Friday, April 28, 2006

Neil's mission accomplished

Play it: Neil Young Living With War

At this point, with Bush's approval ratings falling faster then a drunk at closing time, releasing an album that takes Bush to task is a little like... well... kicking said drunk. Be that as it may, it sure feels good to hear the 'angry' Neil Young again. Recorded in only a few days using a power trio (plus occasional trumpet and large singing choir,) Living With War finds Shakey at his inspired best... the Neil we have only seen glimpses of since Ragged Glory. The album's being rushed to the market (next Tuesday for download, CD shortly thereafter... record label folks only just heard it last week) and it's streaming free on his site (good luck there - the site is getting crushed right now by traffic) and also via Rhapsody.

Neil has a better track record, it seems, when he gets that idea from his gut and gets it down on tape as quick as possible (Tonight's The Night, Rust Never Sleeps, Mirror Ball,) and that seems to be the case here as well. Of course, everyone is going to be (already are) talking about the song "Let's Impeach the President," which is unfortunate, as that sentiment (which I should point out, I share wholeheartedly,) may end up marginalizing the whole of the album, which has a lot of points that both Red and Blue states can get behind. Remember "Rockin' in the Free World" was a song that had both left and right bobbing their heads, even though it took George's daddy to task. I suppose it was only natural that Neil set his sights the son, and Living With War makes him two for two on the turkey shoot.

My first listen fave is "Shock and Awe" as it's Neil at his best... taking folks' words and turnin' 'em back on 'em in an innerestin' way:
Back in the days of shock and awe
We came to liberate them all
History was the cruel judge of overconfidence
Back in the days of shock and awe

Back in the days of "mission accomplished"
Our chief was landing on the deck
The sun was setting on a golden photo op
Back in the days of "mission accomplished"

Thousands of bodies in the ground
Brought home in boxes to a trumpet's sound
No one sees them coming home that way
Thousands buried in the ground

Thousands of children scarred for life
Millions of tears for a soldier's wife
Both sides are losing now
Heaven takes them in
Thousands of children scarred for life

We had a chance to change our mind
But somehow wisdom was hard to find
We went with what we knew and now we can't go back
But we had a chance to change our mind.

-"Shock and Awe" Neil Young
NYTimes on Living With War (04/28/2006)
Living With War blog
Neil's official site
Neil on

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The Covalent Bond said...

This is a brilliant album. Thanks for the heads up. I pulled my original song of the day to feature "Restless Consumer." If this album doesn't make everyone's top 10 albums of the year, I will be very surprised.

drake leLane said...

yeah, I like it a lot... the only thing I don't like about the "Restless Consumer" track is the 'diarrhea' reference. I know it's to make fun of the pharmaceutical ads with their side affects, but that's one side affect I couldve done w/o in a song ;)