Graham Nash was one of the ’60s great can-do optimists. So when the guy who wrote “Teach Your Children” and decreed “we can change the world!” suddenly delivers a public “fuck you” to long-time bro David Crosby …
…and releases a solo LP about a world that “really doesn’t care/if we live or if we die,” it’s a bit unnerving. C’est la vie.
Actually, resigned existentialism suits Nash well on his lean, reflective new set. The stoic title track inexplicably recalls an ’80s Phil Collins jam. But by the time he settles into the hushed “Myself At Last” – a Blood On The Tracks-style confessional right down to its harmonica solo — the guard drops. “The question haunting me/ ‘Is my future just my past?'” Nash asks, sounding haunted indeed.
He isn’t afraid to plumb that past. “Target” begins with a riff that mirrors ex-girlfriend Joni Mitchell’s “A Case Of You,” which might break old-school hearts before he sings a word (references to “clouds” and a “silver light” suggesting Nash’s famous photos of Mitchell further the allusion). “Back Home (For Levon)” is a tribute to a departed kindred spirit. “I used to be in a band made up of my friends” he sings on “Golden Days,” conjuring memories of his old harmony-brotherhood of CSNY with a lonely, unaccompanied voice. He even asks “What happened to ‘all you need is love?'” A little corny, you might say. But also a good goddamn question.
Will Hermes, Rolling Stones, 3/23/16