Neil Young - Hitchhiker
Critic Score
Based on 20 reviews
2017 Ratings: #87 / 881
User Score
Based on 64 ratings
2017 Ratings: #162
September 8, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Silver Bow / Label
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Delivered off the cuff, with song after song flowing effortlessly, Hitchhiker could never be mistaken for careful and meticulous finished pieces of work, which is probably what makes them so appealing to listen to.

Rolling Stone

It's a journey through the past, but far darker.


Recorded over one night in 1976, Hitchhiker is an acoustic snapshot of Neil Young’s creative process, captured at a time when he was crafting music strong enough to last his whole career.

A.V. Club

For fans of Neil Young in the ’70s—his pretty undeniable peak—this one is fantastic. Beyond that, it could easily serve as an introduction to a generation that hasn’t heard his music.

Consequence of Sound

What makes Hitchhiker such a vital work within the Young catalog is its spontaneity, sharp vision, and spellbindingly sharp writing.

Under The Radar

Hitchhiker is the rare archival release that can appeal to both rabid superfans and casual listeners.

American Songwriter

Whether these recordings were meant to be an album that never materialized (until now), or well-recorded demos (more likely), it’s still revelatory to hear Young unspool these gems in the intimate confines of this studio session.


Hitchhiker holds together as a mood piece, an album where Young slowly reckons with a new dawn after surviving a hectic mid-'70s.


It's fascinating to hear these songs sequenced together, as the album takes on a bit of a new narrative that shows 1976-era Young as a man out on his own, fearing the unknown while dealing with the harsh realities of life.

The Line of Best Fit

It’s this ability to take the familiar and present it in dramatically different forms, with the potential for rediscovery that this allows, which makes Hitchhiker – faults and all – a must-hear for Neil Young fans.

The Independent

The two previously unreleased tracks are “Give Me Strength”, a moving reflection on despair and petrification, and “Hawaii”, where Young’s keening delivery of the title evokes the character’s yearning to return: but ending almost before it’s begun, it seems only half a song.

Songs written and recorded within a single night way back in the '70s, and it's just as good as everything else he made during that period.

Honestly, the archival series is easily the best thing Neil started doing once he quit making grunge music. While it may sound narrow-minded, I really could have done without hearing all those albums he made in the 2000s and the 2010s. But his first studio archival release, Hitchhiker, has reminded me just what it was the made me fall in love with Young's ... read more
I love this album. Recorded over the course of a younger Neil Young career, it's a scattered compilation of songs that were made in the moment and not given a second thought. Whether its pain toward the poor treatment of Native Americans, small-town law quarrels of the West, or a short relationship come and gone, the emotion was intense for a day, recorded, and Neil moved on to the next idea as quick as a young person usually does. I think this album showcases the exploding imagination and ... read more
Pocahontas - 10/10
Powderfinger - 10/10
Captain Kennedy - 9/10
Hawaii - 6/10
Give Me Strength - 8/10
Ride My Llama - 10/10
Hitchhiker - 10/10
Campaigner - 8/10
Human Highway - 8/10
The Old Country Waltz - 10/10

Overall Rating: 89 out of 100 = 89%

Overall Opinion: Those studio execs were higher than Neil for not releasing this as a stand alone album. However, would it be as special if it was released back then? You decide.
Easy album to rate, difficult album to accurately place on this list all things considered. Hitchhiker is essentially a collection of old recordings and not much else. So for that reason, it's not much of an "album" experience so to speak. Still, I was satisfied with what I found on here. I didn't even realize I had heard Captain Kennedy before, but you gotta forgive me considering that 30 albums come between this and Hawks and Doves.

Good for casual Neil Young fans, and likely a ... read more
Pocahontas 7.5/10
Powderfinger 8/10
Captain Kennedy 7/10
Hawaii 7/10
Give Me Strength 6.5/10
Ride My Llama 6/10
Hitchhiker 6.5/10
Campaigner 5.5/10
Human Highway 6.5/10
The Old Country Waltz 6/10
Average: 6.7/10
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Year End Lists


Track List

  1. Pocahontas
  2. Powderfinger
  3. Captain Kennedy
  4. Hawaii
  5. Give Me Strength
  6. Ride My Llama
  7. Hitchhiker
  8. Campaigner
  9. Human Highway
  10. The Old Country Waltz
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Added on: July 11, 2017