''American Dream'' is the 1988 reunion album for Crosby, Stills & Nash with Neil Young.
Released on November 3, 1988, there was great anticipation for the quartet's first studio album in eighteen years, but all four performers were in fact at various ebbs in their songwriting. The harmonies still sounded intact, but critics found the songs too placid and trite. The title song, written by Neil Young, was a satire of sensational political scandals involving Oliver North and former presidential candidate Gary Hart. Other songs included "Got It Made," written by Stephen Stills with help from Young, addressed CSNY's earlier fans expressing happiness that they were secure and comfortable in their personal lives yet simultaneously urging them to remember their earlier idealism. It also included "Compass," David Crosby's lament on how much time he had wasted on drugs.
''American Dream'' was meant to be a concept album on the meaning of American dreams and aspirations, but critics and fans alike found that CSNY had fallen short of their goals. Writing in ''Rolling Stone,'' critic Anthony DeCurtis wrote, "Despite pleasant melodies, the occasional interesting song, and the signature harmonies, ''American Dream'' is, for the most part, a snoozefest." Writing in their 1991 book ''The Worst Rock and Roll Records Of All Time'', Jimmy Guterman and Owen O'Donnell were especially vicious, rating ''American Dream'' as the fourth worst album ever. As ardent detractors of Crosby, Stills and Nash, the two authors declared that they had not expected anything worthwhile from the trio anyway and took Young to task for his songs, which they felt made the album especially bad. Guterman and O'Donnell declared that Young's contributions to ''American Dream'' were flops that he never would have put on any of his solo albums. "Here, of course," they wrote, "they were the highlights."
David Crosby, in fact, agreed that the album had too many songs and that the writing was not up to par. "The whole thing, the recording of ''American Dream,'' it got stretched out. And we did not have, really, the best group of songs to work with. . . . Then, even though we did not have enough good songs, we ended up putting fourteen of them on the album! I think that was stupid."
''American Dream'' peaked at number sixteen on the Billboard charts and went platinum. Young moved on and revitalized his solo career, while the remaining trio turned to touring and recording occasional albums together.