Young's cautionary tale strikes some as overbearing and morally arrogant, which is a criticism he also received for songs like "Southern Man
" and "Alabama
." Writing for Rolling Stone
(January 3, 1974), Bud Scoppa said, "Young's is a pain-dominated, rather Old Testament sensibility, and nowhere is all this more obvious than in 'L.A.' Young's self-righteousness becomes absolute, and he depicts himself as some neo-Israelite prophet warning the unhearing masses of the inevitable apocalypse."
All self-righteousness and pretension aside, "L.A." still rocks in that paranoid, sneering way that Young always had.