Neil Young has finally released his (latest) lost album with Crazy Horse, Toast, more than 20 years after it was recorded – and you can hear its opening track, Quit, below.
The songwriter is famed for his prolific output and his need to chop and change between various projects and bands, which is partly why it’s taken Toast so long to see the light of day. But Toast was an album that Young once wrote “was so sad that I couldn’t put it out. I just skipped it and went on to do another album in its place. I couldn’t handle it at that time.”
The collection was recorded in San Francisco’s studios of the same name in 2001. Young was reportedly dealing with a rocky patch in his relationship with his second wife Pegi, whom he’d been with since 1974. The couple would eventually patch things up, before finally divorcing in 2014.
The studio was located in a run-down area of the city (prior to its 00s/10s uber-gentrification) and Young, uncharacteristically, arrived with little in the way of material.
As such, he reportedly took to writing in the middle of the studio floor, while the Crazy Horse members were left to occupy themselves amid the skeletal surroundings between sporadic recording sessions.
“Eventually I gave up and abandoned the album,” Young has said. “I was not happy with it, or maybe I was just generally unhappy. I don’t know. It was a very desolate album, very sad and unanswered.”
The good news about this sad collection, is that back in the arms of Crazy Horse following 2019’s Colorado and 2021’s Barn, Young has deemed the time right to release it.
The songwriter has always done an especially fine line in the plaintive, but Toast is a collection of expertly-hewn exercises in self-doubt, bitterness and mid-tempo moodiness that somehow all feels very 2022. We especially enjoy the fine, near-blues-y lead work that runs throughout.
Toast is out today, so if you like the sound of Quit, head over to Neil Young Archives (opens in new tab) to purchase or find links to stream the full album.