Comment of the Moment: Le Noise
Photo by Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
Seems to be lots of reaction prior to Neil Young's release of Le Noise tomorrow.
The Neil Young Comment of the Moment is from Le Noise Video "Hitchhiker" by Matt L.
As for Le Noise, I am having a heck of a time with this one. It's so different. The only thing I can compare it to is Trans, in that it's so experimental and weird. At times it sounds like an experiment in literal one-man garage rock played in some kind of echo-chamber. The loops and delays permeate everything, and the songs are just awash in these 'sonics'.
One thing for certain is that the word 'sonics' has become a new favorite of rusties.
I like what Lanois is doing. I don't think it's 'innovative' per se', but it's definitely playful and fun. I feel like the songs are at once held aloft by the 'sonics' and overwhelmed by them. Sometimes I think I'd like to hear them with a band, like, the Horse should play these tunes, they'd really rock them. But at other times I can just let go and get into the vibe of them.
I love Angry World, and I love Love and War. Both beautiful comments on society and the general state of things, and each set to either this fusion of delay-drenched psychedelia and garage-rock (Angry World) or big, open-prairie style acoustic strumming that Lanois just paints the sky with.
Beautiful stuff. Strange electric production that might suffer in the end from a lack of percussion, I think - but who am I to criticize?
Mostly I love Neil's lyrical style of late. You know, the part that everyone keeps complaining about.
Neil has become a master of making complex statements about things using very simple statements.
What fascinates me is that this is the same artist who, 30 years ago, was using complex, psychedelic imagery to describe very simple feelings, and wrapping things in abstractions.
In true Neil Young fashion, he has managed to become the opposite kind of poet than he was originally.
Whereas young Neil can be described with references to poets like T.S. Eliot or John Keats, this more reflective, older Neil more reflects the style of William Carlos Williams, who mastered the art of simplicity with his poems 'The Red Wheelbarrow,' and 'This is Just to Say,' also in his later years.
The Red Wheelbarrow in particular, I think, is a good comparison point when one considers the overt simplicity of a song like Angry World.
It's a small and seemingly inocuous poem, but when you start thinking about what it means, it opens up into a world of complexity.
Simple lines like 'No doubt everything will go as planned,' in this song, are exactly that. A simply worded phrase that one could expound upon at great length - and that is the mark of a great poet.
So when people start getting down on Neil for his delvings into simplicity and apparently direct statements, I think they're generally missing the point of Neil as a poet, and what he's trying to convey in his simplicity. Deep, complicated thoughts about the world. While young Neil would have conveyed simple internal feelings using abstract imagery, also awesomely.
So, this is evolution. And in Neil's ever-entertaining way, it comes with experimentation, inversion and surprise.
I'm lovin' it.
From a comment on NPR Previews Neil Young's Le Noise's "Walk With Me" by ShittyHorse:
Right now I am still feeling the residuals of nerve-endings tingling, shivering-goose-bump hairs on end. Rock n' Roll is alive- still breathing in swirling, grinding, sonic breaths on Le Noise. Neil(with help from Lanois) has somehow taken all his experience, his career and shouted it down the echoing hallway of time, down past fifty-five years worth of rock- in all its splendid and raged glory, mixed that sound with personal sorrow and all the the confusion, anger, and frustration of the evening news then plugged it in and and hit the power button. Le Noise is the chemical reaction caused when genius, anger and electricity are combined and fed through Guitar amps.
All the doubters, the haters can eat their shoe. From what I've heard so far this album is it! Its so different, yet unmistakably Neil. At a time when rock seems to be hobbling along with aging, sorry limp- here comes Neil, on two strong legs, with the juices flowing, head-bobbing, body swaying over his Gretsch. Its not 1969, 1979, or 1989 its 2010 and Neil is releasing what already looks like one his best albums ever.
I absolutely loved it! I love the mix- all the sounds- it’s like waking up in a psychedelic battlefield; without all the death and with good melodies. Everything I've heard so far has completely blown me away. Like Neil Young in Ménage à trois with Sonic Youth and Jimi Hendrix- especially on Walk With Me. As much as I love the electric version of Hitchhiker I feel it was done better acoustic. Something about the solo acoustic renditions in 92' are just so hunting- but hey, it’s just a different version of the same spectacular song- either way I love it. The Hitchhiker is up there with Don’t Be Denied- hell of a song- I think Dylan said The Hitchhiker is as honest of a song as you get? Lanois, I think is a welcome fellow traveler for Neil- both Canadian, both mystical enough, both try to see under the surface and look for the undiscovered.
Rolling Stone says Le Noise is the sound of a man who refuses to give up and that’s pretty apt but for me it’s like Neil is still just starting out- I understand how that sounds but there is something to be said about an artist who refuses to believe he is past his prime, or that he knows all there is to know. Neil as retained an innocence that allows him to see into and navigate though a misty musical labyrinth where others (especially at his age) either won’t enter or just get too confused and turn back to more comfortable and recognizable quarters. Neil is innocent enough and has balls enough to tromp on in without a second guess. The result of which is always brilliant- misunderstood sometimes but this is Neil's art- not our own.
The blatant and the obvious does not always belong in art. Real art makes you FEEL and makes you THINK. Neil Young understands that in his line of work, to think you know everything is a death sentence- he needs to keep an open mind, and believe there is still much to learn and many ways to continue growing as an artist. Once you stop growing you start dying. Like the Young/Briggs credo; “The more you think, the more you stink” don’t let the conscious mind get in the way of the subconscious because that is where the art comes from, where the muse is. That’s why when Neil puts out a new album its exciting as hell- you want to hear (and see) what Neil has been up to. You know it will be different but you know him enough to trust that he’ll “never let you down”; you know it will be great, each in its own way because Neil is great. We know his beliefs and practices and they work, no matter who produces or who he plays with, its Neil’s ballgame- but the music- the muse makes the rules. This is way I say it’s like Neil is just starting out- it will always seem that way if Neil is keeps on his journey and retains his invaluable beliefs on art, music, writing ,life and creation.
Thanks Matt & SH!
More on Neil Young's New Album 'Le Noise'. Also, see:
- Neil Young's Le Noise "Weaving sonic tapestries"
- CBC Interview With Neil Young and Daniel Lanois
- Vinyl Review of Le Noise: TONEAudio MAGAZINE
- NEW LE NOISE VIDEO: Neil Young's "Love And War" on YouTube
-Le Noise: "It's a keeper" Tweets Critic Greg Kot
-Stream Neil Young's Entire Album Le Noise on NPR
-Neil Young and Daniel Lanois click on 'Le Noise' - latimes.com
-NEW LE NOISE VIDEO: "Hitchhiker"
-Comment of the Moment: Le Noise's "Sonics"
-Neil Young Interview on Le Noise: "It sounded like God"
- 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
Also, see all of Neil Young's Solo Electric Concert Tour Dates and Reviews.