American Dream (album)

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For the Mike Jones album, see The American Dream (Mike Jones album)
American Dream
Studio album by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Released November 1, 1988 (U.S.)
Recorded April 24, 1987 - September 16, 1988
Genre Rock
Length 57:31
Label Atlantic
Producer Niko Bolas, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Neil Young
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young chronology
Allies
(1983)
American Dream
(1988)
Live It Up
(1990)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau C+[2]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[3]

American Dream is the ninth album by the band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, their fifth studio album and their second by the quartet configuration. Released in 1988 on Atlantic Records, it peaked at #16 on the Billboard 200 and has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. To date, it is their final album to receive either a gold or platinum citation by the RIAA. It is dedicated to Jan Crosby, Anne Stills, Susan Nash, and Pegi Young.

Background[edit]

Neil Young made a promise to David Crosby to reunite with Crosby, Stills & Nash if Crosby could solve his problems with drugs and clean up. Prison time for Crosby in 1986 accomplished exactly that, and good to his word the quartet assembled to record the second CSNY studio album at Young's ranch in Woodside, California.

The title song, written by Neil Young, was a satire of sensational political scandals involving Oliver North, former presidential candidate Gary Hart, and televangelist Jimmy Swaggart. The promotional video of "American Dream" for MTV received some airplay, but the single missed the Billboard Hot 100 completely, as did three of the other four singles released from the album. The only single to chart, "Got It Made," peaked at #69.

Reception[edit]

Anticipation for the quartet's first studio album since Déjà Vu in 1970 was great, but all four performers were at various ebbs in their songwriting. The harmonies still sounded intact, but critics found the songs too placid and trite. American Dream was meant to be a concept album on the meaning of American dreams and aspirations, but critics and fans alike felt that CSNY had fallen short of their goals. Writing in Rolling Stone, critic Anthony DeCurtis wrote, "Despite pleasant melodies, the occasional interesting song, and the signature harmonies, American Dream is, for the most part, a snoozefest." Writing in their 1991 book The Worst Rock and Roll Records Of All Time, Jimmy Guterman and Owen O'Donnell were especially vicious, rating American Dream as the fourth-worst album ever. As ardent detractors of Crosby, Stills and Nash, the two authors declared that they had not expected anything worthwhile from the trio anyway and took Young to task for his songs, which they felt made the album especially bad. Guterman and O'Donnell declared that Young's contributions to American Dream were flops that he never would have put on any of his solo albums. "Here, of course," they wrote, "they were the highlights."

David Crosby, in fact, agreed that the album had too many songs and that the writing was not up to par. "The whole thing, the recording of American Dream, it got stretched out. And we did not have, really, the best group of songs to work with. . . . Then, even though we did not have enough good songs, we ended up putting fourteen of them on the album! I think that was stupid."

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Recording date Length
1. "American Dream"   Neil Young March 3, 1988 3:15
2. "Got It Made"   Stephen Stills, Neil Young July 28, 1988 4:36
3. "Name of Love"   Neil Young February 25, 1988 4:28
4. "Don't Say Goodbye"   Graham Nash, Joe Vitale September 15, 1988 4:23
5. "This Old House"   Neil Young May 4, 1988 4:44
6. "Nighttime for the Generals"   David Crosby, Craig Doerge March 24, 1988 4:20
7. "Shadowland"   Rick Ryan, Graham Nash, Joe Vitale April 24, 1987 4:33

Side two[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Recording date Length
1. "Drivin' Thunder"   Stephen Stills, Neil Young March 2, 1988 3:12
2. "Clear Blue Skies"   Graham Nash March 28, 1988 3:05
3. "That Girl"   Stephen Stills, Joe Vitale, Bob Glaub May 10, 1988 3:27
4. "Compass"   David Crosby March 22, 1988 5:19
5. "Soldiers of Peace"   Graham Nash, Craig Doerge, Joe Vitale September 16, 1988 3:43
6. "Feel Your Love"   Neil Young July 21, 1988 4:09
7. "Night Song"   Stephen Stills, Neil Young July 28, 1988 4:17

Personnel[edit]

  • David Crosbyvocals; acoustic guitar on "Clear Blue Skies" and "Compass"
  • Stephen Stills — vocals; guitars on "Name of Love," "Don't Say Goodbye," "Nighttime for the Generals," "Drivin' Thunder," "Clear Blue Skies," "That Girl," "Soldiers of Peace," and "Night Song" keyboards on "American Dream" and "Got It Made"; bass synthesizer on "Don't Say Goodbye"; bass, synthesizer and handclaps on "Night Song"; percussion on "Drivin' Thunder,"
  • Graham Nash — vocals; piano on "Don't Say Goodbye"; electric guitar on "Nighttime for the Generals"; sound effects on "Shadowland"; keyboards and harmonica on "Clear Blue Skies"
  • Neil Young — vocals; guitars on all tracks except "Compass" all instruments on "This Old House"; piano on "Don't Say Goodbye"; harmonica on "Compass"; percussion on "Name of Love" and "Feel Your Love"

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Joe Vitaledrums on "American Dream," "Got It Made," "Name of Love," "Don't Say Goodbye," "Nighttime for the Generals," "Drivin' Thunder," "Clear Blue Skies," and "Night Song"; all instruments, sound effects and vocals on "Shadowland"; keyboards on "Clear Blue Skies," "That Girl," "Compass," and "Soldiers of Peace"; synthesizer on "Don't Say Goodbye"; percussion on "Drivin' Thunder" and "Feel Your Love"; vibraphone on "Feel Your Love"
  • Mike Finniganorgan on "Nighttime for the Generals"; keyboards, backing vocals on "Soldiers of Peace"
  • Bob Glaub — bass on "American Dream," "Got It Made," "Name of Love," "Nighttime for the Generals," "Drivin' Thunder," "Clear Blue Skies," "That Girl," and "Soldiers of Peace"
  • Joe Lala — percussion on "Got It Made," "Shadowland," "Clear Blue Skies," and "That Girl" drums on "Soldiers of Peace"
  • Chad Cromwelll — drums on "That Girl"
  • The Bluenotes: Tommy Bray, Claude Callilet, Larry Cragg, John Fumo, Steve Lawrence — horns on "That Girl"
  • Brian Bell — synthesizer programming on "This Old House"
  • Rhett Lawrence — synthesizer programming on "Soldiers of Peace"
  • Niko Bolas, Tim Mulligan, Tim Foster, Brentley Walton — handclaps on "American Dream"
  • Bill Boydston, Don Gooch, Bill Lazerus — sound effects on "Shadowland"
  • The Volume Dealers Choir: Kelly Ashmore, Betsy Aubrey, Tom Banghart, Cha Blevins, Niko Bolas, Craig Doerge, Scott Gordon, R. Mac Holbert, Stanley Johnston, Bill Krause, Debbie Meister, Tim Mulligan, Susan Nash, Jay Parti, Steve Perry, Vince Slaughter, Joe Vitale, Paul Williamson — backing vocals on "Soldiers of Peace"

Production personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ruhlmann, W. (2011). "American Dream - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Robert Christgau: CG: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young". Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Decurtis, A. (2011). "Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: American Dream : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". web.archive.org. Retrieved 26 July 2011.