"Curt of chord and filled with purpose": Neil Young's 'The Monsanto Years' Review
As the reviews of Neil Young's latest album 'The Monsanto Years' -- with Promise Of The Real -- start to roll in, we'll try and highlight a sampling.
From The Guardian | Neil Young: The Monsanto Years review – quasi-punk love songs for the planet by Kitty Empire:
This is Young in quasi-punk mode, curt of chord, brief of noodle, filled with purpose, marshalling tunes – and whistling, and harmonicas – in the service of the singer’s public service. Often, The Monsanto Years hits home squarely. If I Don’t Know, the album closer, is a moving meta-song, in which Young examines his efforts to get people to give a shit, while his guitar gently weeps. “If the melodies stay pretty/And the songs are not too long,” he reasons, he might restore some respect to the Earth.From RINF | "Neil Young is Starving the Poor! The Pro-GMO Lobby’s Latest Scapegoat" by Colin Todhunter:
Country and folk have long tackled injustice. Here, the rambling Workin’ Man tells of farmer Vernon Bowman, sued for taking seed from GMO soy without paying Monsanto a royalty. Young’s issue isn’t with intellectual property rights – musicians like royalties – but with how agriculture has been taken over by corporate McSeed, further impoverishing farmers (a Young concern since Farm Aid). By contrast, you question the lasting artistic merit of ditties such as A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop, which squares up to Monsanto (and Starbucks) with all the elegance of a combine harvester.
And so it goes with Neil Young's 'The Monsanto Years'.
Owen Patterson ludicrously talks about Greenpeace being put on trial for “crimes against humanity” and finishes by saying:
“Instead of bashing companies that are trying to save lives, Neil Young ought to use his star power to convince the NGO community to do the right thing and support giving the developing world the GMO tools it needs to feed its growing, and tragically malnourished, populations.”
Owen Paterson is a staunch supporter of GM technology, so staunch in fact that fellow Conservative Party MP Zac Goldsmith stated Paterson was little more than an industry puppet.
It comes as no surprise that Paterson would state the things he does. As Environment Minister, his support for GMOs was being carried out in partnership with a number of pro-GMO institutions, including the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC), which is backed by GM companies such as Monsanto, Syngenta and Bayer CropScience. Last year, despite government attempts to throw a veil of secrecy over meetings and conversations it had with the industry, GeneWatch UK uncovered evidence that GMO companies are driving UK government policy in this area (see this).
His claims about GMOs have already been demolished and are erroneous, misleading and little more than emotive biotech sector inspired PR (see the twisted world of Mr Paterson and this). And his claims about Golden Rice are not only false or misleading (also see this and this) but seem to be a key part of a PR strategy he thinks should be used to weaken opposition to GMOs.
After attempting to smear and denigrate opponents, let’s take a brief look at Paterson himself. Back in 2010, his wealth was estimated to be £1.5 million (approx. $2.35 million). He was a member of David Cameron’s cabinet of millionaires. Some 23 members of that cabinet were estimated to be worth in total at least £63 million. Just 9% of the population have over £1 million in wealth. In order words, Paterson is a rich man.
He is a rich man who belongs to the right-wing Conservative Party, which is waging an ideological war on working people in the UK in an attempt to justify even more ‘austerity’ measures. And the outcome has been predictable.
See this about rising food poverty and increasing reliance on food banks in the UK. See this about the five richest families in Britain being worth more than the poorest 20%. See this about one third of Britain’s population being in poverty.
According to this report, almost 18 million people cannot afford adequate housing conditions; 12 million are too poor to engage in common social activities; one in three cannot afford to heat their homes adequately in winter; and four million children and adults are not properly fed (Britain’s population is estimated at 63 to 64 million).
Welfare cuts have pushed hundreds of thousands below the poverty line since 2012, including more than 300,000 children.
Paterson’s pro-privatisation, deregulation, welfare-cutting, pro-big business, anti-union Conservative Party’ policies are driving the statistics mentioned above, which are predicted to get much worse. And it will get much worse because the economic agenda that his party introduced three decades back has been to drive down wages, automate the labour process or offshore it to cheap labour economies and now to impose ‘austerity’ on the millions who have become surplus to requirements and considered a drain.
Looks like a long, hot summer ahead. Keep cool and stay calm.