Comment of the Moment: Le Noise Video "Hitchhiker"
Photo by Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times
Already much anticipation of Neil Young's new album Le Noise scheduled for release next week.
The release appears to be receiving much praise from just the two pre-release videos "Hitchhiker" and "Angry World". And on the flip side, based on what has been heard thus far, there are some detractors of Producer Daniel Lanois' "sonics". Over on Glorious Noise some rather furious debate on Lanois' production and Young's lyrics. For a moment we thought we had stumbled onto a TW thread...
Which brings us to the Neil Young Comment of the Moment on Le Noise's video "Hitchhiker" by Greg M.:
I haven't heard the album yet, just a few songs that provide an idea about the sound that Lanois brings to the project. I think it's fair to say that the basic concept of feeding the sound through technology that makes it come out the other end with a different sound is not ground breaking- and trust me, I am an ignoramus when it comes to technical studio stuff, and frankly, all I know about Daniel Lanois is what I've read here the last few weeks, and that in general he has a very good reputation as a performer/producer.
But I think this angle misses the point. No one has ever suggested that Neil is particularly ground breaking, in terms of the musical forms he adopts, although just off the top of my head, I do think he has been instrumental in the development of country rock. I mean, I'm sure Neil would be the first to admit that he did not invent the Stax sound, folk, R&B, computer tech, etc., etc. You know? Rather, I think Neil would probably say that at various times he has been overtaken by different musical forms, inspired by them, and prodded on (by muse, or whatever) to express himself a certain way.
I think he would also say that by wearing new hats, and experimenting around with things, he has kept himself renewed, refreshed, and spoiling for what comes next. Can't predict what it will ever be, but like as not it will be compelling, because the fire has been stoked again to the point where something new can come from it. I think he will always return to his base mode- the albums I love that mix in r&b/country rock with acoustic, but I also think that he is at another career crossroads, this one once again dictated by things beyond his control.
One of his main musical foundations, and personal touchstone, Ben Keith, is gone- though unless I am mistaken, I think this project predated Ben's death. I just read a quote where Neil said that about 80% of his onstage song list has just been wiped out. Think about that for a moment. His hand has been forced, and I think this explains a lot about the direction this Lanois project took. Maybe Neil felt like he just didn't have a choice other than to put his songs into someone else's fresh approach. Or maybe this was just an opportune time to take advantage of a long held desire to work with Lanois. Here we are again speculating about why Neil ever does anything. And here I am again saying, I don't know and I don't care.
I think you have it right again ShittyHorse, this is less about sound and musical form, than it is about art, muse, and the youthful innocence to be open to experimentation. In short, it's about Neil being Neil. Can't wait to hear the album as a cohesive piece and vibe, but in the end, Neil being Neil is all I personally care about. That the music is always pleasing to me, as this album promises to be, is just icing on the cake.
A Friend Of Yours,
Thanks Greg, my friend.
More on Neil Young's New Album 'Le Noise'. Also, see:
- Producer Daniel Lanois Discusses Making of "Walk With Me" + UNCUT Review (UPDATED)
- Video of Neil Young's "Angry World" from Le Noise
- Neil Young's Le Noise: "Just a man on a stool"
- "Imagination never sleeps": Neil Young's Le Noise
- NPR Previews Neil Young's Le Noise's "Walk With Me"
- Dead Man Soundtrack: Preview of Le Noise?
- Anticipating Neil Young's album Le Noise