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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Comment of the Moment: Neil Young's Le Noise

An amazing video of Neil Young's Le Noise film at the Nuit Blanche Festival in Toronto, October 6, 2010 projected onto 12 film screens.

Here's the Comment of the Moment on Neil Young's "Le Noise"by D.I. Kertis:
The first time I heard an excerpt of the Walk with Me, I got chills. It sounded like something Neil could have recorded in 1975. I was reminded of Danger Bird. It was that really heavy, really intense rocking sound we haven't had from Neil in a while.

This is an album just exploding with all kinds of passionate feelings. I especially feel ' Rescue You', as Neil tries to see reassurance amid all the crap life can throw at you, : 'No one can do the things you do. Someone can save you... Someone's gonna rescue you, before you fall.'

I really hope Neil's right about that.

Then there's 'Angry World', layered with its Trans-like vocal distortions. There was debate earlier on as to the words were being looped during the opening and closing fades. I get: 'We hate', repeated ad nauseam, overlaid with the occasional plea for 'love, love.' Again, we have great lyrics here. I especially like the reflections on differently philosophies of life--great food for thought. And it really captures the chaotic and anguished state of a world in which everyone is trying to survive, the real tragedy being that their interests clash in spite of their common ultimate goal, as observed with the line 'For the businessman and the fisherman.' The fisherman I posit is meant to represent the world view that focuses on 'hope eternal', since that's pretty what you have to feel with the decidedly in exact science of putting some bait on your line and lowering it out of sight into the water.

‘Peaceful Valley Boulevard' seems almost a like a more focused, coherent 'Last Trip to Tulsa.' It induces a similar dreamlike state and delivers some even more beautiful images. Other than that, I don't want to say too much about it. I think it just has to be heard, and I think it's remarkable how the bleakness of the modern world is balanced with Neil's indomitable hope.

'Love and War', I'm appreciating more and more. Neil has sung about this subject matter before--as is actually kind of the point of the song--but he's never framed it personally before. What starts as an artist's reflection on his pet themes becomes one on his entire career. I especially admire the bold admission by Neil of his lack of firsthand experience with war. That's something he's never really confronted before, and it's been used as ammunition to question his credentials to opine on the subject, but here he acknowledges and even embraces the caveat like the human being he's always been.

Even just trying to sing about love and war, no matter how many bad chords you hit, is a lot more than some people have done. And I positively love Neil's acoustic acoustic playing here--beautiful, sensitive, totally fitting to the aesthetic and subject matter, and absolutely needing to be heard by all fans. 'Love and War' may be the best song on here. It's a brilliant combination of musical craftsmanship and honest self-expression. Isn't that exactly what we love Neil for?

As an aside, this is also Neil's best album cover in a while, with him standing under the arch at Lanois' incredibly cool looking house and the title printed in raised silver lettering--perfect font, too. Then there's the beautiful insert with the lyrics--really love the aesthetic Neil was going for there. I think it's a wonderful piece of art in itself, not to mention convenient if you want to get a look at the words to a song in case you missed something. It's right there, with only a quick unfolding and maybe a moment to turn the page over.

So, yeah, the fact that I'm expounding on the virtues of the lyric insert probably speaks for my enthusiasm about this album for itself. The lyrics, the music, the sound, the visuals used on the cover--all of this transports me to a genuinely otherworldly, yet familiar and comfortable, zone at times.

And no, I don't really care it's only 37 minutes long. I did think at first that eight songs wasn't a whole lot, even if some were seven minutes long, but I think the album definitely work with its current length and structure. Why some people have made such a big deal about the time length, I don't know. After the Goldrush and Harvest were about 35 minutes, too. Are they any the worse for it? Should Neil fill have his next CD with a continuous loop of all the toilets at the ranch flushing in sequence, just so every second of space is used?

... I think I'll stop there before I start ranting. In spite of my curmudgeonliness, this is a pretty great album. If I listen to it for a long, long time, it's a sign of love.


Thanks D.I., as always. great comment.

Neil Young and Producer Daniel Lanois with Le Noise crew

More on Neil Young's New Album 'Le Noise'. Also, see:

- Thrasher's Wheat Meta-Review: Neil Young's "Le Noise"
- Critics Go GaGa Over New Neil Young Album Le Noise
- The Chemistry of Neil Young and Producer Daniel Lanois Interview
- Le Noise Exhibit at Nuit Blanche Festival in Toronto
- Comment of the Moment: Le Noise
- "Walk With Me": New Video by Neil Young
- 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
-Neil Young and Daniel Lanois click on 'Le Noise' -
-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
-Stream Neil Young's Entire Album Le Noise on NPR
- Neil Young News: Track by Track of Le Noise with Producer Daniel Lanois

Also, see all of Neil Young's Solo Electric Concert Tour Dates and Reviews.

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At 11/08/2010 11:33:00 AM, Blogger cees said...

A briljant album Le Noise.It's quite heavy,but deeply felt.It goes to the bones and chills up and down your spine.Something new by Neil,always nice.

At 11/08/2010 03:57:00 PM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

Excellent review! Angry World seems to spark the most longwinded reflections from people.

I, too, marvelled at the insert, and was quite happy with it when I first got the CD. I even loved how it smelled.

Somehow it seems that Peaceful Valley Blvd. tends to get glazed over by people. It's got so much going on, and there's so much to say about it. Eventually I'm going to do a write-up on just that song, how it transitions from state to state, and lyrically reflects its own movements as well as the movements of the world, and can be looked at from so many different angles.

I have to say, though, at the end of the day, I spent more time listening to Fork in the Road... though I appear to be spending more time THINKING about Le Noise.

I've mostly stopped spinning it except for PVB, which has entered the ethereal list of top Neil songs of all time morphing about in my mind.

Which isn't to say that the album is better or worse than FITR, only that it's an interesting phenomenon that I appear to have reduced my listening to a single song, while in comparison I was still rocking out FITR two months after its release.

I must say, I do love the philosophizing that this album brings on.

At 11/08/2010 04:01:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

@Matthew - Thanks for the philosophizing!

Looking fwd to your thoughts on PVB.

At 11/08/2010 05:11:00 PM, Blogger Raincheck said...

There's a lot of great moments on LeNoise. Walk with Me is as good as it gets.

But I have nagging problems with 2 of the key songs. I preferred when Neil sang about love and war to him singing about singing about love and war. It sort feels like a dead end.

And Hitchhiker? Then I smoked pot, then I snorted coke, then I.... Really?

I still love the album, but for me those 2 hold back my enthusiasm.


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