24 November 2006

Neil Young : Living With War

Apologies to my colleagues here at Blog Is Not......I haven't posted in an age and what I have posted has been pretty ephemeral. Apologies too, of course, to our legions of readers out there in Blogland. Anyway, I'm not really going to make it up to you right now because I only have time for a rapid-fire, guerilla style post but I just want to say how much I love Neil Young's most recent album. I know this one came out some months ago and it has taken me a long time to get to it but I'm glad I have. Neil makes a lot of albums and in recent years some have been a little hit and miss but Living With War really does hit the spot. For this album Young is back in 'Godfather of Grunge' (yuck!) mode, really cranking up the amps and hitting some very dirty chords. The reason for his burning passion? Seems he's wound up a little about the 'Iraq Debacle' and twisted minds in the White House. Lets be generous to Neil and forget that he once, around the time of 'back to the land' album, Old Ways, came out as a born-again Reaganite. We've all made mistakes, Neil, and you've certainly made up for it now! Every track reminds one of his glory days with Crazy Horse, from opener 'After The Garden', through the storming rage of 'Shock and Awe', the anger of 'Let's Impeach The President' to the penultimate 'Roger and Out'. The album closes, much like The Deer Hunter, with a wonderfully ironic 'America The Beautiful, except of course, he does think that America is beautiful but it's been hi-jacked by the Neo-Cons who have dragged it into the depths of the cess-pit.

Some might say that Young makes it seem all too simple and that global politics is far too complicated to be analysed on rock and roll album but really it IS that simple. Killing people is terrible; sending people to fight in an unjust and illegal war is terrible; politicians lying to the electorate is terrible; the establishment using the 'War On Terror' as an excuse to spy on the public and lock people up for years on end without charge is terrible; fraudulent elections are terrible...I don't need to go on. Neil Young has taken the temperature of the Western world and found that it is gravely sick. Best protest album in a very long time.


The Purple Gooroo said...

The stuff I heard off "Living With War" I liked, though it seemed a bit--maybe *too* rough, quality-wise--maybe just a *smidge* more studio polish would've gone a long way.

But then, I think it was supposed to be like CSN&Y's "Ohio" or Lennon's "Instsnt Karma"--quickly-made for dire situations..almost an aural newspaper. Keep on rockin', Neil.

It seems to me that the "Old Ways" thing, while appearing completely strange to me...was sort-of a "keep the fans on their toes" kinda thing--like Dylan's hardcore X-tian phase. I suppose all rebels become reactionaries at some point...even Lennon couldn't muster any revolutionary zeal for the "Double Fantasy" record.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you're right about the 'Old Ways' period. I expect, like Dylan, he was sick of being mistakenly bundled in with all that 60's hippy bollocks (as much as I have a soft spot for it!).

Yes, 'Living With War' is supposed to be very much an instant reaction to what's going on. I don't mind the lack of production values myself. I think it works okay for Neil Young.

The Purple Gooroo said...

Ha Ha Ha - I like that "60s hippy bollocks" myself.

I suppose you're right about Neil's 'non-production'--he seem sto be about the only one who can get away with it. I wouldn't accept it from almost anyone else.