The Judgement Not To Pre-Judge "Americana"
The Comment of the Moment is from Friday Afternoon Insanity: Yes, This Is Still A Neil Young Blog and responds to some of the pre-judicial early reviews that have been floated in anticipation of the upcoming album "Americana" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse.
What seems to be most bizarrely troublesome about all the chatter is how much of it is totally baseless since the writers openly admit they haven't heard the songs they're criticizing.
But hey?! It's the Internets. Everyone has an opinion. Including the inestimable D. I. Kertis who said...
It's good to see Neil back with the Horse finally.
I'm not one of those fans who's in love with Crazy Horse to the exclusion of all else, but it's inspiring good vibes nonetheless. I was a bit surprised when I first found Neil's new album was going to be folk/protest songs, and I'm not surprised it's gotten some pre-release flak (haven't most of Neil's albums lately?), but as for me, I'm trying to keep an opened mind to it. A new NY album will certainly be a nice way to begin the summer, and while I never specifically wished for Neil to play "Oh! Susannah" or "Clementine", I'm rather intrigued to hear what the Neil Young/Crazy Horse take on these songs will be. (Remember, Neil's Crazy Horse albums don't always sound just like the Crazy Horse we all know and love--I'm thinking especially of "Sleeps with Angels" here.)
Although it makes me even more curious about this album's "sound", I certainly have no qualms with the children's choir. Indeed I find the concept somewhat endearing.
Chrome Dreams II's "The Way", which featured a kids' choir, keeps coming back to me in a good way (one of my favorite of the relatively recent albums, too), and it's really cool that Neil, as an older rock musician, seems to be interested in reaching out to children. I also look at it, perhaps even more importantly, from the perspective that this is, after all, *folk* music: songs (if you'll pardon the reference) by the people, of the people, for the people.
Most of them are probably in public domain at this stage, many are universally recognized at least within the US, and, being in essence commonly owned, are intended to be singable by anyone anywhere, including children. So perhaps the inclusion of the children's choir on this album serves to highlight the universal nature of the kind of music Neil is essaying here. That's just a thought before actually hearing how 'Americana' plays out, but we shall see what we shall hear in not too long.
What I absolutely do not understand, though, is the talk of imperialism (and even, in one post I saw somewhere, fascism) over the inclusion in the track list of 'God Save the Queen'. I don't want to get too deeply into things here, but suffice to say that, as well know, 'God Save the Queen' is the British national anthem (also the tune for the American patriotic song 'My Country 'Tis of Thee, by the way), and if anyone seriously believes that 21st century England is oppressively imperialistic or "fascist" simply for continuing to have a reigning monarch, that just strikes me as gross ignorance of the world beyond one's own borders.
I'm not saying any country is completely idyllic or perfect; I think England has its issues just like anywhere else. But just because a nation does not have all of its leaders elected like in the US, that doesn't mean the people are being oppressed or that the ideology is necessarily wrongheaded. So I do strongly take exception to remarks of that nature.
Other than that, I'd prefer for the most part to sit back and give 'Americana' a fair chance. There's no use in a knee-jerk reaction, and nothing positive to be gained by rushing to judgement here. I'm sure 'Americana' will be as controversial as anyone Neil Young release, but I think it should at least be allowed a chance to reveal itself before we get too far into the complaints and nitpicking.
P.S. I saw my "comment of the moment" spot; thanks . I probably don't come here that often because writing comments of the moment takes so much time and energy, but it's nice to feel wanted. I'm sure I'll have more to say on 'Americana', the Linc-Volt, and other matters in the coming weeks and months.
Thanks -- as always -- for your time and energy D.I.!!! Your opinions (as well as dissenters) are wanted and welcomed. It's all one comment, afterall.
Set for a June 5th release, you can now pre-Order "Americana" on Amazon.com (Thanks! You'll be helping to support us.)