The Bluenotes) (1988 / #61)
  • Old Ways (1985 / #75)
  • Life (with Crazy Horse) (1987 / #75)
  • Peace Trail (2016 / #76)
  • Neil Young (1969 / Did not chart)

4 comments

Anonymous said...

It can't be worse than "Arc".

Keith Burris said...

Actually, it's great

And I had to go to three stores to get it -- sold out at first two.

Anonymous said...

Neil doesn't care if it's a big seller, you don't get it. Hasn't he done enough already? He's not in it for the money.

Unknown said...

Neil's self titled album is a classic - maybe time will tell, Maybe not! Neil really does not care at this point - I think we can all agree on that!

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