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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Albums in Order Review: Living With War

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Longtime Rustie Mike "Expecting To Fly" Cordova has added another chapter to the Neil Young Album Reviews In Order Series with his thoughts on Living With War.

"I remember back in the 70s, being shocked when the amazing Zuma came out so soon after Tonight's The Night. Even though TTN was comprised of songs that had been shelved for two years or more, it was still amazing to get the gem of Zuma so soon after the genius of TTN.

I can say Neil has done it again. In early April 2006 when news started leaking on internet blogs that Neil Young had already completed a new album of protest songs, I was admittedly, a bit skeptical. After all, his previous work Prairie Wind was a solid effort and had only been released some seven months previously and its accompanying film Heart Of Gold had not even been released on DVD. But as the evidence mounted, the amazing blog entries were revealed to be factual and that indeed Neil Young wanted to release this as quickly as possible. Via his web site,
initially there came a first-person announcement by Neil Young himself, followed by the lyrics to the songs and a timeline, and then a stream of the album itself, which is how I first heard this record."

Continue reading "Expecting To Fly"'s review of Living With War. Also, check out e2f's other 45 reviews in the essential Neil Young Albums In Order Review Series.

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At 5/18/2006 02:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Young’s Living With War

I’ve wanted to comment on Neil’s Living with War for a few days now. After listening to it several times over the past few days, I’m convinced that this is Neil’s best album since “Tonight’s the Night”. Like that album, he just comes out and says what he means , and means what he fucking says. The music, although all electric, consists of classic Neil Young hooks and melodies, yet is nothing like he’s done before. That said however, there are clear references to his, and other’s, previous work. And finally, as a coherent body of work, the album hangs together like nothing he’s done since, well, “Tonight’s the Night”.

The songs:

After the Garden: This song just keeps getting better and better. The drum roll punctuating the introduction sucks you into the song and carries you right through the descending guitar notes at the end of the chorus. For me, this song bookends Joni’s “Woodstock” (“got to get back to the garden”). I can’t wait to see CSNY perform perform this song this summer.

Living with War: Is it possible? Two Neil masterpieces in a row. Actually, I hear this song as an acoustic piece, with backing vocals by CSN. Take out the fuzzy guitar and a very sweet and melancholy melody comes through. Another one I can’t wait to hear this summer.

The Restless Consumer: A relentlessly slashing social commentary, angry and defiant. Great metal folk protest!

Shock and Awe: A real balls-out rocker that calls this country’s leadership out. This song contains the album’s best line: “History was a cruel judge of overconfidence”.

Families: The most hopeful, bright and shiny song on the album; great guitar work with Neil’s patented “moving ooh” backing vocals. Chad Cromwell’s drums and Rick Rosa’s bass keep this one pumping along so it’s practically impossible not to get up and start doing the twist.

Flags of Freedom: Although Neil channels Bob Dylan on this one, I can’t help singing the lyrics to Powderfinger. Maybe it’s the line about watching our younger son going off to war that reminds me of that kid with Daddy’s rifle.

Let’s Impeach the President: Sounds like a sing-a-long to me; everybody now! Anyone wanna bet that CSNY will do this one on the Freedom of Speech tour this summer?

Lookin’ for a Leader: A song for the ages. Our country will always be looking for the “One” to lead us “from desperation and a broken world gone wrong.” Played over a traditional folk rock melody, with a great Neil Young hook to keep it interesting.

Roger and Out: Neil’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” This one could also be played as an acoustic piece. Both joyous and tragic, this beautiful song is a perfect way to close the album.

America the Beautiful: And just in case you forgot, Neil, and we, really, really love this country.


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