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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Thanks To Neil Young For Still Being Gloriously Weird

Neil Young
Chrome Dreams II Tour - 2007
(Click photo to enlarge)

Generally blogging, we tend to disagree with the many "labels" applied to Neil Young and his music.

For example, labels like "crazy", "weird", and "inexplicable" -- to randomly pick a handful -- tend to be shorthand brushoffs by some bloggers who fail to penetrate the complex simplicity of the man we call Neil. We actually prefer to use phrases like "artist", "passionate", "dreamer", "conscious", or "individualistic truth teller".

Or, as we sometimes blog, there are two types of people in the world: those who "get" Neil and those that don't.

From buffaBLOG - The Buffalo music blog "Thanks To Neil Young For Still Being Gloriously Weird" by John Hugar in a review of Psychedelic Pill:
There are plenty of musicians who make great albums well into their 60s, but how many make stuff as groundbreaking as this?

I loved Springsteen's Wrecking Ball, and if we're going purely on enjoy-ability it might even be a stronger record than Young's Psychedelic Pill, but at heart, it's a Bruce Springsteen album. It features the same music styles, and lyrical tendencies that have been featured in Springsteen's work for years. While I applaud Springsteen for still making entertaining relevant work, the album is completely in his wheelhouse, and doesn't really break any new ground.

Young should be applauded for taking his music to new places when he doesn't really have to anymore. Most of his fans would be happy with a clone of Harvest every few years, but he wants to do more than that. Indeed, he might be the most ambitious person in music today, with the possible exception of Kanye West.
Well, we're not too sure about the Kanye West comparison? And we definitely disagree about needing a "clone of Harvest every few years". But we'll agree on the "most ambitious person in music today" part.

And here's just one more way to view the world...

(Note the volume of re-tweets. This is not a fringe opinion of the "Gloriously Weird".)



At 1/27/2013 10:58:00 AM, Blogger peter d. said...

Neil's not ambitious at all imho. Certainly not in the way most people use that word. He just doesn't care what other people think of him or what they expect him to do.
He follows were the muse leads him. That sets him and his body of work apart from all others.

At 1/27/2013 11:40:00 AM, Blogger mark said...

>> Or, as we sometimes blog, there are two types of people in the world: those who "get" Neil and those that don't.

...... you're either on the bus, or off the bus.

At 1/27/2013 02:00:00 PM, Blogger La Johnson said...

Neil makes music for himself and we like then that's fine but not essential - BUT please don't tell me The Pill takes Neil's music to new places! The Pill is a retread of some Neil's Horse records witout someone at the helm to control it.

At 1/27/2013 02:27:00 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Was this a Boss article or one about Neil. How bout you write that The Boss sounds a lot like Neil not the other way around.

At 1/27/2013 04:25:00 PM, Blogger FEF said...

Le Noise was a more innovative record than Pill I think. Neil is a mainstream artist who doesn't act like one - unlike most artists with a big audience, he does what he wants rather than sticking to a formula, worrying whether people will get it, or listening to accountants. Sometimes that means Harvest Moon, sometimes Arc, whatever. But being 'ambitious' and 'innovative' is not his intention. And anyone who'd cite Neil and Kanye as the most innovative musicians today just isn't listening to much music beyond the top 40 - and I say this as a massive Neil fan. It's not his job or the point of his music.

At 1/28/2013 07:18:00 AM, Anonymous Darth Malt said...

On the contrary I find Neil to have had a high degree of ambition throughout his career - but I don't think he measures his success in matching that ambition in record sales, fan popularity or applauds by critics - but in terms of channeling whatever is currently driving him, into his music. Most people just tend to call it 'artistic integrity', but how much more ambitious can an artist truly be? Also, many of the steps Neil has taken during his early career display a degree of perseverance that can only be described as a burning ambition. I just find the notion that ambition equals only reaching for dollars or chart placement misconceived.

Off topic, does the placement of the giant Rust amps in the R&D Hall of Fame mean that we won't be seeing them on the European tour? Oh well, if Neil drags his old Magnatone and Ralph hangs a pirate flag off his kit, I'll can't be disappointed.

At 1/28/2013 09:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Darth Malt - whoa! Slow down please! Where did you read that the giant amps are being placed in a "R&D Hall of Fame"?

What the hell is the R&D Hall of Fame?

Do you mean the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

At 1/28/2013 10:16:00 AM, Anonymous Darth Malt said...

Oh crap,
yeah I do need to slow down. I did mean the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame of Course:

Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2013 14:45:24 -0800 (PST)
From: bh
Subject: [BNB] RnR HoF adds Neil items
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

In Ohio, updated Simon, Springsteen rock exhibits
Posted: Jan 26, 2013 8:50 AM CSTUpdated: Jan 26, 2013 8:50 AM CST
CLEVELAND (AP) - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland has added some rock star items to its exhibits.
The rock hall says it has put on display in recent weeks pieces from the collections of Paul Simon, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.
Simon's 1967 acoustic guitar was used onstage during a Simon and Garfunkel appearance at Monterey Pop. He used the guitar throughout the 1960's.
Springsteen's Gibson acoustic guitar also has made it into the rock hall. It was given to him as a Christmas present in 1988 by a record engineer who bought it in a pawn shop in 1972.
Huge amplifier stage props conceived by Young for his 1978 Rust Never Sleeps tour have been added to the main exhibit hall.

At 1/28/2013 01:20:00 PM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

I've always thought of the word "weird" as more complimentary than anything. People call me weird and I thank them.

It's not like he's weird for weird's sake - he's an artist for art's sake, which I suppose is unfortunately considered "weird" in today's everyone-for-sale capitalist paradigm.

I don't think that Psychedelic Pill is weird, though. Not like Trans or Le Noise, which are very odd excursions even for someone as unpredictable as Neil (and which is one of the reasons I love those albums (outside of the fact that I find them to be pleasing, emotive sonic experiences)).

Psychedelic Pill, to me, sounds like merely the next natural step for Crazy Horse. If you listen to all their albums in order, you can hear this evolution taking shape.

So weird is definitely a wrong descriptor for this one, IMO, but I don't mind it's use, as it signifies that he's up to something that I most definitely appreciate.

At 1/28/2013 02:00:00 PM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

Also, us weirdos need to reclaim the word "weird" as our own, and wear it as a badge of honor.

Much how nerds have done, turning the word "nerd" into a positive reference.


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