Despite bearing the same title as the album it appears on, "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere" wasn't generally considered one of the standout songs from Neil Young's second solo effort. "Cinnamon Girl
," "Down By The River
," and "Cowgirl in the Sand" all were more popular and enduring.
Still, "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere" is an interesting song in its own right, and even more so when viewed as part of Young's broader catalogue. It's also intriguing to ponder why Young chose to name the album after this particular tune.
Young was living in southern California when he wrote this song. That's the environment he's describing with its "day-to-day running around" that he needs to escape. Young's conflicted relationship with the entertainment industry has marked his entire career, and it's seen even here at this early stage.
While Young laments the hectic Los Angeles pace, he assures us that despite all the allure, nothing worthwhile is to be found there. As Jimmy McDonough wrote in Shakey
, "'Everybody seems to wonder what it's like down here,' Young muses, his caustic tone making it clear that for him, the entire Los Angeles scene might as well fall into the sea."