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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

We Went to a Football Game and a Neil Young Debate Broke Out

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We went to a football game and a Neil Young debate broke out.

Well, not exactly.

So one of our sports junkie buddies is over on the "other" NYTimes.com site checking out the latest discussions on game day Sunday.

And -- lo and behold -- a routine discussion on Giants vs Cowboys, etc turns into a free for all about the merits of Neil Young's music with all of the standard stereotypes.

It begins somewhat innocently, with some innocuous banter which then takes a turn when Rich in Atlanta steps up to the plate with some "artsy" Neil rhetoric:
Walt, I actually don’t like Skynyrd that much, I just said I agreed with them on that point. I can tolerate them but I much prefer the Allman Brothers.

When I said I didn’t ‘get it’, I was being flippant.

Because I really think that Young is often just trying to sound meaningful by stringing together a couple of phrases that sound like they really might mean something and happen to rhyme. “I’ve been in my mind. It’s such a fine line.”

No, I don’t get that. Feel free to enlighten me. The problem I have is that there was a lot of crap like that in the 60’s, and when I was really, really stoned it sounded deep, but that turns out not to be a very good perspective from which to judge ‘art.’

Jackson Pollock and Pablo Picasso. I don’t much care for Pollock and I generally like Picasso a lot. I ‘get’ most of Picasso, in the sense that it does something for me, and on those occasions when there is a Picasso that I really don’t get, I’m willing to trust that it’s my perception that’s at fault.

Here’s the thing: Picasso could draw - ‘draw like an angel’, in his own phrase, which was probably somewhat exaggerated, but not by much. Pollock couldn’t draw; he lacked basic visual artistic skills. That doesn’t necessarily mean that ‘Lavender Mist’ might not be one of the great art works of the 20th century, but it really doesn’t do anything for me, and his lack of basic artistic skills makes me suspicious (at best).

Most of Dylan’s songs consist of coherent thoughts about concrete things, which are often suggestive and profound. He is subtle and yet manages to make us sense the powerful human experiences and emotions behind what often appear to be simple stories. That’s a mastery of basic literary skills, which I don’t see in Young.

A large percentage of Young’s lyrics do not consist of coherent thoughts, but rather artsy sounding phrases which may or may not be profound. The problem is, when he DOES form coherent thoughts, they are almost always trite and/or statements of the obvious - e.g. Southern Man or the aforementioned Ohio. All of which makes me suspect that when he’s putting together a couple of otherwise unrelated phrases, he is very likely not being profound, but simply trying to rhyme and sound meaningful at the same time.

In short, Young has never demonstrated an ability to draw.

The lyric I mentioned in my previous post always conjures up for me the image of two stoners watching TV and struggling to grasp the gravity of what they are viewing:

“Like, what if you knew her and actually, like, found her dead on the ground like that?”

“Yeah, man. Bummer.”

“You got anything to eat?”

And that about sums up all the depth I see in Neil Young.
— Rich in Atlanta

Which is followed up by Walt B. who picks up with:
No major pop/rock star that anybody can name, ever took more chances than Neil Young. As a very young man he was already an incredibly fresh and bracing singer/songwriter, and he rightly took his place among giants in the Buffalo Springfield. There he proved that he could rock as hard as anybody. Complaining about the voice of a rock musician is the exact same as admitting that you don’t “get” rock. Rock is about breaking the rules, destroying the standards, daring to be rude, daring to be exactly who you are.

Neil Young is considered the godfather of grunge as much for his stubborn determination to ignore trends and critics, as he is for his unflinching musical style.

Forget about the fact that, fifteen years into his career, he needed three albums for all of his hits. Those who know his body of work are well aware that many brilliant moments are to be found on songs that rarely, if ever received radio airplay.

There are very few artists who are truly worthy of a decades-long career. Barely any of them are American rock artists. On a list that would include names such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, John Mellencamp and perhaps several others, one must obviously include Neil Young, who has never really “led” in the sense that he foresaw new trends, but just as surely never followed anything other than his own interests and his own inner muse.

Perhaps that’s what Rich doesn’t like about Neil Young: he is an artist first, rocker second and pop star fiftieth. He never attempted to appeal to mainstream tastes, and he famously wrote in the liner notes to “Decade” that “Heart Of Gold” placed him in the middle of the road, where he learned that he preferred the ditch.

I think Rich is on safer ground when he admits that he just doesn’t get it.

(By the way, I am a fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd and especially the one album they got to make with Steve Gaines, who Ronnie predicted would one day take over the band. The world will never know what was lost in that crash.)
— Walt Bennett

And on & on until Bob Dylan is dragged in and we all know where that ends up going....

Hey, it's only a sports blog after all. Doesn't mean that much to me to mean that much to you.


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24 Comments:

At 9/22/2009 08:36:00 AM, Anonymous SONY said...

I have resigned myself to knowing that with Neil Young, I don't want to 'get it'. I just wanna keep on searching for it.

Maybe it's like the broken sky, always beautiful, never the same.

 
At 9/22/2009 08:55:00 AM, Anonymous dr dip said...

Look, I know nothin about the game of "Grid iron".. never profess to... but I do know that it seemed very apt in having a discussion about the merits or critical analysis of Neil's music versus Lynard Skynard or whoever at a "Giants vs Cowboys" game.
That about sums it up with the analogy don't you think, when it comes to Neil...."Giant versus Cowboys" he he..innaresting!!

 
At 9/22/2009 09:25:00 AM, Blogger Pinto (or Flounder) said...

The first comment was beautifully written and cogently argued. The Picasso vs. Pollock example was used to draw a comparison between Bob Dylan and Neil that was clearly unfavorable to Neil. The second comment did nothing to address the arguments in the first, falling back on the "Aw,man... you just don't get it" responses that we see too often in discussions around here.

But the first guy has a point and I'm pretty sure Neil would laugh and agree... to some extent. Neil is the one artist who's honest enough to admit that he stopped performing one of his more popular songs (Tell Me Why)when he realized that the chorus doesn't make any sense.

HOWEVER... and it's a great big HOWEVER... the first guy's argument depends completely on the belief that Neil CAN'T compose more formally, in poetic, artistic verse that has a clearly thought out underlying meaning. And, with an artist like Neil, who has said repeatedly that he never edits himself, it is easy to pull out selected lines and hold them up to the light and claim that they don't make literal or poetic sense.

But as the first guy admits, he doesn't always "get" Picasso but he's willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because he knows that he's a technically proficient artist. So, in regard to Neil, if there is evidence of "technical proficiency" in his lyrics, the guy's whole argument fizzles out.

Example one is "Thrasher."

Has there ever been a deeper song that was more carefully written, in intentionally poetic language, to sum up the story of an entire generation? The lines "when the aimless blade of science slashed the Pearly Gates" and "they had the best selection; they were poisoned with protection." are each capable of supporting volumes of analysis.

There are literally hundreds of similar examples, Mr. Easy Argument First Guy, from "they massacred the buffalo, kitty-corner from the bank" to

"I see a woman in the night
With a baby in her hand
Under an old street light
Near a garbage can
Now she puts the kid away,
and she's gone to get a hit
She hates her life,
and what she's done to it
There's one more kid
that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love,
never get to be cool."

I could go on all night. Go back to watching football, dude. (and maybe you ought to take a second look at Jackson Pollock, too.)

 
At 9/22/2009 10:00:00 AM, Anonymous SONY said...

Doc -
Neil = the Giant Cowboy.

See, you do 'get it'.

 
At 9/22/2009 10:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

errrgh.. too much talk of neil.. kinda get's to me some times especially when critical..

I'm in to Neil just like the rest of you.. but I can never find it in myself to criticize Neil's work no matter what due to the fact he's quite honest about it all..

the depth of his music is all over the place which we all know thats what we love about Neil.. wheather it's will to love or prisoners of rock n roll.. we can take whatever out of that and neither has hierarchy over each other..
you cant walk this earth talking to everybody in depth.. you'll drive yourself mad and everyone around you.. so thats why we get to just spit out and say what evers on our mind from time to time even if its right, wrong or meaningful enough.. that's a good release.

Personally he hit's every emotion.. which keeps my feet on the ground and not floating away with the fairies.

x the sultan x

 
At 9/22/2009 10:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pinto, great post. I had some of the same thoughts including the fact that the response to the first comment didn't address the criticisms (although I aappreciated the response) ... with respect to the Dylan comparison it seems to me that Dylan is the head and Neil is the heart ... lyrically its hard to compare to Dylan he's probably the master and Neil is likely to agree to that ... but the first commentor's premise is that the essence of a good song (and good songwriter) is based on how it stacks up to literary criticism and I'd argue that's a one dimensional analysis, but there are many others to consider ... one of the things that sets Neil apart is the feelings that Neil's songs evokes in the listener and that diverse people can relate to and are moved by the songs in a deep way ... how many people feel like On the Beach or TTN or pick the album is the soundtrack to their life? There's a greatness to the songs and the songwriting which enables so many people to connect deeply to them ... and in my view Neil accomplishes that partially by the ambiguity of the lyrics which allow for the song to mean different things to different people ... its this aspect that I think allows Neil's songs to feel timeless and to never grow stale .. I can listen to 'Don't Be Denied' 1000 times and I love it more each time ... same goes for everything from Sugar Mountain to 'Spirit Road' ... so.. I think if you want to harp on that one aspect - literary perfection - and compare him to Dylan - sure he'll fall short, but that same literary style allow for his songs to be timeless emotional masterpieces, at least as far as rock/pop music (with all its limitations) is concerned.

And I agree with Pinto that some of Neil's songs are really well written as measured by a stricter literary standard -- those songs I tend to love less than the more 'open' ones that evoke a feeling ...

In terms of the art analogy, I personally don't like Picasso and am not willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because the 'art experts' that established him as a master are some combination of self appointed experts whom the rest of society have decided to follow their subjective standards for what is good art ... I love Monet and Van Gogh because their art make me feel good ... Picasso's makes me feel disjointed and off balance ... but perhaps -
There's more to the picture than meets the eye

Dan

 
At 9/22/2009 10:32:00 AM, Anonymous Kathleen said...

I don't know about everyone else, but I think Rich in Atlanta sounds like a pompous ass and Walt B sounds like a groupie. I don't really like Rich's opinion of art. To me art is a process. The end product is "art" to some while the process it iself is "art" to others. For example, Take a song like "Out on the Weekend" by Neil Young ( I happen to be listening to that now) listening to that song you might say 'WOW, I know how that feels, Neil Young is a true artist, he painted such a picture in my mind" or you might say, WOW, Neil Young touches my heart like no one else with his unique voice" or the arrangement of the song, or harmonica etc.. The end product. Or it could be watching him perform. His stage presence, sitting on a stool, the color of his clothes, contrasts of the aged guitar against a vibrant man with all the character of the song in his face. The process. It's what affects you. You cannot possibly persuade a person to value or devalue what you percieve as art.

 
At 9/22/2009 01:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathleen, well said!
Just to add to what I said above, in re-reading the post from Rich in Atlanta I had a couple more thoughts. First, if this site was only a Neil lovefest then Rich's post would not have been highlighted much less allowed on the site -- Kudos for Thrasher for letting critics post their views when there is some thought behind them. Second, Rich's post bothered me because another premise he holds is that that Neil's songs are written with some kind of alterior motive as if he's trying to write to be lyrically rich ... from everything I've read and seen about Neil it seems like his writing is much more natural, completely uncontrived ... he's not trying at all in a sense, more like he's channeling something ... which explains why he's so much more prolific than so many of his peers ... I've seen Crosby interviews where he says for the rest of them writing was like pulling teeth out and then Neil would sit down and write an album in a day or a Cowgirl in an hour ... somwhow the imagine on Neil "trying to make things ryme" and "sound poetic" doesn't foot with the image of Neil writing 'Mr. Soul' on a napkin verbatim in less than 5 minutes ... therefore, the whole premise that Neil's writing is contrived, like he's trying hard to be something, seems out of touch with reality ... I'll be the first say I don't love every Neil song (although there are few, if any, I absolutley don't like) so I'm not trying to defend him mindlessly ... its just hard to stand by when people assume Neil is like a run on the mill pop writer trying his hardest to manufacture a "catchy" song at all costs.

Dan

 
At 9/22/2009 01:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've made a living as a writer for almost twenty years in a wide variety of genres and have published widely - essays, non-fiction, columns, magazine features, history, poetry, etc. I listen to Neil almost every day. And as a WRITER, a user of words, I have to say that he has been as influential to my career as any other writer. He listens extraordinarily well, and marries sound and meaning in a very unique way, to the point that he is not always trying to be a dictator of meaning, but lets it go to find meaning itself. In one stays mindful the sound of words can lead the meaning astray from where the writer thinks it is going beforehand - I think Neil is confident and experienced enough that he sometimes allows the sounds of words that power, to determine meaning, and that intended meaning does not always determine the words. Some of my own most successful work, both in an aesthetic sense and commercially, is when I've been listening closely enough to let go in this way and let the words themselves determine meaning - not me - to discover what I really meant all along. As the poet Jack Spicer once wrote, a poem has "an infinitely small vocabulary." There is only one word that can fit at each place, and Neil is sometimes as good as it gets at finding the one word, or rather, allowing the word to find him.

 
At 9/22/2009 01:15:00 PM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

Thank God for Walt. I won't add any philosophizing about Mr. Young, but ah.... Rich has absolutely no clue what he's talking about. Perhaps he thinks Neil's lyrics make no sense because he is incapable of applying creative thought to deciphering the meaning in things.

Too bad for Rich. I suppose he doesn't get poetry either, or anything ethereal and interpretable in nature.

I'm sure he thinks the lyrics to Thrasher are "meaningless nonsense."

Chances are, he hasn't even heard much Neil Young and is just pontificating arrogantly to make himself seem smart.

 
At 9/22/2009 02:43:00 PM, Anonymous Rick A, NSB, FL said...

Oh, jeez. I like to listen to his music. The rest of the world can debate it and him until they turn blue. I'm just going to keep listening because I enjoy it. If you want me to defend it/him, I don't feel the need.

 
At 9/22/2009 02:54:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Rick,

Thanks for stopping by.

You're a very good sport about all of this.

Just having a little fun here.

Enjoy the game!

 
At 9/22/2009 04:13:00 PM, Anonymous dr dip said...

I've really enjoyed reading these posts that this topic has created.

The "wheat" have so much depth and diversity in their interpretation, analogies and analysis of Neil's songs and the personal emotions and feelings that they conjure.

Pinto, Dan, Kathleen, Matthew, ...Your collective feelings are my feelings...Neil is like one big smorgosboard of music and style..put on your plate what you like..everyone has different tastes..some like the cavier,some like the brussel sprouts!..am I getting too deep?
You can dissect, physcho analyse, criticise Neil's music all day, but at the end of it, sit back and saviour the dessert that is Neil..everyone likes dessert!!

P.S. Thrash, thanks for letting me participate today,I really appreciate it.

luv dip

 
At 9/22/2009 04:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's ok to like Neil...it's OK to not like Neil...there are only TWO kinds of Music...Music you like, and 2) Music you don't...

 
At 9/22/2009 05:15:00 PM, Anonymous J Neo Marvin said...

I think Neil Young's whole approach to lyrics is somewhat like automatic writing. The words are like first drafts, blurted out before the internal editor gets a chance in order to capture an elusive image, feeling or thought that can't be nailed in orderly, precise language. I don't think Neil himself always understands what he's saying in some of the words he writes. It's a voice that's searching, not knowing what it's about to say, but following a subconscious thread wherever it may lead. The as-yet-unknown kernel of truth in a particular moment.

If you don't think a song makes any linear sense, well, that's not really the point anyway. It's up to us to decide whether that approach is a weakness or a strength. But it doesn't matter. If you want to hear Neil Young, this is what you get. He's an artist on a lifetime quest, and is generous enough to share what he finds every so often. That's enough to keep me curious.

 
At 9/22/2009 06:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting that any time Neil's songwriting & lyrical skills are defended, it's a song from the '70's or eons ago that's used as evidence. Where are the masterpieces from the last decade or so? Why no critiquing the lyrical juggernaut that is Fork In The Road? Lol! :-)

 
At 9/22/2009 09:54:00 PM, Blogger D.I. Kertis said...

One reason older songs are often used in debating Neil's lyrical prowess is that these are the ones everyone is familiar with. Just because we on Thrasher's Wheat does not mean, unfortunately, that some guy on a football forum has. That being said, I don't hold Neil's lyrics to the same conventions as storytelling--a clear narrative and coherent story--because most of his songs don't tell stories. Neil Young is first and foremost, in my mind, a rock 'n' roll poet. That's what he writes-- poetry set to music. That's pretty much what lyrics are, right? Like poetry, Neil's songs, more often than not, are about evoking a feeling that the listener can hopefully relate to, rather than telling a story. Neil himself has said this, in Shakey as I remember: "It gives a feeling", or some such thing. And if something someone writes or says makes you feel a certain way, that to me is one of the chief indicators of art. And that is what poetry is all about-- feelings: expressing them; evoking them. That is what Neil has always been able to do best in my mind (well, that and getting darnedest noises out of an electric guitar but that's a separate thing.) Now if, say, Rich from Atlanta, doesn't "feel" it the same why I, or another longtime fan, does, that's fine. It's perfectly natural: different people think and feel differently and art effects people (or doesn't effect them as the case may be) individually. I think Neil would be pleased that not everyone shares the same reaction to his work, and that there are both praising and critical responses. He's all about free thinking after all. I imagine the last last thing he'd want is for people to act like a flock of sheep and say he's great rather than thinking it through for themselves.

Even then, there have been times when Neil's songs have told coherent stories. There is one particularly great example of this as a matter of fact and it's from the last few years to boot: Greendale. If you listen to the lyrics, you can pretty much follow the story, right? It's not Shakespeare but it's coherent. Neil CAN write like that when he wants to. However, I think it's clear he doesn't especially want to and doesn't think he's that great at it, or we'd have more albums like Greendale. But he doesn't and, frankly, I agree: while I enjoy Greendale and find the story inspiring and the music exhilarating, the poetic side of Neil's writing was compromised throughout that album in an effort to tell the story in a straightforward manner. The intent of Greendale wasn't to be poetic, but nonetheless, I found myself missing that element of Neil's writing from time to time with that album as there were occasional instances of awkward phrasing ([Jed shot Carmichael] in a split-second tragic blunder.")

In short, Neil's songs don't need to convey a coherent narrative. In fact, they are usually at their best when they don't. For example: Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing. This is a song that has grown on me since recordings of Neil himself singing it have been made available. It doesn't tell any kind of story the listener can follow but it clearly expresses anger, frustration, paranoia, loneliness, and despair. Communicating a feeling is the essence of poetry and Clancy is Neil at his finest.

D. I.

 
At 9/22/2009 10:21:00 PM, Anonymous punkdavid said...

All opinions and musical tastes aside, the guy criticizing Neil's writing made a better argument.

The thing I think he doesn't "get", however, is that those unrelated phrases that Neil strings together can be more emotionally evocative than any coherent ideas that Dylan or any other songwriter might craft, and Neil's songs will have a dozen such phrases in each.

BTW, I think Dylan is a lousy example, as I consider him to be the master of stringing meaningless, but emotionally evocative, phrases together just to make them sound good. Dylan has always liked to "play" with words in a way that I don't think Neil really does. Not that Neil is more "serious", he's just not the "jester" fucking with his audience that Dylan has admitted himself to being.

 
At 9/23/2009 08:14:00 AM, Blogger j.s.c. said...

To say that one appreciates the art because they know the artist can draw is nearly the height of ignorance.
Stick to sports.

 
At 9/23/2009 08:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, Pollock could "draw", as did all the abstract expressionists. Just check out his early works and get informed!

 
At 9/24/2009 09:02:00 AM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

I think I was a little overly harsh on Rich. Sorry, Rich. You have a right to your opinion, I simply disagree with it.

That said, in answer to anon's suggestion that Neil hasn't written anything composed and poetic over the past 10 years... admittedly he hasn't really focused as much on poetically smoothed-over lyrics as much as a sort of abrupt humanism... but they are there - here's a list of songs you should check out:

Light a Candle (arguable has some very nicely composed poetry in it)

Distant Camera - I've always thought this one had some really nicely composed lyrics.

"You and I, we got caught down there
In the twisted canyons of the great divide
We walked the floor
Now we don't go there anymore"

-The Great Divide

But even outside of a strict search for beautiful poetic abstraction, which he hasn't been aiming for in general lately, we find a lot of deep meaning in Neil's dashed off lyrics from this period.

And some things are necessarily blunt, and there's purpose behind that that shouldn't be overlooked.

Of course, I also failed to mention the wonderful poetic metaphors in Greendale, y'know "Sun Green" and "Earth Brown" as sort of anthropomorphic references to the sun and the earth in an environmental theme:

Next mornin' Sun was up at dawn
she looked around and Earth was gone; dark visions he had last night; he needed peace, he needed light.

He heard the rumble and
he saw the big machines,
the green army rose
it was a bad dream.

A lot of this is arguable in a strict academic sense.

You might say, "Well those lyrics are more obvious and clunky than, say, Thrasher or Pocahontas."

I'd agree, but only recognizing this is no way to judge poetry.

Is Neil a very strict academic in his application of words to music? Does he do his best to make sure words don't clunk around and make a lot of wacky, unpolished racket?

No, but that doesn't make it any less poetic or valid in an intellectual or emotional sense.

I should add: "To me."

This obviously doesn't apply to everyone, nor should it. But discounting the past 10 years entirely as being lyrically devoid, to me displays a narrow view of what constitutes good lyrics.

 
At 9/24/2009 09:05:00 AM, Anonymous dr dip said...

"Thrash,

Thanks for stopping by.

Your a very good sport about all of this.

Just having a little fun here.

Enjoy the game!"

Hmmm, innaresting comment Thrash.

Tell me why you deleted my last comment Thrash, please..I'm perplexed.
It's there... than its gone..huh

 
At 10/16/2009 10:19:00 PM, Anonymous pieceofcrap said...

Randy Newman (a great song writer in his own right) has some witty and insightful remarks on Neil's writing skills in Jimmy McDonoughs bio "Shakey". Quote (on "After the Goldrush"):
"I can't believe I liked 'After the Goldrush', because it doesn't hold up to analysis. I can't stand that sort of 'meadow rock' thing [?? [probably meant mellow rock thing...] - Neil's doing it, and writing about a big issue in a simplistic way, but I still like it. I love it. It just sounds good. There's a kind of alchemy going on. It's an artless type of thing - not to imply that Neil's some kind of idiot savant, he's certainly shrewder than that - but you have to listen to the records to realize how really great he is. You can't put those lyrics down on the page and say 'look! this guy's great!'They lay there like a turd. Ik you look at it close, his song writing seems so artless. It's very simple - 'bad' rhymes with 'sad', 'mad', and 'glad', and he'll do it again in the third verse - it's like a child grabbing around and picking the first things he finds. But between those grabs there's a high IQ at work, making it all turn out. 'After the Goldrush' is very evocative - 'thinking about what a friend had said, I was hoping it was a lie'. That's great - Neil doesn't tell you what the friend said, you don't know what it is, you never know what it is - it has nothing to do with anything, but I like it."(McDonough, p 340).
I think Randy is on to something here, don't you?
Neil's writing has always been very strong on suggestive imagery, I also think he writes more like a newspaper reporter of a moviemaker than a poet (e.g. "Powderfinger", or "Pocahontas"...
As for the turds, well, hmmm..

 
At 10/23/2009 07:34:00 PM, Blogger Walt Bennett said...

Look at what I stumbled upon. First I'd like to thank you for quoting me so generously. I write this well on a regular basis at http://blog.waltbennett.com if you'd like to visit.

Second, I'm sad to note that not a single commenter got my point. My point was that Rich was trying to be rational about the irrational. Somebody called his attitude "pompous" and I understand that reaction, but to me it's more a matter of a crazy belief that this society encourages, that we can actually know somebody so well that we can speak with authority about them. Comparing Neil Young to Bob Dylan is roughly comparable to comparing Frank Lloyd Wright to Yves St. Laurent - after all, they both design things, don't they?

My point that seems to have gone completely unobserved is that Neil Young can only be "judged" by the response he elicits from others. Rich attempted to compare one aspect of Young's art with that same aspect of the greatest giant of the second half of the century in that regard, the man who took over from Frost and added a little guitar. Or took over from Guthrie, if you prefer.

Neil Young, who came along at roughly the same time, a bit later, never attempted to be Dylan. He was very rarely overtly political, much more often romantic or hell-bent. He came to make you rock, literally. He was appealing to your body, to your emotions.

I saw a comment about feeling Young in one's own way, and I concur. I remember my first listens to each of his records. They were always revelatory experiences. They always transported me. And the real beauty of those experiences is that they were possible only because Young was willing to go to new places, and in so doing he was able to take me and presumably many of you to new places.

Dylan did that too, but I think even Rich would agree that after 1970 it was much more hit-or-miss.

And certainly Young has had his share of clunkers, and of course the reason is that he was taking chances.

And to this day Young still makes interesting, daring, occasionally brilliant music.

My point, in the end, was: What else does a poor boy need?

 

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Neil Young Songbook Project

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Alchemy Concert Tour Reviews

Fall 2012 N. America Tour
Spring 2013 Australia/New Zealand Tour
Summer 2013 Europe Tour

Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Thrasher's Wheat Radio Supporters Go To Europe

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Neil Young Films

2010 MusiCares Honors Neil Young

Proceeds from sales go to MusiCares,
which helps musicians in need of
financial and medical assistance.

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Neil Young FAQ:
Everything Left to Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker
"an indispensable reference"

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Paul McCartney and Neil Young

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"You can make a difference
If you really a try"

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John Lennon and Neil Young


"hailed by fans as a wonderful read"

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
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The Supergroup of the 20th Century



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Eddie Vedder and Neil Young

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Revisiting The Significance of
The Buffalo Springfield


"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
tweeted, shared and liked

Turn Off Your TV

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain and Neil Young

Neil Young's Feedback:
An Acquired Taste?


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Joni Mitchell & Neil Young

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Bob and Neil

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So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?


Four Dead in Ohio
kent state
So What Really Happened at Kent State?

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dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

Rockin' In The Free World

speak truth to power

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Emmylou Harris and Neil Young

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Wilco and Neil Young

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Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young

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Elton John and Neil Young

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2010: Neil Young Year in Review -
A Tale of 2 Neils

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Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young


Neil Young Nation -
"The definitive Neil Young fan book"

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"Powderfinger"
What does the song mean?

Random Neil Young Link of the Moment
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I'm Proud to Be A Union Man

UNITED WE STAND/DIVIDED WE FALL


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up


Class War:
They Started It and We'll Finish It...
peacefully

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize



John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel

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Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what friend had said
I was hoping it was a lie"


We're All On
A Journey Through the Past


Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH

Freedom:
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Does Anything Else Really Matter?

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

Here Comes "The Big Shift"

Maybe everything you think you know is wrong?
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

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the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists


war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

"greed is NOT good"
Occupy the Music

Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
#NullifyNSA
Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right


Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?

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