℗ 1982 UMG Recordings; A Geffen Records Release
Released December 29, 1982
Duration 39m 41s
Record Label Geffen
Genre Rock


Neil Young

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Little Thing Called Love
Neil Young
Computer Age
Neil Young
We R In Control
Neil Young
Transformer Man
Neil Young
Computer Cowboy
Neil Young
Hold On To Your Love
Neil Young
Sample And Hold
Neil Young
Mr. Soul
Neil Young
Like An Inca
Neil Young
"Neil Young’s polarizing 1982 album, influenced by new wave and heavy on the Vocoder, has long divided fans and critics. But beneath its cold exterior is a record with a lot of heart." - Pitchfork Of all the brilliantly perverse moves Neil Young has made in his career, the 1982 release of Trans just may be the most brilliant. Not that the folks at Geffen, his label at the time, necessarily felt that way. They’d just signed him as one of their flagship artists, at a time when Young’s commercial and critical credibility was at an all-time high. No doubt they were expecting another Crazy Horse barnstormer, or a return to the sleek country-rock of the Harvest era. What they got was a plunge into uncharted territory. Released on December 29, 1982, Trans is often considered to be Neil Young’s synth-pop album, but that’s not really the case. There are, in fact, few keyboards on it, and if you want a guitar band, it’s got a great one. All of Crazy Horse make appearances, including longtime utility man Ben Keith and sometime member Nils Lofgren, plus percussionist Joe Lala (from Stephen Stills’ Manassas and the Stills-Young Band) and, for the only time on a Young solo album, ex-Buffalo Springfield bassist Bruce Palmer (Trans even features an 80 update of Buffalo Springfield’s 1967 single “Mr Soul”). What it didn’t have, for the most part, was the recognizable voice of Neil Young. With three exceptions, all the vocals were sung through a vocoder, which twisted his voice into robotic form. This was perfectly fitting for a concept album about how humanity was going to make sense of the computer age, but it immediately threw fans out of their comfort zone, and largely doomed the album’s chances at radio. Because Young wasn’t doing interviews at the time, he never explained the album’s backstory until many years later, but if he had, many more fans would have probably taken it to heart at the time. They didn’t know that Young’s son Ben was stricken with cerebral palsy and unable to speak, and that Young was using new digital devices to communicate with him. The songs he was writing evinced the frustrations of this process, as well as the actual sounds the machines were making. Ben and his parents couldn’t always understand the words, so neither could listeners. At first Young didn’t even intend to release the songs. His initial submission to Geffen was a much more commercial album, Island In The Sun, which had a breezy tropical feel. Geffen turned this down, however, so Young went back to the Crazy Horse recordings, upped the electronic element, and turned the result in as Trans.
192 kHz / 24-bit PCM – Geffen Studio Masters

Tracks 1-9 – contains high-resolution digital transfers of material originating from an analogue master source
Track title
(dB FS)
(dB FS)
Album average
Range of values
-2.38 to -0.20
-19.69 to -16.94
-17.10 to -14.00
10 to 13
Little Thing Called Love
Computer Age
We R In Control
Transformer Man
Computer Cowboy
Hold On To Your Love
Sample And Hold
Mr. Soul
Like An Inca

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