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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Those New Songs: Falling From Above

Grandpa said to cousin Jed
sittin' on the porch,
"I won't retire
but I might retread

Seems like that guy singin' this song
been doin' it for a long time
Is there anything he knows
that he ain't said?

Sing a song for freedom
sing a song for love
sing a song for depressed angels
falling from above

Over the past few months, there's been quite a bit of debate going around the internets about Neil Young's new songs.

For purposes of this discussion, the following 11 songs are considered to be new since their debut beginning on the 2008 Europe summer tour:

01 Just Singing A Song (first: Helsinki 2008/08/07, 4th song that night)
02 Sea Change (Goeteborg 2008/08/09, 15th)
03 When Worlds Collide (Coburg 2008/08/23, 17th)
04 Light A Candle (Toronto 2008/12/04, 11th)
05 Fuel Line (Auburn Hills 2008/12/07, 18th)
06 Cough Up The Bucks (Worcester 2008/12/13, 12th)
07 Hit The Road (Worcester 2008/12/13, 14th)
08 Get Behind The Wheel (Worcester 2008/12/13, 19th)
09 Off The Road (NYC, 2008/12/15, 19th)
10 Get Around/You Don't Need A Map (NYC, 2008/12/16, 15th)
11 Fork In The Road (Neil's Garage debut 1/7/09).

Thanks Sharry for research and keepin' jive alive in T.O.!

(If you haven't heard all of the new songs, Roel's Rust Radio is rotating recent stes this weekend and Johnny's Song Dog site has samples.)

So, it would seem that quite a few folks are less than enamored with the new songs -- in particular the Linc-Volt car themes. Or as Mark "spook_the_horse" characterizes the reaction on Rust : Message: New Neil & Record Company Clowns...: "a general chorus of slight consternation and no little disquiet."

neil_young_forehead_hand.jpgThe latest round on Neil's creativity was sparked by Village Voice's review of last month's NYC shows by Rob Harvilla "Let's Avoid Neil Young's Next Record: The old stuff enthralls, but the new stuff terrorizes at MSG:
"I am struggling to think of anyone who could possibly give less of a fuck about what you think of his/her new album than Neil Young does. But each song tonight creates an unpleasant binary effect: Love it if we immediately recognize it; barely tolerate it if we don't."

And many reactions have tracked along with the sentiment. Regarding the most recent song "FORK IN THE ROAD":
"The other car songs featured on tour are decidedly bad, but this 'Fork in the Road' song is so distressingly awful that it almost seems like a joke. So hideous that one almost has to laugh at the situation. Would a record company actually listen to this garbage and then agree to release it? At some point, they're going to have to take a stand - right? I'm actually rooting for the record company here."

And this comment:
"Seems to me all of Neils recent output about cars and driving around the great USA is low on melody. High energy and just churning on seem to be getting the upper hand, much like on Living with War. Do you suppose that's the price of making quick, Current Affairs Music? (On the other hand, his old current affair songs had GREAT melodies..)"

PunkDavid adds harshly with The new songs - Please tell me they get better:
"I don't think that words can really adequately describe my opinion of these songs. I'd like to think that this is how fans must have felt when they first heard Trans or Everybody's Rockin', but as strange as those two albums were, there was something new and radical in the music. There was a twist, a gimmick, an experiment that didn't quite work.

This new stuff is simply the most tired music I've ever heard from Neil. I hope it's just half-baked and needs to be reworked in the studio, or something, but I'm afraid that there's not enough substance to make the songs be anything short of below average at best.

I've been a fan for 20 years. I've bought every new Neil album immediately after release for 15 years. Even when I was listening to new albums that I knew were well below Neil's peak performances of the past, I could still find merit in them. Even Are You Passionate, which I rank as Neil's worst solo release, had sparks of brilliance amid the shlocky sentimentality of lyrics set to a musical genre that
was poorly suited to Neil's musical skills. These songs are right in Neil's comfort zone musically, but there's nothing to them. The lyrics are pedestrian, and the music I'd call pedestrian too [snip]."

neil-sad.jpgAnd on and on. On this blog we've read the blowback and disbelief over the new songs from "Just Singing A Song Won't Change The World" to "When Worlds Collide" to "Sea Change" to "Light a Candle" to "Get behind the wheel".

The lyrics are lame. The songs have no melody. Re-hashes. Neil's Washed up. Even gripes about having to pay $100's to hear crappy new songs.

But you know that when the Dylan comparisons start to kick in as Charlie posts then trouble can't be far behind:
What I love about Neil albums like "Trans" and "Landing on Water" and even "Everybody's Rockin'" - he was exploring, trying something new. This new song is simply another along the lines of "Piece of Crap" and "Dirty Old Man" - Neil can put this stuff out in his sleep. It's not bad, but we've been there before. I'm not a big fan of "Greendale", but at least he had a vision for something and I appreciate it for that.

I'm just sayin' that Neil's more recent work, over the past decade or so, has, as a body of work, been neither of the quality of his past work nor represented a great departure from things he had done before. And as for being a lyricist, Neil perhaps isn't in the league of Bob Dylan (who hasn't been too shabby in releases lately either, all of which are at a very high caliber, too, ranking with the best of his entire oeuvre), but his older work typically was written by a craftsman - "Words", "Alabama", "Cortez", and so on. Brilliant lyrics combined with always excellent music. I just don't see the same songcraft in this latest song, or in much of his later work.

We find some of this vitriol quite amusing -- especially when we hear that Neil is just churning out songs for the sake of it and tossing them off like so many logs on the fire. Particularly since this is a guy who wrote "Down by the River", "Cinnamon Girl", and "Cowgirl in the Sand" all in a single afternoon while sick with a 103 degree temperature. Or wrote "Mr. Soul" in only five minutes.

But it really has been harshing our mellow here at Thrasher's Wheat to read day after day the blistering criticism of the new songs. But -- of course -- not everyone dislikes the new songs. Actually, many fans do seem to appreciate the new music and what Neil is trying to do.

And we think that Aaron, "That Old Country Insufferable Knowitall"'s analysis An Alternate Theory of Change (lengthy, but perhaps offensive enough to read) pretty much nails the validity of new Neil songs. TOCIKIA posts:
My argument will be this: that Neil hasn't changed nearly as much as many have supposed him to. One thing that has changed in many cases is the lens through which he is viewed. I believe that as the listener ages, they are less and less open to new forms or directions of art. In this case that means you are less likely to find new music that you like, especially if it moves in new directions, as you age. What that means, specific to Neil, is that while I agree that the nature of his work output is changing, I think few would dispute that that has been the only constant of his career.

In other words, our reaction to Neil's new songs says more about *us* than it does about Neil and his music.

One can recall what audience reactions were to the new Tonight's The Night songs in 1973. Is what we're experiencing comparable? Of course not.

A Man Needs A Car

As "M" comments on a L.A.Times interview with Van Morrison:
"Some artists, of course, make an art out of veering from the script mentality. Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen hold court atop the list of rockers who strive for liberation with every performance. Jazz as a genre also counts spontaneity among its core values, just as gospel at its most inspired seeks something higher through performance."

Peter D. from Holland posits:
Neil is in my opinion always reinventing himself, on every record or whatever he releases. You can't really say that he has done the same thing twice.

Neil's reinventions do not always please us. That's because he finds the reality of the new invention more important than the success it will or will not have. And that's why he releases it (same reason for releasing the Archives: 'just give'em everything: the good, the bad and the ugly').

Those two points are THE reasons why Neil is still alive and present and, if I may say so, why he is one of the few pop icons that really is a true artist.

Last but not least: name me one other artist of this status who delivers new output as much as Neil. The last few years we have had sometimes 2 or 3 items per year or more…I can only be in awe.

OK, so the new song lyrics may be simple and direct. So maybe Neil got tired of obfuscating lyrics since no one can even figure out Powderfinger means? Give listeners literal messages they can figure out. "Light a Candle"? What could that possibly mean? Hmm. "Singing a Song Won't Change The World". Gee. What would change the world? "Sea Change"? We always thought that was about the Obama campaign. So on.

And before the accusations of being a Neil sycophant start flying as usual, we'll leave you with our thoughts after hearing most of the new songs live during our excellent road trip adventure last month:
At this point, we're just not going to get into a debate on the merits of these 10 or 11 new songs that were worked into various combinations the setlists in Philly, Boston & NYC.

For the doubters of the new songs, we'll just say that sometimes it takes time for them to age, breathe and to come into their own. The point being, that pushing ahead into new frontiers is sometimes more inspiring then plowing the same old ground. Breaking through the wall. We like to call it taking a risk. Without risk there is no growth. I for one, would be disappointed in Neil for not trying out something new and just giving us the hits.

That being said, Neil had some heavy duty messages. We'll challenge anyone - your Dylans, Springsteens, your flavor of the month band to go out and tell it like it is. Even if it's maybe not the most elegant lyrics Neil has ever written.

So let's take "Cough Up The Bucks$" for example. Who wouldn't plunk down a few $'s to hear Neil sing @ MSG in NYC -- blocks from Wall St. -- a song about corporate welfare and reckless greed? It's like going into the lion's den with red meat. So we'll cough up the bucks to maybe hear "Cough up the Bucks" again! Afterall, it's only fuckin' money.

That's change we can believe in.

In conclusion, it would seem that some long time Neil fans have reached a fork in the road in terms of appreciating Neil's career direction. So which fork in the road will you take?

Over on Karen's blog Come In, she's running a poll on "What is your favorite song in Neil’s new batch?"

Cast your vote and come back and tell us what you think. No, what you really think. Are you taking the stay the course fork? Or are you ready to be the change?


At 1/11/2009 07:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm gonna stay the course AND be the change, Thrasher. : ) I'm gonna stay the course as a crazy Neil Young fan, and whatever change my favorite artist is going to take me on, I'm game. I may not always like every single song, but I do like this batch. What one do you like? Come on over and VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE NEW NEIL! Thanks for the shout out about my poll, T ! loveandaffectionkaren

At 1/12/2009 02:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When are we going to hear an update on the Archives?

At 1/12/2009 05:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with Neil til' the end of the line. I love what I've heard of the new stuff so far... Must be an age thing, got a feeling i'm at least 30 years younger than most other readers at TW!

Thanks for that post Thrasher, looks like it took a lot of time, and it certainly captures the feelings of everyone here at the moment...

...except the feelings regarding the archives, of course...

Davie From Scotland

At 1/12/2009 07:14:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been listening to Neil for 38 years.
Seen him 100 times in concert, loved alot of the changes over the years, bought every release to date, and have pre-paid for the Archives on Blu-ray.
But these new songs are not just some sort of change or different direction in his music( such as Trans or Everybodys Rockin).These new songs are just awefuly written, weak,boring, and kind of embarrassing for someone of Neils caliber.Maybe one song like this he can get away with, but we're talking like 10 horrible songs !!!
I can certainly accept at this point if Neil is finished as a songwritter, since we have so much greatr stuff already from him.......BUT I think someone in his inner circle of people NEED to tell him that these songs just totaly suck and are not worthy of any release or live performance.
I guess it will be Linc-Volt the album, if its ever recorded for release...... but the writting is just pure garbage that a 13 year old kid could write. Someone please wake Neil up.

At 1/12/2009 07:29:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

there was a time when part of the excitement of seeing Neil in concert was that he would play some new songs ! Those days are gone ! the new songs sound forced, as did some from CD2....but the new ones are worse....much worse.
It;s like someone put a gun to his head and said " write a song in 2 minutes".... this new stuff is aweful NEil ! Smoke some pot,get drunk,drop some acid , hang out all night and try writting a song the next morning. It might work.It always did in the past. Neils lifestyle is not conducive with writting great songs anymore.

At 1/12/2009 09:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in it for keeps. After 43 years, I'm not going to change my mind. I love Neil, and I love his songs.

Once again, I am simply amazed at all the negative comments on Neil's new songs. If you don't have anything positive to say, please don't say anything.

One of the things I've always appreciated about Neil's songs is that I can always relate in some way to what's being sung.

No, I do not think each song is necessarily a masterpiece, but I sure enjoy them!!!

I sure wish Neil could have performed "Fork In The Road" at MSG, but it probably wasn't even written yet. WOW!

There's one line in this song I just can't seem to understand. It's the line after "Got to get a job." If someone can help with this, I'd sure be grateful.

Thanks, Thrasher!

Marian M.

At 1/12/2009 10:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrasher, I know this is off topic in relation to the thread but is there any new news on the Archives website yet? A few weeks ago we were told it would be up and running "next week" - whats going on?

At 1/12/2009 10:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To those who post - "if you can't say something positive then don't say anything" - you are going to have a very difficult life. (You are also marking yourself as an excellent target for a Cult recruiter.) No one would be on this site if they didn't love Neil, but cheerfully drinking the Kool Aid should not be a requirement.

The new songs suck. But so have most of the songs he's written over the last few years, to a greater or lesser degree. That's not unusual - Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell... they all fade. (Mostly Dylan, too, but "Mississippi" and "Most of the Time" and a couple others are almost as good as his older stuff.) Neil's saving grace, that sets him apart from his songwriting peers, is his guitar. He is vastly underappreciated as a guitarist and he can redeem really pedestrian lyrics with his playing.

No one wants him to retire, but we really need to quit pretending that the lyrics don't suck.

At 1/12/2009 11:36:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"if you can't say something positive then don't say anything"

Thats absurd ! Would you want to live your life like that ? would you want to live in a society like that, where you say something positive or keep your mouth shut ?
That in itself is more negative and against the grain of human behaviour, than any criticism of Neil.

I think all the new songs realy realy suck, but nobody is gonna say " hey, Neil you cant write anymore".

I also think at this point he is just a different guy and doesnt get it.He's famous, he's a star all his life and has written alot of great songs.I think it's hard for him to realize he aint the same cat ! I dont think he could ever again write a song like " Needle", " Old man", "Tell me why"...... becasue even if he did, he would screw them up and make them electric and complicate the music.Its rare that Neil ever writes a good acoustic song anymore and doesnt fuck with it and make it something else.If he wrote "Needle" yesterday, he would just destroy it.

At 1/12/2009 12:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Once again, I am simply amazed at all the negative comments on Neil's new songs. If you don't have anything positive to say, please don't say anything."

I meant this as a suggestion; not an edict. Believe me, I'm one who will shout the loudest for freedom of speech.

What I was trying to convey was that just saying something "sucks" doesn't help anyone.

What do you honestly suggest Neil do in order to help him improve his song writing? I'm not trying to be sarcastic here.

Marian M.

At 1/12/2009 12:29:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

While I would say that "if you can't say something positive then don't say anything" isn't exactly the philosophy here @ TW, OTOH unsubstantiated vitriol is unnecessary.

Saying the lyrics "suck" is so totally unenlightening & uncreative tho.

If you have some specific, valid, insightful criticism fine. But your unsubstantiated criticisms are a bore.

Look we made an effort to make a case. It least you could do the same with your negativity.

Throw your hatred down, dude.

At 1/12/2009 12:31:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks Marian.

Looks like you beat me to the punch.

At 1/12/2009 12:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, that's a little more reasonable. Unfortunately, it's not like he can go on a "songwriting diet" and suddenly lose 20 pounds of suck. There's no answer. Inspiration fades with age. (See every other songwriter from the seventies.) Maybe it's like ova - you're given a certain number at birth and once they're gone, they're gone.
A suggestion might be to go back and record a couple albums of stripped down cover versions of songs he loves. Dylan really seemed to recharge his energy when he did "World Gone Wrong" and... I forget the other one, but they were both excellent. Mainly, though, I think he needs to stop thinking that everything he can write is automatically a song and every fragment he can play is automatically a melody.

At 1/12/2009 12:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Thrasher!

I appreciate your standing with me on this.

Marian M.

At 1/12/2009 12:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrasher - "Unsubstantiated criticisms"? "Unsubstantiated vitriol"?

Where, pray tell, does one go to have one's vitriol and criticism substantiated? And what are the criteria for substantiation?

You're just being silly here. I sat and listened to Thrasher and Powderfinger and Sedan Delivery and Welfare Mothers before I had ever heard them on a record and I didn't need substantiation to know they were masterpieces. Ditto 95% of what he wrote, sang, and recorded up through Live Rust and from Freedom through Sleeps with Angels.

It's called having an ability to exercise critical judgment. People have posted at length as to why the new songs suck. The lyrics are embarrassingly bad and there don't seem to be any melodies. What more can you say?

The fact that Neil doesn't write good songs anymore does not in any way invalidate what he's done in the past or the reasons why we love him. But putting imaginary clothes on the Emperor does not disguise the fact that, for many of us, he's naked these days.

At 1/12/2009 01:35:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Look Nattering Nabob of Negativity.

You've made the point "The lyrics are embarrassingly bad and there don't seem to be any melodies." over & over. We've got the point you don't like the songs. Give it a rest. Continuously repeating it doesn't make it more valid.

Also, you know perfectly well about posting criteria. See the posting guidelines linked to each comment form.

Lastly, do you think you could associate yourself with some sort of identity? Otherwise, we'll refer to you as NNN.

At 1/12/2009 01:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article, as usual.

I'd like to comment, in defense of all those who have reacted negatively against the new songs. Primarily, I'd like to point out why the negative reactions to this new batch of songs is NOT the same as the negative reactions that fans have often had to Neil's new music over the years.

Firstly, inresponse to the comment by marian m:

Once again, I am simply amazed at all the negative comments on Neil's new songs. If you don't have anything positive to say, please don't say anything.

For a million reasons, I don't believe in this attitude, at least not in the realm of internet discussion. Perhaps it's rude to make negative comments in a face-to-face setting, but if the internet is nothing else, it is a forum for honesty and the exchange of ideas, popular or not.

For example, while I will always love Neil and his music, when I see something in his music that calls for comment or criticism, what better way to air those criticisms than with the only people who will possibly understand, other Rusties? Obviously, the negative reactions to the new songs are not isolated to a couple of sour apples. These critiques have generated a lot of discussion, and discussion, IMO, is almost always a good thing.

In the end, I think a common theme found in the critiques of the new songs is something that has been largely absent from past critiques of Neil's "departures". These new songs are NOT departures. Unlike Trans, or Everybody's Rockin', or my favorite whipping boy, Are You Passionate?, there is nothing really new or experimental about these new songs that would warrant them being considered a "departure".

The music is plodding. If Neil was trying to evoke the feeling of a 10 hour car ride, he has been successful in that. However, where such an image worked really well on a song like "Southern Pacific", it is far less satisfying musically on the "car" songs, and certainly even less so when there are 7 or 8 of them.

I agree with Aaron's general assessment about people growing less open to new music as they age. I think this thesis is well demonstrated. However, as I said above, the reaction from Neil's fans towards the new songs seems not so much a reaction against something NEW as they are a reaction against something OLD. I'd be more open to Neil producing the worst hip-hop album ever made then I am to him producing a new album of simple, droning, road rock that is hardly worthy of negative outcry. AYP was at least an experiment in a new genre that Neil had barely touched previously. I don't think it worked, but I can respect Neil's desire to try something new.

As Thrasher wrote, "One can recall what audience reactions were to the new Tonight's The Night songs in 1973. Is what we're experiencing comparable? Of course not." Of course, it is not. I think it's a mistake for Neil's fans, even if they totally dig the new songs, to dismiss the current reaction as being "just another example" of people not getting something new that Neil is doing.

I can almost always find at least one brilliant song on every new release by Neil Young. Hell, I even liked "Dirty Old Man", a lot. But I'm afraid that I am unable to vote for a favorite new song on Karen's poll. None of them really stand apart for me, and none of them rise to the level that I want to express outright support for any of them at this point.

Looking forward to the Archives more than ever (now that I've got the Blu-ray drive hooked up to the computer),

--PunkDavid (who is disappointed that his quote got cut off right before the "wheelchair" comment)

At 1/12/2009 01:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, Drinker of the Kool-Aid,
What difference does it make if I'm Anonymous or Bilbo or Jack in the Beanstalk (and all the comments relating to whatsername's "If you can't be positive, don't post" idiocy are not mine) - the points are the same.

Your fellow Traveler whined that everyone was just saying the songs sucked without any justification or explanation. This was absurd. Others, and myself, have posted at length, from decades of experience listening to Neil, as to why the new stuff is substandard at best and truly abominable at worst. You chimed in to support her with an even less intelligent post about "unsubstantiated" criticism.

Dude - like many people who visit this board I have been listening to Neil for 39 years. I have heard every song he has recorded and a bunch of them he hasn't. The new songs are awful. That criticism is substantiated by a lifetime of critical listening experience.

Learn to live with it. You wanted positive suggestions. I gave them. (Record a covers album. Maybe actually work on his songwriting instead of infatuating himself with every word that issues from his mouth.) You ignored them.

So, enjoy your Kool-Aid party. (I also have a little bit more bad news - I've heard almost all the unreleased songs that are likely to appear on the archives and, for the most part, they've been unreleased for a real good reason. Maybe the Bus Crash album made sense twenty years ago, but Neil's been relentlessly mining his back catalog for years and the fields are getting pretty bare.)

Adios, big fella. Hope you amount to something when you grow up.

At 1/12/2009 02:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You make me laugh. You're like Geffen or Jimmy McDonogh trying to tell what to do.

Like you really know best to give Neil career advice. If Neil took your pitiful advice his career would've been over long ago.

Record a covers album??? For all we know, he probably has and just didn't release it.

x marks the spot

At 1/12/2009 02:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why many fans think these new Neil songs are pure shit. It's the same with Bruce Springsteen's new record: Many fans were scared by the album cover and the first singles. It is the same here: "The songs and the lyrics are too easy..." Oh, come on!
In my opinion, the new Neil songs have an easy melody, OK, but they are good! I'm a fan of those simple songs like "Piece Of Crap" or "Dirty Old Man", which is one of my favourites. They are good and fast rockers, something I sometimes miss in Neil's song collection. As Navid Kermani wrote, Neil & Crazy Horse tend to play slow songs (or that they don't play fast songs often). I'm of his opinion.
Maybe the upcoming Neil record we could hear emerging on tour will be something like "Living With War" which I would welcome. Maybe “Living With LincVolt”.

Bruce and Neil try something new and his so-called true fans suddenly run away.
Be quiet, listen and learn, all you unbelievers! Bruce and Neil know what they're doing!

At 1/12/2009 02:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Its rare that Neil ever writes a good acoustic song anymore ....."


Distant Camera,
The Believer

While not Canterbary House, these still pull full flavor


At 1/12/2009 02:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NEW stuff works well with the new Electric Band lineup.I have heard a continual improvement in each concert of these songs. I think there is a very innerastin chemistry with the new lineup. Neil is enjoying himself. Zejt up in T.O.

At 1/12/2009 03:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure the new songs are that great. Neil seems to be doing an eighties thing right now going through different concepts. However, the cool thing about Neil is this phase will be over sooner than we expect and then he will move onto a whole new concept that will excite and repulse a different group of people.


At 1/12/2009 03:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I bet Neil is a having a post-Harvest moment right now.

He feels that he's become too popular so he's writing & performing crappy songs so that the fair-weather newbie fans will get pissed that he's not being hippie/folkie/thrashie.

Better off down that road without those fans he's thinking.


At 1/12/2009 03:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rushing to judgment on anything Neil Young does is a fool's errand. Really, how many knew that "Hurricane" was an iconic song when it first came out? Iconicity takes time. He writes and dumps songs all the time. When will anybody hear "Bandit" again, even though it is a beautiful and haunting song? The car thing is an ongoing and recurrent passion in his life and in American culture as a whole. Remember, it was the Beach Boys who started the fad of wearing plaid Pendleton shirts, not Neil Young and Kurt Cobain. He said he's lighting a candle with the LinVolt instead of cursing the darkness, so allow him to see if there are some tunes in that passion. Jesus, he wrote a song about his frickin' hearse fer chrssakes. Cut him some slack.


At 1/12/2009 03:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad Todd above just mentioned "Light a candle".

Because some of the jokers on this thread only know how to curse the darkness.

So sad.

At 1/12/2009 03:32:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanx for comment.

Your wheelchair comment got snipped for somewhat obvious reasons. I realize that maybe you were trying to be clever about the phrase pedestrian, but I think given Ben's situation, wheelchair analogies are insensitive. Hopefully that doesn't set off the PC police.


At 1/12/2009 03:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hehe. I was just kidding about being upset. People can read the linked post for all of my zingers in their full contextual glory. ;-P


At 1/12/2009 03:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Dylan said to his critics at Royal Albert Hall:

"I don't beleive you. You're a liar"


At 1/12/2009 04:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone suggested the complainers make some positive comments. Well, in the post that Thrasher linked to in his excellent summary of the situation, I made such a suggestion, namely, that Neil should release less music but of greater quality. His new songs suggest they are quickly written with little attempt at wordsmithing them.

So Neil wrote "Cowgirl in the Sand" etc. in 10 minutes with a 103 fever. That does not mean that ALL songs he writes in a hurry are either interesting or meaningful. In fact, it tends to show how strange it was that at that one moment in time, he was massively creative.

I'm actually very much into change in music, and my interest in change is actually getting greater as I get older. Maybe that's my main problem with Neil - his new music is NOT much of a change from things he did before, but did before much better.

And before anyone raises the issue, I'm a HUGE Neil fan - been one for 30 years. I have bought, and will continue to buy, his new stuff - there's always something of value on there. And he's always great live, acoustic or electric. But still, I think he could do a better job with the new stuff if he worked at it a bit more.


At 1/12/2009 04:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

quote: "If you don't have anything positive to say, please don't say anything." - MARIAN M., there´s obviously something terribly wrong in your head. please go check yourself, you might hurt someone!!

thomas (

At 1/12/2009 04:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is no wonder that Neil feels burdened by his great catalogue. It seems that a handful of "fans" do not like the new songs and thus want to persuade Neil, Reprise or anyone else who listens that these songs are not up to standard and should never be released.

Perhaps Neil should stop playing unreleased songs in concert like he did for awhile post internet.

Or may be Neil should write a personal apology to each of these self important afronted amateur critics or ask them to leave the gig because he is going to play a new song that they may not like.

You're all just pissin' in the wind

At 1/12/2009 06:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long ago in the book of old,
Before the chapter where dreams unfold
A battle raged on the open blog,
Love was a winner there overcoming hate
Like a little girl who couldn't wait.

At 1/12/2009 06:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Percy - i like your style!

Self important afronted amateur critic

At 1/12/2009 06:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As Dylan said to his critics at Royal Albert Hall:

"I don't beleive you. You're a liar"

He didn't say that at the Royal Albert Hall, it was at the Manchester Free Trade Hall.

At 1/12/2009 07:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd just like to say, that while there is no great virtue in complaining, there is also no great virtue in toeing the party line and/or keeping negative comments to oneself.

If your kid writes an essay for school, and you read it and it's obviously not up to his abilities, do you pat him on the head and tell him he did a great job? Do you love him any less if you tell him that it would be embarrassing to turn it in as is?

When you rent a movie and you dislike it, do you tell your friends that you disliked it, or do you consider it rude to criticize that director's art since you know you couldn't do any better yourself?

People should try to do better than "The new songs are teh suck," but the people whose only response to them is that the complainers are self important [scare quote]"fans"[/scare quote] and amateur critics are just as self-righteous, if not more so, than the critics.

Quite frankly, some of the people reading this blog, and the people who are writing some of the critiques, are among the foremost experts in the world on Neil's music, by virtue of years of obsessive fandom that has led them to know every available recording of Neil's music. They have every right, and dare I say authority, to write intelligent and well-supported commentaries on Neil's new music, or old. The quality of the commentaries will vary based on the critic's writing skills, but these are not the opinions of the uninformed.

At 1/12/2009 11:13:00 PM, Blogger Lone Red Rider said...

"Fork In The Road" is "Bound For Glory Part II". Just wait until you hear the whole song and the characters will reveal themselves. It's a 13 verses long exposition on the twists and turns on life's highway. How did that girl hitchhiking with her dog become an old lady doing nails at the salon? How do we deal with the forks in our lives? How does "love at second sight" translate to heartbreak and despair 20 years down the road? It's all in "Fork In The Road". Just wait...and dream a little, with me. I'm not the only one....

At 1/12/2009 11:14:00 PM, Blogger Archives Guy said...

Here's a new song and music video for ya....Fork In the Road. Feel free to embed, download and take mobile.

At 1/12/2009 11:16:00 PM, Blogger Lone Red Rider said...

And for those who don't get the LRR sense of humor, that last post by me was fiction....but came from a little place called Hope :-)

At 1/12/2009 11:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone wrote:

Rushing to judgment on anything Neil Young does is a fool's errand. Really, how many knew that "Hurricane" was an iconic song when it first came out?

I respond: I did! Hearing that song for the first time on WPLJ in early 77 was mind blowing.

It is a great song. It was a life changing event - for me. It is a Strawberry Fields type song. Don't bring it into the Lincvolt song argument. It doesn't qualify.

Paul *SR*

At 1/12/2009 11:32:00 PM, Blogger Lone Red Rider said...

No way! Cosmic. Check out the post which came during the 30 second interval between my last two posts! Archives Guy outed me before I did!

Listen to it!!!! It was written for us!!!! The bloggers! This song is now all of a sudden really cool!!! Neil's speaking to us about this thread in one of the verses. Amazing. LRR

At 1/13/2009 12:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Archives Guy. Love the non-edited version of the song and what a great clip.

If you don't like the song that's fine that means that there is more for the rest of us who do.


At 1/13/2009 12:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Expressing an opinion about a song is one thing. Everyone is entitled to have their opinions. What bothers me is when people make it personal and start to make comments about Neil and his ability to write good songs, ect ... implying that his best days are behind him ... I think no matter how passionate people think they are as fans, its important to put things into perspective here ... Neil has essentially put out an album a year for almost 40 years consecutively ... he's practically in his own league when it comes being prolific. His canon is wide and deep and he has shown an amazing mastery of ALL that material ... in the last year his live shows have masterfully spanned material from those 40 years, both acoustic and electric, all played flawlessly! Its not a stretch to say he's in his own league and nobody is close. I saw the 12/15 MSG show ... whatever you thought about the new tunes anyone at that show who complains was unfortunately unable to enjoy a great show, but 90% of the fans saw it for what it was -- an awesome experience ... now back to the new tunes - Neil has always talked about how new songs come to him ... or through him ... and he's shown a devotion over the years, referring to this inspiration as 'the boss' and saying he keeps himself open to this flow and he drops anything and everything when he gets that inspiration to write ... as Thrasher said (as written in Decade liner notes), Neil wrote Cowgirl, Cinnamon Girl, and Down by The River while sick in bed with a 103 fever ... people have to realize it all comes from the same source and its all come because of Neil's dedication and respect for that source, and for lack of a better term, because of his diligence to serve that inspiration ... did you ever wonder why Neil happens to be 10x more prolific that your average super-rock star? If you look back at Neil's live shows over the decades he's generally pulled out one or two songs per album that he plays and the rest get left aside, (often much to our regret as dozens of good songs were played only a few times, and then were placed aside).

In light on that, i say to those that chose to get vitrol about the new songs - WHO cares if you don't like them - respect the process that Neil has adhered to and realize that if he were as picky as you he'd probably be just another superstar with maybe 5-10 albums, 20 good songs, and showing up on an oldies greatest hits tour every 5 years ...

We all have our own opinions about his 80s material and granted some was harder to love than the 60s-70s material, then all within a few years he broke out Ragged Glory, Eldorado, Freedom, Harvest Moon, Sleeps with Angels ... forgive me but I find it hard to reconcile fans who can say they've been around for 40 years and think Neil can't write anymore ... If you've been around since then you should realize Neil's writing is his writing, its the same as its always been, and just chill out - he'll have more new material soon ... but respect the source that's made him greatly prolific and don't suggest that he bites the hand that feeds him -- and us.


At 1/13/2009 01:26:00 AM, Blogger Chad Huculak said...

Man I love that new song. I was kind of hoping one of those repo men would be taking out a big box packed full of the Archives Vol. 1 as Neil shook his finger at the camera and sang "This is not for you".
I haven't heard Neil this rolickin' or rocking in a while.

At 1/13/2009 02:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

these new songs ,arent classics but
are part of a concept album ,a change in Neil Youngs music .I can listen and like some more than others.
Looking forward to seeing Neil Young in Australia at Last!

At 1/13/2009 02:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, shit! That video is GREAT! The song is really good, I dig it a lot. If this is what the final product ends up being like on all the other ones, my best hopes will have been satisfied.

What a pleasant surprise!

At 1/13/2009 03:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the video will change a lot of people's minds about Fork in The Road, and perhaps the other songs as well.

I certainly feel that hearing the new songs live and in person makes a huge difference. I heard the first three new ones via 'field recordings' from Europe in late summer, and didn't get deeply into them at all until I heard them on the west coast leg of the tour in October.

Then I saw the last four shows in December, caught all that Linc-Volt material as it happened, and loved it.

Similar to what was previously posted about Neil's dedication to the muse, I have always felt thus:

Whatever song you think you want to hear Neil play at a concert, the best song to hear him play is the one he is passionate about at that moment. So bring on the new songs and the passion, as opposed to a rote performance of an old favorite.

At Rock Am Ring in 2002, Neil introduced one song by saying, we're gonna play one for you now, we been practicing it a long time. It does take up the space that new song could occupy, so we hope you like it. It was Cinnamon Girl. I for one wish it had been Mr. Disappointment!


At 1/13/2009 04:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Archives Guy, thank you so much for the video!It's great, really love to see how Neil is enjoying singing this song!

At 1/13/2009 05:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the new songs are sub-standard Neil. Hopefully, like in 1984 when he played some horrible new songs at the Catalyst ("Rock Forever"), we won't hear these songs again, and hopefully he won't record them.

I think Dylan is a good role model for Neil. Dylan got back on track by getting back to his roots and recording those two albums of folk covers; and he also stopped making one album every year, instead he now puts out one album every 4 or 5 years -- and they are infinitely better.

This is what I would like to see Neil doing: recording a covers album, preferably acoustic, so that he can get back to his folk roots and hopefully reignite whatever was there in the first place.

-- Glenn

At 1/13/2009 05:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that video. Outstanding stuff. And he's right, there does seem to be a bailout comin' but it ain't for me.

I just hope the ones who do bail out at this stage don't whine too much while the rest us have fun. Kinda brings us down...

Don't let it, though...

Davie from Scotland

At 1/13/2009 08:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's Fuc**in' Great!

At 1/13/2009 11:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, after a night's reflection I'm thinking some comments may have been a little harsh. Apologies to anyone who was offended...but
-no one, not anyone or any ten artists has meant more to me than Neil Young for the last forty years, ever since I bought "Buffalo Springfield" because I was a Stills fan and was pissed that the best songs were all by Neil Young and it went on from there, each album a new world of insight and inspiration. "On the Beach" turning everything upside down, "Will to Love" haunting dreams for months... even the Eighties stuff got played continuously (well maybe not "T-Bone") but still - things like "Depression Blues" off Lucky Thirteen that no one ever talks or writes about was better than any song I heard that year, so...
what I find so disturbing about these attempts to place his recent work on the same level as earlier masterpieces is that I think it devalues the really, truly great stuff. I'm sorry, but people get older and creativity fades. I am fiercely proud of the fact that Neil is raging against the dying of the light. I am completely convinced that he is as invested in his new material as he was in his old. But that doesn't change the fact that it simply isn't very good. And pretending otherwise does not do us, or him, any favors. No, I don't know what the answer is, although previous suggestions of doing a covers album (with real integrity - imagine how that would show up the Rod Stewart songbook of the moment type crap) - like Dylan's acoustic CDs or even Bruce's Pete Seeger CD, might help to juice the flow a bit. I don't want to see Neil turn into a James Taylor Greatest Hits oldies act, but I don't much want to listen to Chrome Dreams or car songs, either.
There's a point where you have to come to terms with your own mortality. Likewise there's a point where you have to come to terms with the mortality of those you love, even if it's just their creative mortality. I can't help but think that it must be terrifying for Neil to look back on his vast catalog of masterpieces and feel like he just can't replicate their passion and artistry. It doesn't matter, Neil. We love you and you have given us more than we could ever have expected or even hoped for.

At 1/13/2009 12:01:00 PM, Blogger doctorklopek said...

I'll take what Neil dishes out, these new songs included.

However, I have to say as a batch the newer songs share a common weakness lyrically. I'm not crazy about another collection of songs being so overly-obvious, current eventish and, unfortunately, preachy. Although I'm not sure why people are reacting so strongly now since much of Neil's music from 2000 to present has the same or similar problems.

That said, when I saw Neil in Chicago this past December, I generally enjoyed hearing the new songs he played. FUEL LINE, which was performed kinda Hawks & Doves side two style, was a lot of fun. I was really digging it, so that gets my vote for favorite new song for now.

I think several of these songs have good qualities and potential -Light A Candle, Fuel Line, Just Singing A Song, etc.- but they really need some work. Neil writes and performs what he wants and that's good. He shouldn't bow or pander to the audience, but the numerous griping fans have a point here that shouldn't be disregard without even a second thought. I hope Neil keeps forging ahead, but rust never sleeps my friends. For him to stay fresh he'll need to keep up the hard work, part of which is being your own critic. If he sat down with these new songs again and re-worked the lyrics they could be drastically improved. -doctorklopek

At 1/13/2009 12:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I for one like Fork In the Road.And the video for it makes me LOVE it.!!Hope the new album is out soon.Hopefully with a DVD of the video's that go along with the songs.Like I said.The vid for Fork is AWESOME.Especially like it when Neil refers to the Apple Ipod as crap.:) Hillarious.I couldn't agree more.Maybe Toast and the Archives will follow.Thanks for reading.

, Mugwump

At 1/13/2009 12:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such clever titles. Never heard such poetic phrases like 'cough up the bucks' or 'fork in the road'.

Shame on him - especially in light of all the singer songwriters deserving a bigger audience (John Gorka, Harry Manx, Gene Clark)while Neil poops on his.

I don;t even wanna hear the Archives now. Maybe this is a fake Neil, left behind as a ruse around the time of "Rust" by incompetent aliens. The real Neil is crusing around in the stars somewhere... wondering if the Springfield is still pissed at him.... and he'll return someday. A younger man, in full control of his creative resources....

At 1/13/2009 12:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil's new 'Fork in the Road' puts all the doubters to shame ... its as relevant as 'Ohio' and I don't say that lightly ... open up and see it for what it is ... 40 years later he's carrying the same torch and since he's doing it alone its more relevant than ever ... I'm sure in 10 years he'll come back around to doing a Harvest III album and it'll appease some of the critics, but 'Fork' is the coolest thing I've seen in a while bar none.

At 1/13/2009 01:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’m a big rock star
My sales have tanked
But I still got you
Download this
Sounds like shit
Keep on bloggin’
Until the power goes out

At 1/13/2009 02:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone read the text on YouTube:

A fresh Neil Young track with a story and a swingin' beat- Fork In The Road...a sneak preview from the forthcoming album.
Visit for the latest info.

Yes! ...a sneak preview from the forthcoming album!


At 1/13/2009 04:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Young Debuts Hilarious Clip for New “Fork in the Road”

The critical passage:

A spokesman for Young confirms the song is the title track to a forthcoming studio album. What does that mean for the perpetually delayed Archives box set that was due out in March, and the Crazy Horse album Toast? “It seem logical in light of the timeliness of the subject matter that it will preempt Archives and Toast for the time being,” the spokesperson says. “But that hasn’t been confirmed yet.”

At 1/14/2009 09:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm inclined to recall the old "Neil Young Officially Washed Up For All Time" reverse chronology that periodically ran on Rust. Can't remember who wrote it.

The following is Neil's history of being officially washed-up for all time. Repeat after me:

November, 2001: Announces upcoming tour with Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

Oct 2001: Puts in distracted performance at Bridge XV because of terrorist attacks. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

1995: The mega-album of the year, MirrorBall, fails to go mega because PJ's name not allowed on CD. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

March 1992: Twenty-year anniversary of his last #1 record. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

1980s: Sued by his own record company. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

1983: People walk out of Shocking Pinks shows in droves. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

1982: Hasn't toured in years because of staying home with handicapped son. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

1980: Critics judge Hawks&Doves to be a weak follow-up to Rust Never Sleeps. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

1975: Reprise releases Tonight's the Night. Sells "only" 500,000 copies. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

1973: Reprise refuses to release Tonight's the Night. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

1972: Puts out Journey Through the Past. Album and film both panned. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

1967: Craps out of Ed Sullivan and Monterey. Has no record contract and no prospects. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

1966: Rick James busted; Mynah Birds manager OD's on their advance; Neil must sell equipment for food. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

1965: Makes Elektra demos. Nobody gives a shit. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

1963: Neighbors call police, complaining of crashing surf music coming from Rassy Young's garage in Winnipeg. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

Thank you,
Bluejay Young

At 1/15/2009 04:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice waste of space Bluejay. Nobody said he was washed up - they said the new songs are crap. They are too, so don't go shooting the messengers...

At 1/15/2009 11:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2009:Chronology of Neil Young officially washed-up for all time posted on Thrashers Wheat website. Neil Young officially washed-up for all time.

At 1/16/2009 06:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be seeing a NY concert in Sydney next week. I was getting worried that I would be watching a fat old guy singing his greatest hits like so many of NY's generation.

Not any more! I'm looking forward to how he is going to put these new songs to us.

At 1/18/2009 12:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fork in the Road it a great tune. In fact it's the first great tune I've heard in a long time. Whoever panned it at the Voice has rocks in their head. there's a baiiiillllout comin' but it's not for you! Go Neil!

At 1/18/2009 04:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goodness folks. If you think that you can write better songs, nobody's stopping you. If you don't want to listen to the new ones, nobody's making you. Lighten up. Mike

At 1/19/2009 01:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I finally put these tracks all together and have been listening to "the new album" in as much as it is the 11 new songs we know of. Some good stuff here, maybe a couple of very good songs. There are a few that I hope he tinkers with in the studio, or discards altogether. For some reason this stuff has me thinking of the LIFE album. Ha Ha, you never know, until it is released, there is a chance the whole thing could get shelved. I personally have found that, since about Prairie Wind, I have to listen many times to these albums before you really can get a good handle on them. Still not a fan of Chrome Dreams II...
Steve in Ottawa

At 1/20/2009 12:42:00 AM, Blogger Gary A. Lucero said...

Like most of the folks here, I have been listening to Neil Young for a LOOONNGG time (since the early 70's to be inexact). I have always unconditionally bought his albums, and he's the only artist I do that for.

I like some other artists (Yes, Pink Floyd, Rush, The Who, Pearl Jam, Damien Rice) but rarely like more than a handful of their albums.

Will I buy The Archives if it ever comes out? I'd buy the CD version. Would I buy Toast? Of course! Would I buy Fork in the Road? Unconditionally.

I would be the last person to tell Neil what to play and what to release, and I think we all do a great disservice to him, and also disrespect him, to ask him to not follow his heart and release whatever the hell he wants to release.

I have always found a gem or 10 on every new album, and I may yearn for another On the Beach, Tonight's the Night, or Zuma, but those are never going to happen again.

Aren't we better off just seeing what he does release?

At 1/20/2009 05:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strange thing happened. (I'm the guy who made the comment about Neils recent output being "low on melody". And I meant it, most of the driving-around-in-my-car songs sounds like two-chord rubbish to me). But suddenly an exception pops up, as always: I think "Fork in the Road" is GREAT. Only thing is, it's not music, it's comedy!
I mean, there's barely a melody AT ALL, juist a groove churning on, dumb lyrics, a lame refrain... So why is it great? Because it's not a song anymore, but a piece of comedy - which means, by the way, that you HAVE to look at the video to appreciate it.
Neil's always had a soft spot for Dumb Songs (Prisoners of Rock n Roll, Dont Spook the Horse, even Homegrown), and for Dumb Videos (Wonderin') but this is the best!

At 1/20/2009 03:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree with anon's post above this about how great Fork In The Road is, and that it is as much comedy as music. Social commentary has many media, and sometimes the message is not best conveyed by the medium the artist is most comfortable using. Neil might find that dead-panning all of the lyrics to all of his new songs might bring them to life in a way that singing them with backup singers didn't quite do.

We shall see...


At 1/21/2009 05:23:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just thought i'd pop in and see what the latest scoop on the archives is and blam! stumbled into some new songs and another neil young music appreciation controversy.

so, i read a few blogs and clicked the fork in the road link to see/hear what all the fuss is about.

i love it! takes me to the same groovy place as with the rough edge (and ben's smooth pedal) of time fades away. brilliant.

i was going to write some pithy comments but i can't be bothered - i'm off to play it again instead.

here's wishing for a harvest moon in australia tonight.

simon from boxmoor

At 1/22/2009 10:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with others that the new songs aren't all that great but maybe Neil with surprise us and include some other numbers he hasn't yet played live. Or better yet, he might include 'Interstate,' which is perhaps the best road-related song of his I've ever heard. It was only released as a b-side, most of his fans have never heard it, so it's a good candidate for inclusion on the new album. Here's hoping..


At 1/22/2009 08:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you naysayers amaze me. the point of being a Neil Young fan is expecting the unexpected. why not some daggy music? purposely bad? he did it before! the whingers need to wake the fuck up. Do you really think Neil doesnt know the reaction his songs will receive>? God it must be frustrating for Neil having arseholes like you syco's with yr hangups. you think you own him just coz u bought a cd or a concert ticket? Neil does what he wants. deal with it.

At 1/22/2009 09:52:00 PM, Blogger Gary A. Lucero said...

Anonymous, I wonder if it's not the total opposite: Maybe Neil just doesn't give a shit. I think he likes his own music and figures, "Hey, I have an album here. Cool!" -- and why not? If I was his age and had his credentials I would do whatever the hell I wanted. And remember a little piece of shit album called Tonight's the Night? The record company wouldn't initially release it, and we haven't see it in its rawest form, but that's definitely one of his very best.

At 1/23/2009 02:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point. Tonight's the Night was taken very seriously here in Holland, as a kind of exercise in nihilistic despair,comparable to Lou Reed's Berlin album. But Neil himself always stressed it had a comical side as well: the bummed out cheap entertainer working the floors in Miami Beach.
Neil Young just may have a weird sense of humour...

At 1/23/2009 04:03:00 PM, Blogger Gary A. Lucero said...

Anonymous, the strange sense of humor aspect is definitely part of it. He talks about music not making a difference anymore and yet he seems to be trying to use it as a way to break through the impenetratble American brain lock.

It seems we Americans can only accept what we are spoon fed by a media run by comglomerates, and I think Neil realizes no one is going to take Linkvolt seriously so he might as well sing about it.

And to think that on Reactor he defended detroit and complained about the Datsuns invaded this country.

Do you think he regrets that? Nah....

At 1/25/2009 07:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've listened several times to the newest batch of songs from the Madison Square Garden shows and I've found them to be the most relevant and refreshing songs I've heard in a long time.

What did everyone do when gas was over $4 a gallon? they stopped driving...Neil has done an excellent job observing America's gluttony with a nostalgic and sentimental eye. Cough up the bucks is brilliant - a parody on Rap and Rock that has flown over many fan's heads - really a shame.

I hope everyone who has trashed Neils new songs are happy because now he's not playing many of them on tour and instead we can listen to the same old stuff over and over again - you suck and your not true fans.

At 1/26/2009 07:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't WAIT to hear the new songs in an album format. I listened to Greendale today twice in a row... it is his best work in my opinion. It is just brilliant. It speaks to the smalltown American family... Just an amazing record. It hits me like a freight train.


At 1/29/2009 01:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read quite a few of the posts, then started seeing repition, so I've jumped to the comment. Bear with me.

I think, from my perspective at least, the new songs just don't grab you in like the deep, introspective lyrics and melodies of songs of old. Neil has changed a lot during his career but that aspect of his songwriting stayed pretty well constant. The new tunes and those from a few but not all, of the albums he has released since, well, the mid-nineties, have been a departure from that. I heard 'Sea-Change' recently and have to say, that was a little hard to listen to. I felt it was so 'commercially-pop' that it became alternative. It felt like Neil had climbed up otta the ditch, crossed the middle of the road and belly-flopped into the mud on the other side of the road, with us all waving to him from the other side.

Neil can do what he wants but I'm happy in the ditch I'm in.

I don't think we'll see Neil produce like he used to. He isn't immortal, he isn't superman and he gets bored and his priorities change like the rest of us.

Good on him for not being pigeon-holed.


At 2/18/2009 02:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to throw in my 2 cents on the "Neil has lost it and where is my nostalgia package" controversy:

Bob Dylan and Neil Young are definitely rolling at a time in life when most of us are slowing, and no one else their age is at that level.

To me Bob and Neil stand alone

One has sheer intellect and poetic ability that towers above all others

The other the biggest heart

Bob makes brain food

Neil makes soul food

Hell, no one of any age in pop/folk/rock music is in their league

Neil and Bob go out on very long limbs -- like Christian conversion or "Trans"

That's part of genius. You have to wander -- follow the muse.

The fan need not like everything an artist does equally, but he is always interested in what the artist is doing and has to say, and a true fan supports the wandering and limb walking

Some people think music is only what is familiar and warm and fuzzy

That's childish and its anti-art

50 years from now, someone will pick up Greendale and say, "Wow, that's amazing."

It's a work of guts and genius

But most people don't see that

The old songs have resonance because of the years and the chance for the songs to develop lives of their own

Consider the cover of It's Only a Dream, from Prairie Wind. I think it is just as good a song as the classic ones, but it is still a baby

This guy is now doing whole suites of songs that hang together -- P. Wind; Greendale, and Living with War -- and the whole thing is the piece. It's all one song.

It's even harder to write a suite than a song

Plus Chrome Dreams has No Hidden Path, Bluebird, and Boxcar -- all A-1 songs. I listen to that album a lot

It's just the opposite of what all you critics say. You just don't get it. The dude is at his peak

--- and, P.S. Fork in the Road is hilarious

Long, long may he run

At 2/18/2009 02:26:00 PM, Blogger Gary A. Lucero said...

Keith Burris, awesome comments. Thanks.

My question is what has happened to the CD release of Fork in the Road? You can buy the single now but there's no mention of a releae date for the entire album.

I sure hope the naysayers haven't caused the album to die. That would be sad and upsetting.

At 2/18/2009 08:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to have a legal copy of "Interstate" rather then listening to it on Youtube ...

At 2/18/2009 08:38:00 PM, Blogger Gary A. Lucero said...

Interstate was a single on the Broken Arrow EP. You might be able to find that around somewhere.

At 2/18/2009 09:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Gary, I'm still looking ...

At 2/23/2009 02:19:00 PM, Blogger stringman said...

I know this is a fan site and all opinions are just that, opinions... well here is one more... Neil Young is an artist that I don't think will ever be washed up. Neil gives when he wants to give and lays low when that is what he wants to do. Though i don't love everything he puts out, in that, you wont find me taking a puff and putting any Neil record on the head phones after a long day. Maybe people need to open their mind a tad as to what they are expecting from every song and record. I see any one song and or record as insignificant to the bigger picture of the mans carreer and dedication to allowing the muse tell him where to go. Do you like every bit of your favorite comedian or every movie that your director puts out? that would be highly unrealistic. In the Shakey book Neil said something to the effect of wanting to put out the "good and the bad" To me, that is a true artist who is laying all on the line..showing the peaks and valleys, and the transitions.
I was at the Worcester show in December when he did 6 new tunes. You will not get yet another rendition of Cortez like the one that night if Neil wasn't feeling inspired..the inspiratin was more likely tapped from his new material then from the love of playing Cortez for the 300 time. i would rather hear an Neil play what he WANTS to play (even if it didn't do it for me) then have him go on autopilot to please the greatest hits fan.i watched many of those "fans"walk out near the end of Greendale and screwed themslves not knowing they were gonna get what they wanted after Neil did what HE wanted. Keep writing "WASHED UP" music Neil..20 more years of anything from Neil is better then no Neil at all.

At 2/26/2009 08:40:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good God--I can't believe all the negativity that's out there! Stupid critics: I'm quite sure that if Jesus came back today, walking across the Hudson into downtown NYC, there'd be some dumb schmuck saying, "Oh look, Jesus can't swim!" He's Neil-Freakin'-Young, man, and he does whatever the f*ck he wants...and if some of his fans are too dense to follow along, then too bad. If you don't like his new songs, then don't bloody go to his shows or buy his next CD. If you want to park your Ford Aerostar in a meadow at dusk, smoke some dope, and listen to 'After the Goldrush' and 'Harvest,' then just shut the f*ck up and do it. As for me, I'm still behind Mr. Young 100% 'Fork in the Road' had its moments, and I really liked 'Sea Change,' 'Fuel Line,' and 'Cough up the Buck$.'

Michael Vee from KC

At 4/22/2009 04:05:00 PM, Anonymous D. I. Kertis said...

Anonymous (1/12/09) said, "... we need to quit pretending the lyrics don't suck."

Feel however you wish to about Neil's recent material, but please don't try to speak for other people, nor to insinuate that those who do not necessarily agree with you are in some sort of denial. That argument isn't going to win many people over. To even consider such an argument, you come across as either very dim (to put it politely) or very arrogant. I suspect the latter.

Or have you forgotten what the word "opinion" means?

At 8/06/2022 09:05:00 PM, Blogger mrtew said...

Reading these comments from 13 years ago are pretty shocking! These people had no idea how much worse it would get! Neil had one more decent album left in him if you put together the good songs from Americana and Psychedelic Pill and then for the last ten years it's been the same lame fork in the road stuff over and over again for ten more years. Thank god the predictions of mining the Archives turning up nothing didn't come true. The old stuff he's been releasing is fantastic even if mostly familiar songs. People are so desperate for decent old stuff that that Toast was hailed as a masterpiece when it's mostly slightly worse versions of songs on the mostly disparaged album Are You Passionate (which I've always loved btw). I feel sorry for him though. It's easy to tell him to write something good but it's obvious that he's trying but the well is dry. Most artists just take 8 years off and wait for the writer's block to unblock, but he keeps trying year after year. And his hearing loss and creaky tuneless voice is not helping either. He used to sound like an angel. I'll always love Neil Young and his classic stuff and 90's and early 2000's stuff more than pretty much anyone, but not much of anything from his last 20 years. And I only got into him 22 years ago!


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