Picks and Pans Review: Neil Young

updated 10/29/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/29/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Chrome Dreams II |

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REVIEWED BY CHRIS STRAUSS

CRITIC'S CHOICE

FOLK-ROCK

Following the fiery political-protest anthems of 2006's Living with War, the 61-year-old rock legend turns his focus inward. Chrome Dreams II finds a positive Young contemplating mortality and spirituality, fitting for a newly qualified AARP member nearly killed by a brain aneurysm two years ago. A throwback to his After the Gold Rush-era material—he seamlessly mixes the fragility of "The Believer" with the searing guitars of "Dirty Old Man"—the album's most transfixing cut is the previously unreleased "Ordinary People," a driving narrative that chronicles human behavior through the prism of various common man types.

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