Younger Than Yesterday is the fourth album by the American rock band the Byrds and was released on February 6, 1967 on Columbia Records (see 1967 in music). It saw the band continuing to integrate elements of psychedelia and jazz into their music, a process they had begun on their previous album, Fifth Dimension. In addition, the album captured the band and record producer Gary Usher experimenting with new musical textures, including brass instruments, reverse tape effects and an electronic oscillator.
The album also marked the emergence of the band’s bass player Chris Hillman as a talented songwriter and vocalist. Prior to Younger Than Yesterday, Hillman had only received one shared writing credit with the Byrds, but this album saw him credited as the sole composer of four songs and a co-writer of “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”. Byrds expert Tim Connors has remarked that two of Hillman’s compositions on Younger Than Yesterday exhibited country and western influences and thus can be seen as early indicators of the country rock experimentation that would feature—to a greater or lesser degree—on all of the Byrds’ subsequent albums.
Upon release, the album peaked at number 24 on the Billboard Top LPs chart and reached number 37 on the UK Albums Chart. It was preceded by the “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” single in January 1967, which reached the Top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100. Two additional singles taken from the album, “My Back Pages” and “Have You Seen Her Face”, were also moderately successful on the Billboard singles chart. However, none of the singles taken from the album charted in the United Kingdom.
“So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” (Jim McGuinn, Chris Hillman) – 2:05
“Have You Seen Her Face” (Chris Hillman) – 2:25
“C.T.A.—102” (Jim McGuinn, Robert J. Hippard) – 2:28
“Renaissance Fair” (David Crosby, Jim McGuinn) – 1:51
“Time Between” (Chris Hillman) – 1:53
“Everybody’s Been Burned” (David Crosby) – 3:05
“Thoughts and Words” (Chris Hillman) – 2:56
“Mind Gardens” (David Crosby) – 3:28
“My Back Pages” (Bob Dylan) – 3:08
“The Girl with No Name” (Chris Hillman) – 1:50
“Why” (Jim McGuinn, David Crosby) – 2:45
AllMusic Review: Younger Than Yesterday was somewhat overlooked at the time of its release during an intensely competitive era that found the Byrds on a commercial downslide. Time, however, has shown it to be the most durable of the Byrds’ albums, with the exception of Mr. Tambourine Man. David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, and especially Chris Hillman come into their own as songwriters on an eclectic but focused set blending folk-rock, psychedelia, and early country-rock. The sardonic “So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star” was a terrific single; “My Back Pages,” also a small hit, was the last of their classic Dylan covers; “Thoughts and Words,” the flower-power anthem “Renaissance Fair,” “Have You Seen Her Face,” and the bluegrass-tinged “Time Between” are all among their best songs. The jazzy “Everybody’s Been Burned” may be Crosby’s best composition, although his “Mind Gardens” is one of his most excessive. — Richie Unterberger
Schill Score: 1/10
Schill Comment: There are Very few albums ever made that I absolutely hate, and this is one of them. This, to me, is one of the worst albums ever made, across every genre. It’s repetitive noise and garbage. I have no problem with experimental, I often enjoy it. But not this. The fact that the people at Columbia records listened to this piece of garbage and still released it, to me, is one of the biggest musical mysteries of all time.
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