Review of the Moment: Neil Young's 'The Monsanto Years'
The Review of the Moment is from the post "Curt of chord and filled with purpose": Neil Young's 'The Monsanto Years' Review by flyingscotzman:
To be honest I don't know what to make of the album (hence my meandering comments above). I've erred between loving it and hating it in the last 24 hours, something I can't say has ever happened with any of Neil's other albums. That old quote about there being a fine line between genius and madness is probably the best description I can give. The shrewd, mysterious songwriter has been replaced with a mad scientist. Something is lost, something is gained.Thanks Scotsman! Interesting observations. Certainly the ambivalent reaction is insightful especially in comparing an experience such as Tonight's The Night.
Earlier today I listened to the album Tonight's The Night, and also the superb bootleg "Neil Young Plays Acoustic In Paris". Both show off Neil at his absolute best. In comparison, Monsanto almost sounds like it was recorded by another artist (at times it sounds like a parody, as several reviews have noted), and largely suffers in comparison. And yet: there's something this new album has that those earlier records don't. It's hard to put a finger on. Is this work inferior, or is it just very different? Tricky question.
I don't think The Monsanto Years will have the staying power of Neil's best work. In a few months, my guess is everyone will have largely forgotten about it, as happened with A Letter Home. But if you are one of those fans who has listened to it once or twice and given up, my suggestion is to give it another few listens. In fact, take time to read the lyrics in the booklet, rather than just listening to them.
Get into the perspective of the singer, and it begins to make sense.
You can't listen to Tonight's The Night on a bright sunny morning. It just doesn't work. Likewise, maybe you can't listen to 'The Monsanto Years' unless you're interested in hearing from those who speak truth to power.