I forgot to mention that Neil Young's new record was released online Friday. Just go to his webpage and the record, "Living With War" immediately begins playing. The process and history behind the whole recording is interesting. It was done in a matter of days and recorded in his house. That it was done when someone suggested that they needed another Neil Young protest song in the vein of "Ohio" right now, more than ever.
I've only listened to the record a couple of times, but I'll likely be buying it when it becomes commercially available in a few weeks. God bless the Internet in that you can cut an album and have it out to the public in a matter of weeks.
I am a Young fan, but not a rabid one. One of the first things you realize is that he's very hit and miss. And while Young received a lot of praise for last year's "Prairie Wind" it didn't grab me. Perhaps a little too quiet and introspective. This record, however, has nice crunchy guitars with a 100 person choir. It's an odd working ensemble, but I like it. There's a nice raw, urgent feeling to all the songs. So much of music you hear on radio and whatnot is so polished. It's good to hear something that's passionate and not processed to within an inch of its life.
Of course, it's songs like "Let's Impeach the President" that's getting a lot of attention. And hell, it's a catchy little song, if I do say so myself. I'll be surprised if you ever hear it on radio, the days of commercial radio playing something politically charged are pretty much done and gone in this age of Clear Channel. There's a lot of good music on the record, such as "Looking for a leader" and "Shock and Awe."
Just as interesting as the recording is going to be the reaction to it. Guess what, Fox News doesn't like it. Others are accusing Young of hypocrisy since in the days after September 11 he was one of the first musicians to produce a song in favour of fighting terrorism with "Let's Roll". That he is, in the words of "Let's Impeach the President", doing a flip, flop.
And hell, even if we use the Newfoundland blog arguments of recent weeks, and that is that most celebrities are being taken advantage of by lobby groups (in this case, the anti-war movement and the Democrats) and frequently don't understand the complexities of the issues at hand. And really, you're not going to find too many subjects more complex than the Middle East. Just for the record, I'm not completely buying that argument with Young.
If Young were writing about the seal hunt with the same kinds of songs (and really, I'm astonished there hasn't been more anti-hunt songs at this point) then we would lynch him. On the other hand, some celebrities do good work. I know there is a segment out there who hates Bono and consider him a pompous git, but I've always admired the way he goes after politicians to get them to do what he wants. And that he's knowledgeable on the subjects he talks about.
Hmmm, this is a little more convoluted than I thought, considering it was just going to be a "hey, check out Neil Young's new record." I do that sometimes. It's either a strength of a weakness - I've never been sure which - that I all to frequently understand both sides of an argument so well that I find it difficult to pick which one I think is best. Sometimes there isn't a best side. To this day, I'm still a bit torn on the Iraq War. How it was handled was terrible, but Saddam was certainly as loathsome a human being who ever inhabited the planet.
sigh... I drive myself nuts with this stuff sometimes.
If you become an anti-war person simply because Neil Young recorded something that criticizing the President of the United States, well, I have my concerns. But if you listened to it and it snapped you out of your apathy and get you more involved in what's happening, well, that would be a good thing.
What do you think?