Top albums of 2011, #9: CSN (1977), Crosby Stills and Nash

Everything I’ve ever heard by Crosby, Stills and Nash sounds gorgeous.  Yet not all of it, to be honest, is equally memorable.  Their first, eponymous, album is a stream of classics almost from start to finish (including Guinnevere, which is one of my all-time favourite songs by anyone).  But the follow-up, Deja Vu (with Neil Young), despite some fine individual songs, just doesn’t hang together as well.

So what of their unimaginatively titled third album, CSN?  (Back to a trio this time, and a full seven years after Deja Vu.)  The odd thing is, having listened to it seven times in 2011, I still can’t make up my mind.  I have to admit that when I’m in the middle of the album I sometimes struggle to know which particular song I am listening to.  Still, once more the highpoints are superb.  Hopefully some time in 2012, it will all fall into place as an album that I don’t just like, but love.

For now, here is Cold Rain — not one of the album’s more celebrated songs, but one of the ones that I find most striking.  Specifically, the transition from the verse into what we might call the chorus: “Don’t I know you?  Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?”  I love the way all the richness of the harmony vocal falls away and we’re left with a single plaintive voice (sounding extraordinarily like Paul Simon, by the way.)  A piano and a cello provide the only accompaniment — absolutely the right choice.

[You can buy CSN at or at  But if you’re British then frankly you’d do better to buy their debut album, which is inexplicably available for £3.99 including delivery at]

Next time: an artist who also made the cut in 2010 and in 2009 before I was blogging these.


6 responses to “Top albums of 2011, #9: CSN (1977), Crosby Stills and Nash

  1. Pingback: Top albums of 2011, #10: Hejira (1976), Joni Mitchell | The Reinvigorated Programmer

  2. Pingback: Top albums of 2011: the final results | The Reinvigorated Programmer

  3. Pingback: Answering 25 tough interview questions, part 4 | The Reinvigorated Programmer

  4. Pingback: What I’ve been listening to in 2012 | The Reinvigorated Programmer

  5. Pingback: What I’ve been listening to in 2013 | The Reinvigorated Programmer

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