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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Comment of the Moment: NEW VIDEO: 'Wolf Moon" - Neil Young and Promise of the REAL + TONIGHT: Thrasher's Wheat Radio

The Comment of the Moment is from the post NEW VIDEO: 'Wolf Moon" - Neil Young and Promise of the REAL by Alan:
This is a deep and beautiful love song to Mother Earth, a statement of gratitude from one earnest, daring Artist.

Neil Young, with the great talents of Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real backing him on this gorgeous track. You hafta be pretty jaded to not see the talent of Neil Young here. Yes, his voice is aging a bit. But Gracefully so. How many times have we heard a "mediocre" album and only later realized it was a true classic? This is one of those moments. 2 of Willie's boys show up in the band and help Neil tell the truth from his heart about the state of the Earth. Do you think it is insignificant and unimpressive? What he does here so impressively is to sing a beautiful song about the Earth amidst this environmental crisis.

This stuff actually MATTERS. This is the biggest threat since the Cuban Missle Crisis. The US Military readily explains that it is a national security threat. And yet these Republicans on the payroll of the Koch Brothers spout the party BS line about science being unsure. This is such a joke! These Clowns are merely Puppets of the 1%. This is the constant blundering he mentions in the song. That and the Gulf Oil Spill. And the FDA being made up of Monsanto shills. Neil cares about the planet, the poison being sprayed on our food supply, the people effected (see rising Autism rates link to pesticides and herbicides), and he sees the constant blundering of Industrial Society as humans gather at another World Summit on Climate Change and cannot walk away with any commitments or agreements. In spite of the scientific reality of Global Warming, America remains in denial about this grave threat to life here on Earth. People are so unbelievably selfish that they continue to pretend that there may not be a scientific consensus on the matter.

The People will lead on this cause. Leaving it for the next generation to deal with makes us complicit in its destruction. Meanwhile the Koch Brothers buy up newspapers so they can do like Fox News does and feed propaganda for the 1% 24/7. The ultra rich would prefer to keep white american ignorant and fed a steady diet of hateful lies about minorities, poor people, etc. . The real welfare recipients are the Corporations, most of which pay no real taxes. The middle class foots the bill to subsidize american corporations and pay more than their share of the taxes. And the Oil Company Party GOP strongly oppose clean energy like Solar. Their power has Republicans writing bills against solar or charging people money to live off the grid. Neil's album is also about how the Modern US has gone off the deep end with Citizens United, etc. This is gonna be a great album. I have heard the stuff live and it will tickle your funny bone. There is also some great music in there. Give him a chance. He usually comes through. Or should he record Harvest again. This guy has been doing Farm Aid forever.

He feels strongly and it comes through in this crucial song.

Alan in Seattle.
Thanks Alan! Love that passion. The People are leading on this cause. We shall overcome.

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At 6/13/2015 04:37:00 PM, Blogger Raincheck said...

The song isn't much. Or at least the performance doesn't reach me, a very simple arrangement hangs it all on Neil vocal, which feels like he is straining to sing and straining to control his voice. For the first time I really hear Neil sounding like maybe the years have finally taken their toll. Maybe he is just doing this for affect, maybe he is going for that sound, trying to sound plaintive. To my ears he is struggling and doesn't sell it.

Not a bad song, I think he could have done a better job on it.

At 6/13/2015 08:49:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Well said Raincheck. I think you like the song a little more than I do, but overall it's an extremely vanilla song in every way. It's a weak vocal performance with banal lyrics, accompanied by lack of melody or passion. None of us would give this song a 2nd listen if it wasn't by Neil.

I think the commenters here who seem to like the song more than others aren't differentiating the song from Neil's overall political and ecological stances. They hear what they want to hear, and I too have been guilty of that at times when it comes to Neil. I know what he's trying to convey, but the song and "performance" never gets started.

At 6/14/2015 12:43:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

I'm just so happy Neil is creating. Don't care, and I shan't judge the man. He's making his art...I won't judge, just rejoice the man is still with us. He's meant so much to me these 59 years and counting. Thank you Neil.

At 6/14/2015 01:02:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...


I don't particularly care whether anyone likes the song. However, what I have to object to is the implication that if I like the song, it must be because I'm allowing my judgment to be clouded or impaired in some way. I've come across this attitude before elsewhere and have never agreed with it. We have different brains and different ears, so there's really no wonder if we don't hear this song the same, even have wildly differing responses. You seem to be assuming that all of those who like the song think in the exact same way, and I find that to be highly unlikely. Why can't it just be a simple difference of opinion or taste? Why this thinking that there's necessarily something"wrong" (so to speak) with anyone who disagrees with us? I ask this knowing that I've been guilty of this thought pattern in the past. I would just like to think that we could be open to the possibility of differing judgment that isn't necessarily flawed judgment. If we want to have truly open dialogue here, I don't think that the way to go is sweeping declarations about what "those who like the song" *must* think; it's just painting in overly broad strokes and, in my opinion, doesn't particularly encourage one to come forward with an alternative view.

For the record, I said on the original video thread that the song didn't blow me away. But I really like some things in it. In my opinion, it has some good lyrics and some unusual instrumentation. Yes, I appreciate the ecological sentiments, but there are also other things. And if Neil's voice sounds fragile and a bit strained, I'd argue that it's not the first time. I've never listened to Neil Young for great vocals (although he does sing with passion). Go right back to "all in a dream" in After the Goldrush. I love that song, but if that isn't a strained vocal, I don't what is. Even during live performances in the '70s, he didn't sing it that high, as the Live Rust version will attest. Mind you, the vocal on the studio version adds layers of pathos and striking uniqueness, but the point is that it's compellingly imperfect. And it's this lack of technical refinement which is part of what I'll coin the Neil Appeal. His unique approach to the guitar is a prominent example: I wouldn't call him a technical virtuoso. I've heard his solos referred to as barbaric. Yet they are often inspired and compelling in their passion and pure ethereal, almost transcendent expressiveness. You only have to watch any film of him hunched over Old Black to know that he's entering another world. Now just recently I heard some classic Queen recordings and the clean, shining quality of Brian May's (excellent) guitar work sounded foreign, dare I say, almost sterile, to my ears. It was then that I realized how used to the growling, snarling, rumbling, fuzzy Neil guitar sound I have grown, and how unusual that sound. What Brian May does can sound great, but there are lots of rock guitarists out there who can deliver a certain kind of fireworks. What Neil does is powerful in a unique way. I've never heard another guitarist play exactly like him and I don't know if anyone would be capable; he's had decades to hone his method, and a lot of it seems to come from expressive impulse rather than skill. I won't begin trying to describe it any detail here, but what Neil does with the guitar, and with many other aspects of his art, can behave as an art form in itself. It constitutes a potent and uniquely compelling--and often beautiful--creative expression. And that, for me, is the Neil Appeal.

At 6/14/2015 01:25:00 AM, Blogger Marmooskapaul said...

It's all one comment... It all sounds the same.


At 6/14/2015 08:31:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Never thought I'd see Queen name checked here!

I love the amount effort people go to to defend his muse, shame Neil doesn't spend more time on his lyrics.

Look as ever some will like it some won't BUT let's be honest it's not great - I wonder how much Ms Hannah is affecting the muse?

Neil's gone from Living With War to rebelling against a coffee brand...

At 6/14/2015 01:04:00 PM, Blogger kahunasunset said...

A question for Archives Guy (if you're still around) or anyone from Neil's camp; Why no blu-Ray release when we're getting a cd/dvd combo?, and is there any archive Performance releases in the pipeline?

At 6/14/2015 01:16:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

@ (D.) Ian Kertis:

You are 100% right that no one should judge how or why someone does or doesn't like a song, and I apologize for painting with a broad brush. Generally speaking, I do feel that many of us have a tough time separating the art from the artist, and it primarily happens when Neil's music is overtly topical.

Personally, I think I have to lower my expectations and just appreciate the fact that Neil is able to express himself as he wishes. A while back, someone mentioned in a post that Neil's aneurysm may have affected his recent songwriting, etc. Neil's health has always affected his music, and I too feel that his aneurysm may have significantly altered the way he hears, sees and processes his musical impulses.

PS: Regarding After the Goldrush, that was the album and song that brought Neil's music into my soul. Attesting to your point that we all hear things differently, I've always felt that Neil's voice is his strong suit and I've never heard him sing more beautifully than on that song and album.

Am I lying to you when I say, that I believe in you..

At 6/15/2015 12:52:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Topanga Daze--

Thanks for the reply and apology. I'm glad my remarks weren't taken the wrong way. No hard feelings. I'm all for separating the art from the artist in criticism (all things in moderation, of course). I believe I made a point of this with Storytone, when I didn't want to look at that album through a biographical lens--i.e. as the "Daryl Hannah album" or "divorce album". I felt some people here were getting too caught up in the ups and downs of Neil's personal life--which, after all, is his lookout, not ours--at the expense of some beautiful and inspired music. (And yes, you can count me as one who is happy with Storytone; it's not perfect, but it is very fresh and unique within Neil's catalogue. It has a number of outstanding songs in my opinion (Plastic Flowers, Say Hello to Chicago, Tumbleweed, When I Watch you Sleeping, All Those Dreams), and the orchestra and big band was something new that, for me, really worked for and with a number of those songs.)

On the other hand, if a song clearly has topical intent, I think it's fair to highlight that, be aware of the context, and perhaps even adjust your criteria. Who's Gonna Stand Up? springs to mind. I've compared it to Lennon's anthem Give Peace a Chance. Maybe that comparison is a little fanciful, but not, at least, insofar as to say that they are both bluntly direct topical or commentary pieces, whose strengths don't come in the form of poetry or artistic flourish. It's no-holds-barred protest music that isn't dressing up as any thing else; the artist wants it to be clear as crystal as to what he's talking about. So a fair question for a topical song is, how does the song fair within the limitations of its very specific purpose and approach? How good is it in the context of what it is apparently designed to be? I've since heard Big Box and New Day for Love, and Monsanto Years is beginning to sound a bit like Greendale without the story. That could be good or bad depending on your viewpoint, and I think the album may have its strengths and weaknesses. I appreciate where Neil's conscience is on this, but I will confess to be wary of topical works in certain regards. They can be powerful, but do have their drawbacks: as I alluded to above, they sometimes don't tend to be particularly graceful, poetic/lyrical, or the most artistically refined pieces of work (then again, that's not their point). Case in point: of Living with War, the only song I find myself coming back to all that much now is the title track (After the Garden and Restless Consumer to a lesser extent). On the other hand, Greendale gets revisited now and then in its entirety. So it depends on aspects other than the topical nature of the songs, and with this new album it really remains to be seen, for me, how the entire album will hang together as opposed simple judgments on the quality of individual pieces-- which are isolated from any album context as presented here. The bottom line: it seems that Monsanto Years is veering strongly in the direction of protest music, so gird your loins if you feel it necessary to do so.

At 6/16/2015 03:31:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

So, you like the song or you don't. It doesn't make you a bad person. There's no accounting for taste. The aneurism effected him, but not physically (medical drama aside) Once the interventional procedure was complete… it was in his spirit where the change occurred. I work in the medical field with advanced imaging of the brain. His brain is good to go. But Neil is an old stoner who happens to have left his finger plugged into the Muse. My standards are not low. Neil's output quality is high. Most of his stuff gets me over the moon. When he is disparaging warmongers and wrong-headed idiots, he gets extra points from me. When he is defending Mother Earth, he gets a LOT of extra points. The fact I believe his Art is Inspired makes me a very satisfied fan. Listen to the song, Who's Gonna Stand Up? This is a great song. This is Rockin' in the Free World with Mother Nature. This is up-to-the-minute, most-important-stuff-in-the-world kind of subject matter. Did I miss something here?! Listen to the live track, "Stand in the Light of Love" -its new. It sounds just like a Native American song. Its eerie and trance-like in its beauty. Its unlike anything he has done before. I wish Dylan could sound this good nowadays! His environmental songs and anthems are intermingled with mention of broken hearts. He is keeping it real. This is Neil Young we're talking about here. He's been doing HIS OWN way for a long time. Yes, he is growing older. Have any of you heard the last 10 years of work from Johnny Cash? Does that ring a bell? I have been snapping up everything he does since the late 80's when I was a youngster. Not everything he releases is pure gold. But the ratio is overall great…. thats why I love the guy's art!

At 6/16/2015 04:47:00 AM, Blogger Babbo B. said...

Actually, "Standing in the Light of Love" is pretty much identical musically to the original version that was debuted live in 2001, though the lyrics have changed considerably:

At 6/16/2015 10:17:00 AM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...


I'm glad that you enjoy Neil's recent music, and I wish I was there with you, but I just don't hear it--especially lyrically.

Regarding Who's Gonna Stand Up, I have listened repeatedly and to me it's an incredibly weak song. Remember when he played it with Colbert? Colbert mocked it mercilessly and it was difficult to discern who the "real" musician was. (I'm not a fan of Colbert--I'm a lefty, but call them as I see them.)

I appreciate Neil's internal passion, but to me it's leading to weak recorded music these days. Tomorow's another day...

At 6/17/2015 01:48:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

Some folks got even wordier than me. I like the song. It moves me. A song that might suck to you is music to my ears. I like the modern Neil Young and his music A LOT. I thought Le Noise was a classic. When a song moves one fan but falls flat for another, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When I free-associate with Monsanto in mind and throw in a concern about Global Warming, its because that is what I am hearing come through in the lyrics to the new album. Neil Young is going deep with this release. This release defines the latest moment of the long and wonderful history of Neil Young music. Just another stop along the way. at I see are a bunch of albums that end up being full of good stuff and containing truly great songs. Light a Candle. Fuel Line. Johnny Magic. The Godfather of Grunge still cracks open the Heavens above with Old Black. Like a jet engine in a Hurricane, the sound sends chills up my neck. I enjoy his guitar work endlessly. Its daring of him to improvise, create, and reveal himself as he does. There is some very emotional stuff on Storytone, for instance. But "Who's Gonna Stand Up and Save the Earth?" takes the cake for me. I hear some "Bluenote" type tracks in there that I love. I prefer the solo version (Deluxe) version.

At 6/17/2015 01:51:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

Did you see Neil perform "Who's Gonna Stand Up?" with the big band on Jimmy Fallon's show? That was incredibly powerful and quite good. If you didn't like that, I know you're judgement is off!

At 6/17/2015 01:57:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

Listen to "Sarge" and get back to me. Someone pointed out that "Standing in the Light of Love" is a song that goes back to 2001. Further evidence that he is of the same mind and producing hypnotic, terrific songs in the new millennium. Some of the fans sound like they are pretty tough critics of Neil. I am so grateful that he doesn't give a fuck what his fans want him to do. Now if he would've endorsed Donald Trump or some other ass, then I would be singing a different tune myself, about agreeing with my hero's politics. Peace. Alan in Seattle


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