My Top 1000 Songs #219: Thrasher

Every time I'm about to post yet another Neil Young tune, I have to stop and think, yeah, that's a pretty good one, but what about...? (Frankly, I'm similarly indecisive on his LPs, cycling regularly among Zuma, On The Beach, and After The Gold Rush as absolutely, positively, without a doubt my all-time favorite.)

But I'm sticking with "Thrasher," returning once again to the 1979's Rust Never Sleeps--another contender for his best album?--but this time flipping it over to the acoustic side. It's not a flashy song, unadorned Neil on acoustic guitar, one of his simpler melodies, maybe just a bit repetitive. 

But something about the narrative has always struck me, full of some of his most unforgettable couplets. It's ostensibly about his break-up with the coke-addled CSNY, though the cryptic lyrics are open to interpretation. Is this a cocaine metaphor? "I searched out my companions, who were lost in crystal canyons. When the aimless blade of science, slashed the pearly gates." Perhaps. And when it comes to break-up sentiments, you can't get harsher than this: "So I got bored and left them there, they were just dead weight to me. Better down the road without that load."

But it feels broader than that, an embarkation towards freedom, triumphant yet still weighed down with sadness for the companions left behind:

"It was then that I knew I'd had enough, burned my credit card for fuel. Headed out to where the pavement turns to sand. With a one way ticket to the land of truth, and my suitcase in my hand. How I lost my friends, I still don't understand."

Alternate (live) take:

Live in 2016: