Comment of the Moment: "Young's willingness to go to new places"
Back in September, we came across a heated debate on a New York Times football discussion board involving the merits of Neil Young's music. Upon which a whole another debate here naturally ensued. Imagine that?!
Well, wouldn't you know it, but one of the participants stumbled back over here to Thrasher's Wheat to try and clarify the whole debate. So here's Walt Bennett on what we're certain will be the final word on Neil Young's musical influence:
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?
More on We Went to a Football Game and a Neil Young Debate Broke Out.