When I read that Rick Rubin was going to produce the new Crosby, Stills, and Nash record, for a split second I got excited, thanks to imagining the trio harmonizing sweetly over the top of some badass “99 Problems” boom-bap. For better or worse, that is not the case. Instead, they’ll be teaming with Rubin to record an album of covers–so what we’ll probably get is a ripoff of Johnny Cash’s dour, cred-resurrecting American Recordings album, right on down to the production credits. It’s a rather transparent and uncreative bid for gravitas, but if they pick the right songs, it may actually be successful in improving their image and their legacy.
For example, if they follow Cash’s formula completely, they’ll be obligated to do at least one cover of a grim ’90s rock hit. My suggestion:
“All Apologies” would lend itself very well to an acoustic folk-rock arrangement and has an outro–”all in all is all we are”–that could sound haunting and gorgeous if sung in their brand of tight vocal harmony.