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But, believe me when I say that Landing on Water is a good to very good to great album. I loved it when it initially came out, and it has only grown on me over the years.
I've always considered it the key central album in Neil's 80s work. It delineated and defined a significant turning point in Neil's mindset and recorded output. With it, we find Neil writing and singing catchy hook based melodic tunes while seeking public acceptance. Following the albums that came immediately before it, LOW was a solid effort finding Neil getting his feet firmly beneath him again while his head was still spinning with doubts. He was slowly escaping from his personal and professional musical mind chamber with introspective thought provoking lyrics of the time, augmented and at times dominated by overtly commercial studio synth pop production.
To me, it's the one album in Neil's career where he was truly trying to be commercial (be it seriously or as a statement of sorts). Jordan and Kootch were at the top of the 80s commercial rock/pop spectrum in '86 and they offered up the "standard" pop sound of the time, backing up and at times dominating Neil's lead.
Every song on the album has redeeming value. There are melodies, lyrics, vocals, and effects throughout that are catchy, thought provoking and curiously and endlessly interesting.
I'll never understand why people think the album is bad. It's a diverse yet cohesive work. Yes, it has a definite "dated" 80s sound to it, but again, that was largely Neil trying to be commercial, relevant and provocative, not ornery or defiant. The accompanying videos find him to be in a more sarcastic character based tone, but the album in its entirety is remarkably consistent.
Hippie Dream is an absolutely terrific song lyrically, and musically it has a boiling punch to it. But "the wooden ships--were a hippie dream, capsized in excess, if you know what I mean"...
Touch the Night combines angry screeching guitars, with a nice accompanying innocent chorus with very good vocals and matching catchy lyrics.
People on the Street, Weight of the World, Violent Side, I Got a Problem, Pressure, etc...are all engaging, fun, pleasant, thought provoking songs touching on fear, anxiety, internal and external doubt competing with an overriding humanity through some despair. The synth pop keyboard drumming dominance of the 80s is in full force, and it has always drawn me in, not away from the music.
Overall, I understand that we as fans all have our version(s) of Neil and his music that we are most closely drawn to. Clearly his 70s output is the "traditional" sound that elevated him to fame and has for the most part kept him there. His 80s work has largely been criticized and ignored, but there's value throughout, and Landing on Water is central to his "lost" decade. Neil was reaching out and finding his way back towards the mainstream, and quite successfully in my opinion.
"Take my advice
Don't listen to me"
and always remember, it's
"a victory for the heart every time the music starts
so please don't kill the machine, don't kill the machine..."
Thanks for the thoughts TopangaDaze! As you say, LOW is: "engaging, fun, pleasant, thought provoking songs touching on fear, anxiety, internal and external doubt competing with an overriding humanity through some despair." What more could you ask for in a Neil Young album?
I used to generally accept the common belief that “Landing on Water” by Neil Young was a lackluster album and thus didn’t give it enough of my attention for a good portion of my life.
Then, one day about 10 years ago, I figured I’d better take the time and listen to it again to make sure the album was really as poor as I’d been lead to believe. Since the time of my reevaluation, I have found myself reaching for Landing on Water more and more. And why not? I can’t just spend the rest of my days playing “After The Goldrush”. That would become rather dull after a while. As the wise scholar Robbie Krieger sang, “Variety is the Spice of Life”. See, that’s the beauty of Neil’s body of work; when you get too tired of the popular stuff you can swim in the muddy waters of his more eccentric works, and strangely his commercial successes and critical failures are often equally enjoyable, if one were to put aside all preconceptions of right and wrong.
“Landing on Water” is no different. It has its strengths and weaknesses like all the others. But after allowing myself to let my guard down and accept the unacceptable, I can safely say that I no longer feel that “Landing on Water” is a good Neil Young album.
“Landing on Water” is a GREAT Neil Young album.
Following two albums of genre extremism (the old-school rockabilly of “Everybody’s Rockin’” and the 100% pure, unfiltered country of “Old Ways”) Geffen records were fed up with Neil and his games. They wanted more of the same, more “Rust Never Sleeps”, more “Harvest”, not this new, bizarre experimentation. They threatened to sue Neil unless he coughed up something “Neil Young-ish”. Neil threatened to counter sue and after a lot of pushing and shoving all the suits were dropped. All this ugly business took its toll on Neil. His albums weren’t selling, his fans were turning their backs on him, the record label wouldn’t give him any money to record with, Sally Kirkland was suing him over some bogus injury she sustained on the set of “Human Highway”, and, to top it all off, his son Ben had severe cerebral palsy and Neil could do nothing about it. “Landing on Water”, his 1986 release, was Neil Young’s emotional response to the mountain of troubles that was finally starting to drag him down. It's as close to a musical nervous breakdown as he'd ever get.
"Landing on Water" is a return to modern rock, and Neil’s trademark electric guitar work is found all over the album, but sometimes you have to look for it, because Neil decided he wanted the beat up front, which I suppose was the hip thing to do at the time. This decision isn’t all bad, especially when you’ve got someone like Steve Jordan absolutely tearing it up. His playing is relentless and exciting, certainly the most ferocious drummer to ever appear on a Neil Young album. While I obviously enjoy Neil when he’s playing with the Horse, they tend to have only two gears – slow and slower. The albums that really give you a kick in the *** are the ones where Neil hooks up with a high-octane drummer who sends things into overdrive. Would songs like “I’m the Ocean” or “The Restless Consumer” have as much firepower if the Horse were chugging along? Look how the Horse took the wind out of the sails of “Rockin’ in the Free World” on “Weld”. Sometimes he needs more horsepower (no pun intended) under the hood, and Steve Jordan delivers big time. But at the same time the unbalanced mix does become frustrating. You have to strain at times to hear some really good stuff that’s going on in the background. Whereas most Neil Young albums feature songs with a lot of band interaction, this time there isn’t really a band. The trio of players didn’t really interact, giving the music a very cold, isolated vibe, which I think ideally illustrates the lyrical themes of the album.
I suppose one could look down on this album because maybe Neil is compromising and trying to make something commercial to get the record company off his back, no longer pursuing his whims into country music or rockabilly. Then again, is this really what the record label wanted? Isn’t he STILL flipping them the bird?
I don’t think Neil could be accused of not taking an album seriously. Just look at these songs. They are too good to dismiss. You might not like the style or the production but you have to appreciate the substance. He obviously believed in these songs at the time, just as he believed the emphasis on drums was the correct choice.
If the production scares you off, I suggest tracking down some live recording of the “Landing on Water” songs, which puts a little more of the human element back into them. A couple of songs were played ever so briefly in early 1984 and then they enjoyed a brief run on the 1986 tour following the album’s release. The “Landing on Water” material wouldn’t be revisited again until 1997 when “Hard Luck Stories” and “Hippie Dream” were dusted off at a Crazy Horse tour warm-up show in San Francisco. The synth-less version of “Hippie Dream” is a must hear for any true Neil Young fan. It’s the kind of hard rocking performance that can make smoke rise up out of your stereo speakers.The main riff is a chugging monstrosity, sounding like pile of rusted scrap metal being dragged across the cracked pavement of a garbage strewn tennis court in some post-apocalyptic world gone mad. It’s a mother of a song, and if you can’t appreciate it in it’s original form, maybe this more recent live rendition will make you a believer. If that doesn’t work, seek medical attention. There’s something wrong with you.
So here we have an album of strong, catchy songs, with a consistent production and reoccurring themes of anger, paranoia, self-loathing and depression running through it. It’s a total package, it documents an incredibly turbulent period in Neil Young’s life, and it’s probably sitting in the cut-out bin at your local music store.
1. Weight Of The World - A terrific synthesized beat drives this strong lead off cut. Maybe it sounds cheesy now but I don't care. I’m sure some will have trouble accepting a song like this coming from Neil. I’m sure many picked the needle off the record within the first 10 seconds. But you have to see beyond the dated style. Whether it’s Neil Young or The Thomson Twins, it doesn’t matter. It’s simply a great, catchy song. The herky-jerky beat sends me into violent convulsions. I wish Neil would revisit more songs from this album on his current tours, but I suppose a song like this is next to impossible to play live, unless he goes on tour with a wall of synths or a horde of robotic percussionists.
2. Violent Side - Pure 80’s. A sampled choir of children’s voices (like something out of a ‘Mike & The Mechanics’ song) disrupts an otherwise decent composition. A very dated production, but not completely unlikable. A far superior live rendition of this was performed by The Horse in early ’84. You’d be better off looking for that version. Every single time I hear the opening line, “Here comes the night…” I expect him to follow it with a Harrisonesque “doo-doo-doo-doo”, but of course he doesn’t (that would be madness). It may be a little too formulaic to be considered a career highpoint, but the lyrics are an essential chapter in this album’s dark tale.
3. Hippie Dream - If you only need one reason to buy this album, this is it. This is Exhibit A. You wouldn’t be out of line placing this song high on the list of Neil Young’s all-time best. It might even make the top 10. If Neil had spent the past few years playing characters and hiding his own true feelings in different genres, he finally kicks open the door for this powerful, angry and disgusted dissection of the decline of the oh, so great “Peace and Love” generation. They thought they were going to change the world, but instead they got wasted and either died along the way or turned to rust.
David Crosby had fallen victim to drug addiction. Neil had tried to help him but David didn’t get the message. He was too busy being coked up and toting an arsenal of guns on his drug-filled boat in Sausalito before finally finding his crack-head *** in jail, where he somehow managed to kick both cocaine and heroin cold turkey. And he wasn’t the only 60’s superstar in decline. Many of Neil’s contemporaries had turned into sad parodies of themselves by the 80’s, spinning their wheels, touring the oldies circuit, or sinking into sick debauchery until their royalty checks dried up. They got fat and slow while Neil stayed lean and mean and continued to explore new musical frontiers instead of getting embalmed. He never took the highroad. That is why he’s still going strong today.
Leave it to Neil to cut through all the bullsh** and tell it like it is. Even the 80’s style synthetic bass driven production that hampers much of this album cannot stop this wrecking ball from picking up steam as Neil throws his anger down in a frenzy of feedback drenched guitar psychosis. And it’s a goose bump moment when Neil hauntingly repeats “Don’t Kill The Machine” over and over and over again. One of his all-time best. Definitely.
4. Bad News Beat – Neil wears his sunglasses at night, or at least it sounds that way in this Corey Hart-ish piece of lightweight pop. “Bad News Beat” is often referred to as one of Neil’s all time worst, and it’s hard to disagree. The main riff is totally unoriginal and uninspired, but the verses are salvaged by a strong vocal performance from Neil who is in great voice throughout this album. His vocal is so strong and so full of energy that you almost have to believe that there is something more to this song that meets the eye. There is a sweet spot somewhere in the middle where snarling guitars bubble to the top of the pot and show you what might have been before sinking back down behind the onslaught of percussion and synths. Neil’s strange lyric seems to attack the media and lament the loss of his girl at the same time. Not one of his best.
5. Touch The Night - another standout on the album, with a cool music video to accompany it (check Youtube). In a way, this is the “Like a Hurricane” of the 80’s. It’s all there; a relentless, hammering beat, an epic guitar solo, a dramatic chorus. The choir of voices on the chorus is reminiscent of what Neil did with the recent “Living with War” album. If only the guitars were mixed up front to add some bottom end to it, then there would be no question of this album’s greatness. But people are afraid to give it a chance. I find this to be an arresting cut. I’d love to hear Neil play it live today and see what he does with it. The version from the ‘86 tour shows the Horse breathing new life into it, with Neil’s chaotic guitar shredding being brought onto the frontline where it belongs. Cross your fingers for an appearance on the Archive set.
6. People On The Street - An almost hip-hop beat starts off this song, followed by a vomit-inducing keyboard solo. But once that passes you find yourself in another catchy-as-all-heck song on what is supposed to be a bad album. How can an album loaded with such passion be a disappointment? A scale-climbing riff in the chorus is the real treat here, worth sitting though the somewhat unimaginative verses for, even if your pleasure is taken right back from you with the arrival of a weirdly soulful bridge that sounds like it came from an entirely different album. Lyrically, again, not his best, but they can’t all be “Powderfinger”, now can they?
7. Hard Luck Stories - The dated 80’s sound and synthetic bass really weighs this song down. And it’s too bad. There’s a good upbeat pop melody here. I think as a song it’s quite pleasant, but I can understand the disappointment with long-time Neil fans. It barely resembles any of his older work. This is what the popular production standards were at the time, though.
Why was he following the crowd? To satisfy the record label? Or was he truly inspired by this new style? You can’t blame Neil. A lot of good music got lost during this period, smothered by a technology-crazed recording industry. This was the “Invisible Touch” era, when records sounded like they were made by a Commodore 64 and the humans just stood by and watched it all unfold before their eyes. This song was played in 1997 in San Francisco in a more modern and satisfying (albeit typically sluggish) style by Crazy Horse.
8. I Got A Problem - Heavy duty riffing like only Neil can play it. This is the most Neil Young sounding of all the songs. It wouldn’t be out of place on the “Eldorado” E.P. Just an angry song, full of funky hellfire. In fact, this whole album is one big meditation on anger and negative feelings. What is the problem Neil is referring to? Well, for one, Neil was backed into a corner by Geffen Records and he didn’t like it. He came out swinging. “Every time we talk about it I break out in a cold sweat”. The music illustrates the pain he’s singing about perfectly. You can really feel his anxiety and tension. Maybe his anger was affecting his home life too. It seems like he’s doing some soul searching on this album, as if he feels guilty for being angry about his situation and the pressure he’s under. Speaking of pressure….
9. Pressure - A new wave techno seizure. It’s definitely interesting to hear Neil attempt something like this, but this cut may be a little too much of a shift in style for the “Sugar Mountain” fans to handle. This song is pure cyborg. A sharp, spastic Rolling Stones-style riff slashes your ears with a rusty scalpel before the schizophrenic chorus goes Mr. Roboto all over you’re a$$. A sampled primal scream is used for a keyboard solo. Another highlight of the album, and another example of Neil Young taking risks that few of his contemporaries would ever dare.
This album is pretty unique in Neil’s catalog, not only musically but lyrically as well. I can’t think of any other album of his where Neil expresses his vulnerability or bares his naked emotions so plainly, assuming that he’s being honest with us. He’s in trouble and he knows it and he thinks he’s cracking up and he’s looking for a way out. Powerful stuff. Don’t ever take this album lightly. Neil is in a bad way on it and while it sounds like it was a painful experience to go through, we the listener can reap the rewards by savoring this incredible piece of art that was born from Neil’s terror.
10. Drifter - The chord changes and tempo are very much in the traditional Neil Young style, but the repetitive, droid-like bleating guitar riff gets on my nerves after awhile. This is another song that could be a monster if he played it live. The lyric continues to let us know what’s really going on it Neil’s world. “Don’t try to fence me in/Don’t try to slow me down….I’ll stay until you try to tie me down….Don’t try to rescue me/I like to feel the wheel….”. He’s laying it all down on the line here. It almost plays like a concept album. It’s the story of what happens when the corporate thugs try to pull the reigns on an artist who thrives on creative freedom, and watching the results of this power struggle is fascinating. It’s good versus evil, both internally and external. He’s fighting the record company suits and fighting himself at the same time to regain control of his mind and soul.
When the music’s over I’m left with a slight feeling of sadness. The whole record sounds like a desperate cry for help. I always tend to think of Neil as a tough son of a gun who does what he wants when he wants and absolutely never compromises his art or takes any crap from “The Man”. He’s like an invincible super hero who never succumbs to the forces that are going against him. To listen to him here, with his back to the wall, faced with a future of uncertainty and insecurity, is a whole new experience for the listener. This record serves as a detailed journal of Neil Young’s physical and mental anguish during a terribly difficult period of his life. How can anyone dismiss an album like this? He tries to exercise some of his personal demons and manages to do it within the confines of infectiously catchy tunes. Those who have dismissed it, ignored it, or are befuddled by it, I advise you to take another look and try to hear what Neil is trying to tell you.
Thanks Zodiac! Some mighty fine writing their with some real gems like your take on "Hippie Dream”: "It’s the kind of hard rocking performance that can make smoke rise up out of your stereo speakers. The main riff is a chugging monstrosity, sounding like pile of rusted scrap metal being dragged across the cracked pavement of a garbage strewn tennis court in some post-apocalyptic world gone mad."
After all, aren't we all just trying to land on water anyway?
"Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A southern man don't need him around anyhow"
From Warren Zevon's biography, the sory is that he ran into Neil and invited him to play a benefit show. Neil then returned the favour by inviting him to the Bridge Benefit.
The biography uses passages from his diary. One passage reads:
July 10, 1992-Colorado
"Stopped to eat at what seemed like no more than a crossroads in the middle of nowhere: we walked in and there was Neil Young and his wife, Pegi. They're with their son at camp: pure coincidence.
July 11, 1992-Winter Park
...Up at 8:00 with a headache. Rode over to the festival site early with Randy Newman and his guy. Newman seemed to have no interest in me whatsoever...Neil and I running into each other was major local news. Later Neil and Pegi arrived, Neil wearing "Old Velvet Nose" boldly on his T-shirt...He asked me what we were going to do. We played Splendid Isolation and Cortez...great audience...great day. Neil and I spent some more time together. I sure like this guy and it was a thrill playing with him on stage.
Also, Warren Zevon wrote 'Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead'.
I was working on a steak the other day
I saw Neil Young in the Rattlesnake cafe
Dressed black, tossing back a shot of rye
Finding things to do in Denver when you die
The Party Man wants to party all night, get drunk all night, and get drugged all night. He wants to waste his life. And if he can screw some people along the way, he will do it.
The late Allan Bloom declared in his 1987 meditation The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students that
“Nothing is more singular about this generation than its addiction to music…Today, a very large proportion of young people between the ages of ten and twenty live for music. It is their passion; nothing else excites them as it does; they cannot take seriously anything alien to music.”
That statement is still true today. In fact, today’s young people know more about what is happening in the entertainment industry than what is currently taking place in the political or historical scene in the United States and elsewhere. If you doubt this statement, then take a microphone, start interviewing some young people, and ask them basic questions about politics and history. Then switch the questions to pop culture and the entertainment industry. The answer may surprise you.
But there is a sense that young people are products of the culture in which they are raised. In other words, they are like sponges; they grab everything that the Powers That Be put in front of them without examination. They cannot realize that they are being manipulated, since they cannot recognize who is their enemy and who is their friend. Plato even perceived that point way back in ancient Greece. With respect to music, Plato concluded that “through foolishness,” the people
“deceived themselves into thinking that there was no right or wrong in music—that it was to be judged good or bad by the pleasure it gave. By their work and their theories they infected the masses with the presumption to think themselves adequate judges…As it was, the criterion was not music, but a reputation for promiscuous cleverness and a spirit of law-breaking.”
I grew up listening to Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson and other soft rock artists. They were big hits in the late 1980s and 1990s. In fact, one had to be deaf to miss the top 40 songs.
But as I began to think about some of life’s deepest questions—the question of origin, morality, meaning, and destiny—it eventually became very clear to me that these artists were living in a fictitious and sometimes irrational world precisely because they all have succumbed to the false idea that morality or practical reason has little or nothing to do with their personal life.
It also became clear that many of those people have sold their morals for money, fame, and power and have surrendered themselves to powerful forces which sometimes are beyond their control. As Angus Young of AC/DC put it way back in 1985, “I’m an automatic pilot…Someone else is steering me. I’m just along for the ride. I become possessed when I’m on stage.” Michael Jackson admitted:
“I wake up from dreams and go, ‘Wow, put this down on paper.’ The whole thing is strange. You hear the words, everything is right there in front of your face. And you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry, I just didn’t write this. It’s there already.’ That’s why I hate to take credit for the songs I’ve written. I feel that somewhere, someplace, it’s been done and I’m just a courier bringing it into the world.”
Similar admissions have been made by people like Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Little Richard, Bob Marley, Jim Morrison of The Doors, Pete Townshend of The Who, Alanis Morissette, etc. Carlos Santana said the same thing back in 2000. Here’s how the Rolling Stone described it:
“His meditation spot is in front of the fireplace… a little higher up the hill, he calls the church. ‘Here’s where I hang out with Jimi and Miles and whoever, and play and meditate,’ he explains. The rest of the family likes to be in bed by ten, but Santana is a night person, so he’ll come up here until two or three in the morning.
“A card with the word Metatron spelled out in intricately painted picture letters lies on the floor next to the fireplace. Metatron is an angel. Santana has been in regular contact with him since 1994. Carlos will sit here facing the wall, the candles lit. He has a yellow legal pad at one side, ready for the communications that will come. ‘It’s kind of like a fax machine,’ he says.”
People like Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin made it very clear that powerful forces are the bedrock upon which Led Zeppelin is built. Page in particular “has never really hidden his fascination with magick (as British occultist Aleister Crowley spelled it) …particularly his manifestation in his music.” When asked the question, “Were your occult studies contributing to the vibe of your musical vision,” Page responded that they were “a point of reference.” The interviewer continued, “It’s known that you have quite a collection of Crowley artifacts.” Page:
“Certainly. I made reference to it in my music. I’ve always made references to the sources of my ideas.”
Page is not kidding here, and his own bookstore includes a wide range of literature, most specifically Kabala, tarot, alchemy, and Rosicrucian. Quoting William Burroughs, another magician and author of Naked Lunch, the interviewer declared,
“The underlying assumption of magick is the assertion of will as the underlying primary moving force in the universe—the deep conviction that nothing happens unless somebody or some being wills it to happen.”
Here we are faced with an essential point. Every human creature must submit his will or passion to practical reason, otherwise things will get irrational and chaotic—and sometimes diabolical. For example, a French aristocrat by the name of Marquis de Sarde refused to submit his will to the moral order during the French Revolution and consequently unleashed a hellish existence in France and its culture.
Less than a century later, people like Charles Baudelaire, Alexandre Dumas, Theophile Gautier—all of whom were members of the Hashish Club in Paris—followed almost the same irrational behavior. They deliberately ignored the moral order under the principle of “art for art’s sake” and indulged themselves in behavior that eventually hastened their death.
Baudelaire’s manifestos, The Flowers of Evil and The Litanies of Satan, were written under the influence of opium. He likened hashish to sorcery and magic. Opium obviously allowed Baudelaire to embrace radically blasphemous themes in his work.
We are witnessing almost the same thing in the music industry. Entertainers and musicians have submitted their wills to forces which are contrary to practical reason. Jimi Hendrix admitted:
“We try to make our music so loose and hard-hitting that it hits your soul hard enough to make it open. It’s like shock therapy or can opener. You hypnotize people to where they go right back to their natural state, which is pure positive…”
Hendrix also declared that through music, you can “get people at their weakest point.” When that’s done, then “you can preach into the subconscious what we want to say.” This has had detrimental consequences for musicians. First, they have become subservient to what rapper DMX himself has called “The Industry.” DMX declared:
“The Industry: it doesn’t have to do with talent; it’s about playing the game. The Industry: money, bitches, and hate…The Industry—if you ain’t got a strong mind—will break you down, [and] it’s a matter of time. They want you to dress like this and talk like that…The industry vultures with nothing to feast on…The Industry plays in the dirt, stays in the dirt—test the wrong one in the industry and you will get hurt.
“The industry wanted, dead or alive, new artists to sell their souls…to survive. The Industry don’t give a fuck about you! But the industry couldn’t make a dime without you!”
This is actually the case with Jimi Hendrix. It was reported that his manager Michael Jeffrey connived in his death in order to collect millions of dollars on Hendrix’s life insurance. Jeffrey, who died in a plane crash two years after Hendrix’s death, confessed:
“I had to do it. Jimi was worth much more to me dead than alive. That son of a bitch was going to leave me. If I lost him, I’d lose everything.”
To use DMX’s words, did Jeffrey “give a fuck” about Hendrix? No. Describing the looting expedition which was at the center of the Whig oligarchs since the Reformation, economic historian R. H. Tawney declared, “The upstart aristocracy of the future had their teeth in the carcass, and, having tasted blood, they were not to be whipped off by a sermon.” Jeffrey obviously had his teeth in Hendrix’s carcass, and nothing was going to stop him from drinking Hendrix’s blood.
But long before his death, Hendrix had already made a conscious decision to join The Industry. When you sell your morals for cheap and seasonal things like fame, power and money, then rest assured that you will be miserable in the end.
“I’m a tormented person…My pain is as big as my joy.”
Lady Gaga is basically saying the same thing. Madonna and people in The Industry are tormented people because practical reason is absent from their careers. They don’t want to control their passion. Madonna again is a classic example. When asked to defend her recently provocative outfit, Madonna had this to say:
“When it comes to women’s rights we are still in the dark ages. My dress at the Met Ball was a political statement as well as a fashion statement. The fact that people actually believe a woman is not allowed to express her sexuality and be adventurous past a certain age is proof that we still live in an age-ist and sexist society. I have never thought in a limited way and I’m not going to start.”
Well, the first thing about practical reason is that you are going to think “in a limited way” because you will go by rational rules which are universal. In other words, irrational rules are not allowed. People like Madonna have been living in an irrational world for decades. In fact, Madonna built her entire career preying upon other people’s children. How does she raise her own kids? Listen to the “unapologetic bitch”:
“My kids don’t watch TV. We have televisions but they’re not hooked up to anything but movies. TV is trash. I was raised without it. We don’t have newspapers or magazines in the house either.”
She won’t even allow her own children to express themselves. Why can’t she apply her own principles where they are really needed? Why the double standard? If she is right in saying that “the definition of freedom is being fearless,” why is she putting fear in the heart of her children? If we all have to join her fight in “gender equality,” why is she discriminating against her kin?
Well, the simple answer is that Madonna, like the late Prince, is working in The Industry, which does not allow her to put two coherent thoughts together. The Industry wants to turn all those artists into what Prince called “The Party Man.” The “Party Man,” Prince tells us, has no “rules and regulations,” which is to say that practical reason plays no part in his moral equation.
The Party Man has no loyalty to morality and to the ways things really are. He builds his substratum on a false or existentially weak foundation. He wants to party all night, get drunk all night, and get drugged all night. He wants to waste his life. And if he can screw some people along the way, he will do it. He lives by William Blake’s dictum, which states that “The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”
For “The Party Man,” reflections on life’s metaphysical questions is an afterthought. In fact, he is a man who does not want to think deep and act upon the basis of practical reason. He does not want to submit his lustful passion or appetite to the moral order. As a result, he becomes subservient to other principles, which inexorably are irrational, destructive, and sometimes diabolical. In that sense, “The Party Man,” to borrow a subtitle of a book, wants to create “chaos, disorder, and revolution.”
This chaos-disorder-revolution principle is quite congruent with two of Aleister Crowley’s famous maxims: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” and “There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.” This essentially satanic principle has been the bedrock upon which The Industry is built. In fact, the vast majority of bands from the late 1960s to this very day have implicitly or explicitly given allegiance to this oath.
John Lennon for example made no secret about Crowley’s principle when he said: “The whole Beatle idea was to do what you want … do what thou wilst, as long as it doesn’t hurt somebody.”
If you look at The Sgt Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band album, you will see Crowley’s picture in the background.
The same thing can be said of Led Zeppelin. Jimmy Page was so enthralled by Crowley’s black magic that he bought Crowley’s own house in Loch Ness, Scotland. Similarly, Scottish comic book writer Grant Morrison and British comic book writer Alan Moore have also been bitten by Crowley’s black magic. Crowley was also steep in the Kabbalah, and it is no coincidence that his disciples, Morrison and Moore, got drawn in to this Jewish magic.
Moore started to study Crowley’s magic and the Kabbalah intensely back in 1993, but he had known about Crowley since he was twelve years old, when he first read Dennis Weatley’s occult book. Actually, Moore’s interest in the occult and Tarot began at the age of five, when he first read The Magic Island by occultist William Seabrook (1884-1945), who himself was a friend of Aleister Crowley.
“There are references to Crowley in V for Vendetta,” Moore added. What is the message that Crowley taught Moore, which he included in V for Vendetta? Here it is: “destruction… is the first step in the creative process.”
Moore had to leave the rational world behind and embrace irrationality in order to come up with his “creative process.” He admitted:
“I found that I couldn’t progress any further with writing by strict rationality. If I wanted to go further with my writing, make it more intense, more powerful, make it say what I wanted to say, I had to take a step beyond technique and rational ideas about writing, into something that was trans-rational if you will. This being magic.”
What more ends up saying here is that his acclaimed comic books The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Batman: The Killing Joke, V for Vendetta, From Hell, Watchmen, Superman, Promethea, etc., were all born out of the irrational world, which to Moore means the world of magic and Crowley’s New Aeon.
This is one reason why Moore’s graphic novels, most specifically Lost Girls, is littered with pornography. One scholar writes that “with Lost Girls, Moore sought to bring ‘legitimacy to the genre of pornography,’ a ‘revolution’ similar, he argues, to the one that he brought to the comics industry.” According to Moore, Lost Girls is actually “an ongoing dialogue on the marvelous tradition of erotic art.” With Lost Girls and other subversive works, Moore attempts to challenge “the dominant discourse of morality and etiquette.”
In short, one can arguably say that modern pop music and the entertainment industry are largely based on Crowley’s maxims, and it is no accident that people like Jay Z are going back to their sources. Pop music, to a large extent, is also Judeo-Masonic, which is to say that it is essentially Talmudic. “Jay Z refers to himself as Jayhovah, a variation of the Kabbalistic tetragrammaton, or the so-called divine name.”
Prince actually grew out of this Kabbalistic culture. After his death, there was actually “a Jewish tribute” to him. Prince made a conscious decision to join The Industry, and that morally and spiritually killed him.
Because Prince was living a life that was completely outside the moral order, his only recourse was drugs. And psychiatrists in The Industry were more than willing to provide those drugs to him. In fact, it was reported that Prince was addicted to drugs like opiates for over twenty-five years. Aleister Crowley would have almost certainly applauded Prince for his contribution to the “New Aeon.”
 Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987), 68.
 Gemma Mullin, “How much do YOU know about British military history? Youngsters have no idea what D-Day is research reveals… so can you do any better?,” Daily Mail, May 16, 2014.
 For a historical study on these, see David Tame, The Secret Power of Music: The Transformation of Self and Society through Musical Energy (New York: Destiny Books, 1984).
 Quoted in Gerri Hirshey, “Michael Jackson: Life as a Man In the Magical Kingdom,” Rolling Stone, February 17, 1983.
 For further research on similar issues, Mickey Hart, Spirit into Sound: The Magic of Music (Petaluma, CA: Acid Test Productions, 1999); David Henderson, ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky: The Life of Jimi Hendrix (New York: Atria Books, 1978 and 2008); Tony Sanchez, Up and Down with the Rolling Stones: My Rollercoaster Ride with Keith Richards (London: Blake Publishing, 2010); Robert Palmer, Rock & Roll: An Unruly History (New York: Harmony Books, 1995); Stephen Davis, Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga (New York: HarperCollins, 2008); Pete Townshend, Who I Am: A Memoir (New York: HarperCollins, 2012); Mike Stark, Black Sabbath: An Oral History (New York: HarperCollins, 2002); Charles White, The Life and Times of Little Richard (New York: Da Capo Press, 1994); David Sheff, The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon & Yoko Ono (San Francisco: Berkley Books, 1982); Albert Goldman, The Lives of John Lennon (New York: William & Morrow, 1988); Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugarman, No One Here Gets Out Alive: The Biography of Jim Morrison (New York: Warner Books, 1980).
 Chris Heath, “The Epic Life of Carlos Santana,” Rolling Stone, March 16, 2000.
 Brad Tolinski, Light & Shade: Conversation with Jimmy Page (New York: Crown Publishing, 2012), xv.
 Quoted in E. Michael Jones, Barren Metal: A History of Capitalism as the Conflict Between Labor and Usury (South Bend: Fidelity Press, 2014), 1343.
 E. Michael Jones was indeed a prophet in arguing way back in 2000 that sexual liberation and political control go hand in hand. To understand what Madonna is doing here in a historical context, see Jones’ Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control (South Bend: Fidelity Press, 2000).
 Quoted in Patrick Goldstein, “COVER STORY : IT’S NOT EASY BEING NOTORIOUS : . . . Unless you’re Madonna. Nothing’s off limits to the pop icon, whether it’s ripping open her shirt to bare her breasts, bickering with Beatty or dumping on Costner. ‘Truth or Dare’ is her latest Big Event in which Madonna plays Madonna, flirting with reality in a film of her Blond Ambition Tour,” LA Times, May 5, 1991.
 “Madonna: ‘I’m a Disciplinarian,’” Fox News, October 14, 2005.
 Quoted in Heather Saul, “Madonna claims Met Gala dress is political statement about ageism,” Independent, May 5, 2016.
 William Blake, The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake (New York: Anchor Books, 1988), 35. No doubt that Blake placed that line in a poem entitled, “Proverbs of Hell.”
 Jason Draper, Prince: Chaos, Disorder, and Revolution (New York: Backbeat Book, 2011).
 Aleister Crowley, The Book of the Law (Boston: Weiser Books, 1938), 9.
 Quoted in David Sheff, The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon & Yoko Ono: The Final Testament (San Francisco: Berkley Books, 1982), 61.
 See for example Holly George-Warren and Patricia Romanowski, ed., The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001), 554.
 Eric L. Berlatsky, Alan Moore: Conversations (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2012); Richard Metzger and Grant Morrison, eds., Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult (San Francisco: Red Wheel/Weiser, 2003 and 2014).
 Annalisa Di Liddo, Alan Moore: Comics as Performance, Fiction as Scalpel (Jackson: University of Mississippi, 2009), 86.
 Lance Parkin, Magic Words: The Extraordinary Life of Alan Moore (London: Aurum Publishers, ), 271.
 Barry Kavanagh, “The Alan Moore Interview,” Blather.net, October 17, 2000.
 Todd A. Comer and Joseph Michael Sommers, Sexual Ideology in the Works of Alan Moore: Critical Essays on the Graphic Novels (London: McFarland & Company, 2012), 6.
 For scholarly studies on Crowley’s work and impact on pop culture, see for example Henrik Bogdan and Martin P. Starr, Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012); Hugh B. Urban, Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic, and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism (Berkley: University of California Press, 2006); Lawrence Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000); Gary Lachman, Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and the Wickedest Man in the World (New York: Penguin Group, 2014); Richard Kaczynski, Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley (Tempe, AZ: New Falcon Publications, 2002).
 See for example Richard Price, “Forget Scientology, celebs are now falling for an even more sinister ‘religion’: Introducing the Satanic sex cult that’s snaring stars such as Peaches Geldof,” Daily Mail, April 21, 2013.
 The Jewish Daily Forward has tried very hard not to say this, but the implication is undeniable. “Punk Rock’s Secret, Semitic History,” Jewish Daily Forward, July 16, 2009; “’Jews Who Rock’ Only Scratches Surface of Fame and Faith,” Jewish Daily Forward, July 30, 2014; Michael Kaminer, “Growing Up Jewish in Rock’s Golden Age,” Jewish Daily Forward, February 20, 2014; Seth Rogovoy, “The Secret Jewish History Of U2,” Jewish Daily Forward, October 14, 2014; Seth Rogovoy, “The Secret Jewish History of Pink Floyd,” Jewish Daily Forward, November 19, 2014; Seth Rogovoy, “The Secret Jewish History of The Rolling Stones,” Jewish Daily Forward, June 3, 2014; “The Secret Jewish History of The Who,” Jewish Daily Forward, April 20, 2015; “Glenn Frey and the Secret Jewish History of The Eagles,” Jewish Daily Forward, January 19, 2016; The Secret Jewish History of Bruce Springsteen — on His 65th Birthday,” Jewish Daily Forward, September 23, 2014; “Secret History of Paul McCartney, the Jewish Beatle,” Jewish Daily Forward, November 4, 2014; “The Secret Jewish History of the Beach Boys,” Jewish Daily Forward, August 26, 2014; “Blue Öyster Cult Explains the Umlaut,” Jewish Daily Forward, April 17, 2013; “The Secret Jewish History of Patti Smith,” Jewish Daily Forward, October 15, 2015; “The Secret Jewish History of David Bowie,” Jewish Daily Forward, January 11, 2016; “The Secret Jewish History of Aerosmith,” Jewish Daily Forward, November 13, 2013; “The Secret Jewish History of Cher,” Jewish Daily Forward, January 6, 2014; “Why Do So Many Grammy Nominees Have Jewish Grannies?,” Jewish Daily Forward, December 9, 2015.
 “Judeo-Masonic Rock,” Culture Wars, May 2013.
 Jay Michaelson, “A Jewish Tribute to Prince, Holy Unifier of Spirit and Sex,” Jewish Daily Forward, April 24, 2016.
 See for example “Man who prescribed Prince drugs before death is obstetrics specialist,” Guardian, May 12, 2016; “Prince Reportedly Treated for Drug Overdose Before Death; 911 Details Released,” Variety, April 21, 2016.
 Jon Boon, “Prince’s Alleged Drug Dealer Claims Late Star Had Secret Drug Addiction — Report,” Hollywood Life, April 23, 2016; “EXCLUSIVE: Prince’s former drug dealer tells how the legend spent $40,000 at a time on six-month supplies of Dilaudid pills and Fentanyl patches – highly addictive opioid pain killers – for 25 years,” Daily Mail, April 23, 2016.
How To Get Neil Young's Sound? | Discussion on 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things'
Neil Young's electric guitar sound has been described as like "a jet plane in a thunderstorm" and those who have witnessed and directly felt in their chest the aural assualt that is known as "Crazy Horse-style" know that which we speak.
First for me - you won't get to that guitar sound without approximating the signal chain.
There are many suggestions above - but none of them sound like 'that' guitar track. If you really want it - you should run down the wiggly Young path and start hunting for wrecked equipment such as below. From the sound of everything I imagine everything he's plugging into is out of specifications - and probably teetering on the edge of blowing up. Larry Cragg if fond of saying Youngs Guitar and Rig are a trainwreck waiting to have already happened.
Old Blackie is a 53 Goldtop that now has a Firebird Mini Humbucker in the Bridge Position and a late Metal covered P90 neck Pickup most likely borrowed from a Gibson ES330. The neck was reported to have been replaced by Gibson in the 1960s with one of the SG Les Paul Necks. Young had a mini toggle switch installed in the middle of the controls - what it does is send the pickups directly to the output jack bypassing the controls. That is what I believe is at the crux of why that guitar sounds so good.
If you look at the back of Blackie - there is a round aluminum disc underneath where the bridge is situated on top. I've hear rumor that their is some kind of Cragg built string locking mechanism in there.
The sound on the track you cited - is probably the bypassed pickups into an overdriven Tweed Fender Deluxe biased to 6l6 tubes (and he uses those older Bottle type) with his 'Whizzer' attached. His Current Whizzer controls three knobs - and has several presets positions to get that 'Young Sound'. From the sound of this track I'll bet Young is running the output of the Deluxe into his Magnatone Stereo 2 x 12 ( not the amp just the speakers).He's known to use both an EP2 Tube Echoplex and possibly a MXR Analog delay. The EP2 is famous for the tube distortion produced (and for being extremely finicky) - and the MXR has a long history of sound cool when pushed (often attributed to the transistors used). Also At the end of that track he's got some kind of Octave Divider going on.
Through it all Young sure gets some magic going - even the bass farting lows have a very musical quality - and the lead notes are very dynamic.
Birthday Tribute to Neil Young: "Like A Hurricane" w/ Randy Bachmann + Others
On November 11, 2016 -- Neil Young's 71st birthday -- The Canadian All-Star band paid tribute in Ottawa by performing "Like A Hurricane". The charity concert was held on behalf of the Canadian Public Service Union.
Randy Bachman with Luke Doucet and Melissa McLelland of "Whitehorse", Kelly Prescott, Terra Lightfoot as well as Travis and Dallas Good of "The Sadies" are featured. (Thanks Rusted Moon!)