One of the legendary “lost” albums in Neil Young’s catalog, for the past two decades Toast has been whispered about in collectors’ circles in hushed tones, as Young had dropped pieces of information about it here and there, especially as it contains three never-before-released songs.
Toast is a seven-song unreleased album from Neil Young & Crazy Horse, recorded at Toast studio in San Francisco in late 2000 and early 2001. It was shelved at the time and Are You Passionate was the next album Neil released. Different versions of four songs appeared on Are You Passionate, but the other three songs, “Timberline,” “Gateway Of Love,” and “Standing In The Light” are completely unreleased. This is one of the most legendary “lost” albums in Neil’s catalog.
Toast is heavy and distressed, brimming with electrifying tension. Even its sweet-sounding opening track, “Quit” features the refrain, “Don’t say you love me.” “Standing In The Light of Love” and “Goin’ Home” let the Horse off the tether in fields of overdriven guitar. An out-of-work logger grapples with his faith on the breakneck “Timberline.” And on “Gateway Of Love,” Young dreams of a less painful future over a hypnotizing ten minutes, leading into the somber, brokedown “How Ya Doin’?” The songwriter sums up the album best during its shadowy finale “Boom Boom Boom” - “All I got is a broken heart, and I don’t try to hide it when I play my guitar.”
In 2021, in his online daily newspaper, The Times Contrarian, Young wrote about the album in-depth. “The music of Toast is about a relationship,” he said. “There is a time in many relationships that go bad, a time long before the breakup, where it dawns on one of the people, maybe both, that it's over. This was that time.”