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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Comment of the Moment: Neil Young and Producer Daniel Lanois Interview

The recent CBC Interview with Neil Young and Producer Daniel Lanois provided an insightful look into the making of the album Le Noise.

The Comment of the Moment is from Complete CBC Neil Young and Daniel Lanois Interview by Greg M.:
Lots of interesting things in the interview, but a few things stuck out for me. One was another take on recording live, staying as close to the source and vibe as possible. That it doesn't get better the more you do it, maybe technically, but not the spirit of it. Also, his example of Schubert remembering the music that came to him, and that there is a window of time that has to be respected after the song shows up.

Another thing I found very revealing was that he said Hitchhiker was the only autobiographical song, and at that, at least in part a metaphor for change. The other songs then have to be viewed in the same vein as much of his work- impressionistic, adopted persona's, a survey of the subject matter that stakes out the various aspects of it, rather than a concrete black and white he said, she said approach, and time and space travel. I think this is a distinction that gets lost a lot of times, people being critical of a seeming stance, as opposed to an adopted stance which serves to draw out peoples feelings and opinions. In Peaceful Valley Boulevard, we experience with equal anguish the cry of a white mother, who along with her family is about to perish at the hands of native Americans, as we do the specter of white men encroaching on unspoiled land, shooting buffalo from trains, and everything that implies.

I was also fascinated by his description of the context of war in the songs, that it is war in general that is being discussed. Who knows why and when it all started, it's FUBAR (f'd up beyond all recognition), Hatfield's and McCoy's time- it's just something that people do. Cavemen were fighting cavemen, Indians were fighting Indians, white people were fighting Indians, innocents and scoundrels have been lost on all sides. Many times it just came down to whose side you were on.

I've been reading some great comments about the songs and lyrics maybe being too simple, but also comments about the genius of simplicity. It's an angry world (It's An Angry World)- really how so? Tell me how that might be so, what would lead to that conclusion? An angry fisherman calling attention to the fact that there are a lot of people who have noticed a lot of things, or whatever, fill in the blank. It's a statement, an observation, a wake up call, it's grist for the mill, it's world weary, it's asking the question when will it all end, and who or Who is going to get us out of this mess, it's calling attention to a sign that says 'People can make a difference'- it's, it's... an interesting interview, and another great Neil Young record.

A Friend Of Yours

Thanks Greg!

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At 10/08/2010 04:01:00 AM, Blogger Yonder stands the sinner said...

One of the best analyses i have read for a long time. I'll leave it as simple as that.

At 10/08/2010 06:21:00 PM, Blogger Melanie Young said...

"The genius of simplicity" . . . I totally concur. That sums up my feelings about Le Noise as well. I don't always get the criticism of his lyrics as being too simplistic. My analysis of "Love and War" is already up here, so I won't repeat myself. But there is, IMO, a world of depth and meaning inside and in between the words and juxtaposed images of that song.

I'm struck by the pure, naked need of "Walk With Me," and the plethora of questions that arise again and again on the record. Neil is still searching, still questing, still asking . . . another reason he continues to remain so vital.

Even one of the "lesser" tracks, "Someone's Gonna Rescue You," is coming to mean a great deal to me these days, without getting too personal. Those lyrics are hitting me right where I live in this particular moment of my life. For me, it's his version of Dylan's "Trust Yourself." It's also the B-side of, and answer song to, "Walk With Me" - "I don't want to walk alone"-->"Someone's going to rescue you before you fall."

Too simplistic? Rather "deceptively simplistic," I'd say.

At 10/08/2010 08:50:00 PM, Blogger Sandy Horne said...

Melanie, you express yourself beautifully. People keep saying "simple" but to me it sounds "pure". Stripped down with just the essence. Emmy Lou has done that more and more throughout the years, and the more pure she becomes, the more haunting and beautiful it sounds.

I am not a musician and don't have knowledge of the technical aspects of making music, so my position comes from how the music affects me emotionally. I can only explain it in emotional terms. Neil's voice, for example, I have always described it as "it cries". I don't know how else to put it.

At 10/09/2010 06:14:00 PM, Blogger Melanie Young said...

Thank you, Sandy. I'm in absolute agreement with you. I know Emmylou's fans haven't always liked the artistic choices she's made, but she's another one whose vision I'm always willing to follow. Wrecking Ball upset some folks, but it's my favorite record of hers - and not just because the title song is one of Neil's! ;-)

I think a lot of people just don't like Lanois (the other connection here between Neil and Emmy) and that's fine. I find him fascinating; if I could apprentice under him, I would in a heartbeat. It's hard to explain why I enjoy his production work . . . to me, it sounds like "highway music." It rolls and runs and moves and breathes. He creates a space in between the words and the music, room to dream and imagine, out of time. I would love to learn how he does it.

And if I could ever interview Neil, I would try to get him to talk about his voice and singing; I've not read much where he does. His voice is just as fascinating, if not more so, than his instrumental playing. It definitely does "cry," Sandy - it has a beautiful cry in it. Childlike, tender, full of desire, angry, tortured - and sometimes all in the same song. Unearthly. The embodiment of "high lonesome."

P.S. Love your picture! Taken in front of Neil's bus, I presume? ;-)

At 10/09/2010 06:57:00 PM, Blogger Sandy Horne said...

Yes Melanie. My brother and I saw him at the ryman. Got some good pictures and a couple of autographs even. We hit the jackpot.

I am glad that Neil's music is walking with you at this time in your life.

At 10/12/2010 11:16:00 PM, Blogger Melanie Young said...

So you actually got to meet him? Lucky you! Glad you had such a wonderful time . . . I've never been to the Ryman, but I hope to go one day.

I asked because I also had my picture taken in front of Neil's bus in Mobile - turned out he actually was right on the other side of the glass! ;-)

Thank you for your kind words - my very best to you.


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