Freedom was Young's return to form after almost a decade of electronic experiments and mediocre novelty music. "Rockin' in the Free World", a howling anthem about homelessness, depression and drug dealing, bookends the album--and, in 1989, proved the singer/songwriter hadn't completely dropped into obscurity. The romantic ballads ("The Ways of Love"), grunge-predicting guitar-rockers (a siren-screaming version of "On Broadway"), and one amazing, punk-like story-song ("Crime in the City [Sixty to Zero, Part I]") constitute Young's strongest writing in years. --Steve Knopper
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