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Microscope: Younger Than Yesterday (The Byrds)


Younger Than Yesterday is the fourth album by the Byrds and was released in February 1967, so it captured many of the triumphs of the mid-60's but still was safe from the magic of Sgt. Pepper's. The record was not as revolutionary as Mr. Tambourine Man or Fifth Dimension, but the band had clearly reached a peak in their songwriting: there's only one cover (a Dylan's song), Roger McGuinn and David Crosby became more mature using the pen and the emergence of bassist Chris Hillman as a solid songwriter was a key event for the group. The result was a blast, but let the songs speak for themselves...

So You Want To Be A Rock 'N' Roll Star. The hit of the album, a collaboration between Hillman and McGuinn. Nice moderately long guitar intro. There's a wonderful trumpet played by a guest (Hugh Masekela). The lyrics are very ironic, about the damned glory of becoming a rock and roll star. The sound of the girls screaming suits very well. I like the counter-vocals in the last verse. Very good way to open the record.

Have You Seen Her Face. Another important song, written by Hillman. The wild electric guitar is very Buffalo Springfield-like, especially during the solo that seems to be double-tracked. Great harmonies as usual and solid drumming. Clearly a high point.

C.T.A.-102. This McGuinn's song is a filler in the context of the album, but it's kinda fun. It's based on a catchy little tune about extraterrestrial life. It ends with some weird non-sense speaking; I guess it's supposed to be an ET.

Renaissance Fair. What a fantastic song. One of the best intros I've ever heard, with those sharp guitars and that prominent melodic bass. Indeed, I think this song is the consecration of Hillman as a bass player; even the great harmonies come on a second level in comparison. The only low point is that the song is very short. Co-written by Crosby and McGuinn.

Time Between. Another Hillman's track, this time a proto-Country Rock song, announcing the direction that the band would take later. But it's a quite catchy tune, far away from the boring standard of the genre.

Everybody's Been Burned. Probably the best song ever written by Crosby. Wonderful lyrics, with a hard and still sweet message, about loving someone beyond the pain that you can get from doing that. The melody may not be very special, but the hypnotic ambient opens the door for those great words to reach the listener. I love the guitar solo, somehow it reminds me to Buenos Aires.

Thoughts And Words. I really love this Hillman's song, another of my favorites. It has some of the special condiments from the mid-60's, with a mellow verse and an upbeat chorus. On top of that, there's also backward guitar playing; even though the result was not as memorable as in "I'm Only Sleeping", it's a nice touch. Good counter-vocals in the last verse. A winner.

Mind Gardens. This is the obvious low point of the album for almost everybody. The song is a mess, with a confusing melody going nowhere (if there's an actual melody). Once again, the song features backward guitar playing, but not to so good effect this time. Anyway, it's not so intolerable if you take the song as what it is: Crosby crying his poetry.

My Back Pages. The famous cover of the Dylan's song, probably better remembered than the original. McGuinn sings the enthusiastic lead vocal and the others join him during the choruses. Roger also plays the memorable guitar solo. As you may have guessed, the title of the album came from the famous line of the song: "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now".

The Girl With No Name. Another slightly countrified song by Hillman. It's an entertaining, well performed tune. No more words in my pocket for this.

Why. This good rocker, co-written by McGuinn and Crosby, had been released one year before as the B-side of "Eight Miles High", but in my opinion this album version is superior. The song is built on a simple but effective riff, and there's some random lead guitar playing as in "Eight Miles High", but in a far shier way. Fine closer, in contrast with the previous albums of the band.

To conclude this review, I'll say that this is my very favorite Byrds' album and it's easily in my Top 10 list. It's very diverse, full of great songs and well performed as usual. Highly recommended for lovers of mid-60's rock music.

Almost at the same time, ex-Byrd Gene Clark released his first solo album: Gene Clark With The Gosdin Brothers; a very strong effort that any fan of the early Byrds should check out.

Nice review Hombre, but dammit, now i'll probably have to go buy this one too.  ;D

Thanks Todd, it would be great to read your views on this record, but I don't know if I was convincing enough to make you buy it. ;D

Give me a little while. I just ordered it.


--- Quote from: tkitna on November 09, 2012, 10:26:49 AM ---Give me a little while. I just ordered it.

--- End quote ---

Great!  ha2ha


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