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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Neil Young to Donald Trump: This note is NOT for you!


From Mother Jones by David Corn:
When Donald Trump strode on to the stage at Trump Tower on Tuesday to announce that he would enter the Republican race for president, a rock and roll anthem blared: Neil Young’s "Rockin’ in the Free World." It was an odd choice, given that the 1989 song seemed to slam a Republican administration for not giving a damn about the poor. And Young has taken exception to Trump's appropriation of his tune. A statement issued to Mother Jones for Young by his longtime manager Elliot Roberts suggests Young was not pleased by Trump's use of the song:
"Donald Trump was not authorized to use "Rockin' In The Free World" in his presidential candidacy announcement. Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America."
Not since Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" has a song been so misunderstood and misappropriated. Not that Neil wouldn't appreciate the irony.


Neil Young (as a homeless person)
frame from "Rockin' In The Free World" music video

From Neil Young Lyrics Analysis | "Rockin' In The Free World":

The newspaper USA Today has called the song:

    "a savage attack on the policies of Ronald Reagan and the first President Bush ... (and) anything but a celebration of democracy."

On the contrary, a strong case can be made that the song is NOT "anything but a celebration of democracy." In fact, an argument can be made that the song is very pro-democracy and is a protest song that has advanced the argument about inequities in society. The song is clearly the work of someone who could be called a courageous patriot.

The song's lyrics contain the lines:

    We got a thousand points of light For the homeless man We got a kinder, gentler, Machine gun hand

The lyrics are a direct reference to President George Bush's (#41) campaign pledge to create a compassionate citizenry volunteering to help cope with society's ills. The "thousand points of light" symbolize the American citizen's spirit and a shining example of giving selflessly to care for one another's neighbor and brother. Along with "a kinder, gentler hand", Bush believed that each American could contribute to helping make the United States -- and the world -- a better place to live and work.

The song is strongly democratic and with pro-American ideals in that it is a condemnation of the supply-side/trickle down politics of President Ronald Reagan. "Reaganomics" involved massive tax cuts in the wealthiest brackets which supporters claimed would trickle down to lower brackets. In fact, the policies led to huge federal deficits and exploding unemployment and social decay, particularly in large urban American cities.

The economic realities of the 1980's with increasing social problems -- such as homelessness and drug abuse -- made Young mock the campaign promises of President Bush as hollow rhetoric. The drug problems ("she's gonna take a hit") refer to the crack epidemic which swept large American cities during the 1980's.

The lyrics of "Rockin' In The Free World" also refer to the rampant consumerism of American culture and the rise of the disposable society based on waste and pollution.

    We got department stores and toilet paper Got styrofoam boxes for the ozone layer Got a man of the people, says keep hope alive Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive.

The lyrics "Got a man of the people, says keep hope alive" refer to the Reverend Jesse Jackson's signature phrase to "Keep hope alive." Young contrasts President Bush's rhetoric and Rev. Jackson's religion as solutions to society's ills, when in actuality, they are nothing more than "feel good" slogans with little results to show.

More at Neil Young Lyrics Analysis | "Rockin' In The Free World".

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9 Comments:

At 6/17/2015 05:13:00 AM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

That's the thing about "Free World": despite it's inferences, it stops short of making any direct statement of intent and allows us to fill in the gaps with our own imaginings. The listener is just as important as the singer. Hence the song's enduring popularity.


Scotsman.

 
At 6/17/2015 09:22:00 AM, Blogger nick said...

http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/6598232/neil-youngs-corporate-targets-respond-to-him-calling-them-out-on-new-album?utm_source=twitter

 
At 6/17/2015 09:39:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

neil young and politicians ....
thats not a good combination

http://www.fwi.co.uk/owen-paterson-blasts-neil-young-over-anti-monsanto-album.htm

 
At 6/17/2015 09:59:00 AM, Blogger Liz Dennis said...

How dare Trump play that song. If that's the example of Trumps advisors imagine the horrible mess he would make as president. Keep rocking Neil, Trump better stay in real estate.

 
At 6/17/2015 10:00:00 AM, Blogger Liz Dennis said...

How dare Trump play that song. If that's the example of Trumps advisors imagine the horrible mess he would make as president. Keep rocking Neil, Trump better stay in real estate.

 
At 6/17/2015 05:03:00 PM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

Check out rollingstone.com for Matt Taibbi's hilarious piece "The 47 Funniest Things About Donald Trump", which starts off by talking about how pissed off Neil is with the use of RITFW in yesterday's hoedown. After the big announcement, Matt posted a Twitter piece asking folks to complete the sentence "The funniest thing about Donald Trump is....", then consolidated the results into a top 47 list.

As Matt says, about 80% of the replies had to do with The Hair, including my two favorites:

5. "His commitment to overcomb any obstacle."
–@SkyCorgan

35. "If Donald Trump did get elected, there'd be hell toupée."
–@SeattleSusieQ

Very funny article--thanks buddy, you made my afternoon! And today's NY Daily News has a front page picture of DT in full clown makeup, which is almost as funny as yesterday's headline regarding the prison lady and her escapee friends.

Wondering what song they'll high jack next? My vote goes to Kick Out The Jams; feel free to add your vote!

 
At 6/17/2015 05:06:00 PM, Blogger mark said...

...... ahh hahhhh !
Mr. 'Art of the Deal' & the Shakey one
..... who'd'a ever thought they'd see those 2 names in the same sentence.

 
At 6/17/2015 09:01:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

I'm not sure what it says, but the Donald is a fan of Neil. I believe he's attended several Neil shows, and not just the ones at Trump venues.

 
At 6/17/2015 10:41:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

You really can't make this up, purported quote from Trump, "I love Neil Young and he loves me" ... see following article:

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/BGOVBILLGO-BGOVCODES-BIZNEWS-BNALL/2015/06/17/id/651062/

 

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