Just six months after Neil’s Young’s release of A Letter Home, his seemingly under-produced and raw previous album, he is ready to release another LP. Storytone (initially spelled Storeytone) is Young’s 92-piece orchestra answer to the critics of A Letter Home. The new album, due out November 4 through Reprise, is actually a double take on a single set of songs, in which each song is recorded both with a full orchestra and as an acoustic solo piece. Storytone’s first single, “Who’s Gonna Stand Up,” an environmental advocate piece that Young has paid special attention to within the recording process, has been produced in four full separate versions, each with a new take on the background instruments.
The standard version of the album is the first of Young’s to feature his voice without his guitar, and all of the recordings are pure in that each song was recorded live, with none of the album overdubbed. And all of Young’s focus on recording purity makes a lot of sense, after considering that earlier this year, Young started and successfully completed a KickStarter campaign for PonoMusic, an app and player that retains significantly higher quality than an MP3 player. Young went so far as to compare listening to an MP3 to listening to music underwater and argued that an MP3 file only contains about five percent of the digital information of a PonoMusic player file.
As for the album, the standard version that will be released on CD will only include the full-orchestra versions of the songs – to get your hands on his more intimate, acoustic takes, you will have to splurge on the Deluxe Edition. The vinyl, due out December 16, will include both versions of the songs, as well.
The orchestra for Storytone was both arranged and conducted by Michael Bearden and Chris Walden, with little input from Young, himself. The track listing of Storytone is as follows: “Plastic Flowers,” “Who’s Gonna Stand Up,” “I Want To Drive My Car,” “Glimmer,” “Say Hello To Chicago,” “Tumbleweed,” “Like You Used To Do,” “I’m Glad I Found You,” “When I Watch You Sleeping” and “All Those Dreams.” The album was produced by Volume Dealers, which is comprised of Young and Niko Bolas.