Comment of the Moment: Neil Young Discusses New Album With Promise of the Real
Cameron Crowe, Neil Young, Russ Tamblyn, Charlotte Stewart, Devo's Gerald Casale
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Well, no sooner we observe the decline in comments here on Thrasher's Wheat over the years, than lo and behold?!
Of course, it's never been about quantity... more a search for quality, i.e. The Wheat. Afterall, who needs comments that are nothing but chaff? You guys never cease to amaze us with your insights, passions and musings.
So on to the latest Comment of the Moment on "Neil Young Discusses New Album With Promise of the Real" from Ian:
I've now read the quotation from Rolling Stone [via "An Evening With Neil Young"] twice over, and I have to strongly differ with some comments I'm reading here.Ian, no worries on Resident Pretentious Intellectual of Thrasher's Wheat (RPIoTW). An honor and a privilege to bestow. As always, thanks for your insightful observations. As we so often say, Neil fans (& TW readers) are some of the most astute and knowledgeable music lovers in the world and we're very honored to have you (and everyone else) here as regular readers. Sincerely.
First of all, I completely agree with the person who said "Since when has Neil ever made sense?", in the sense that he's often saying quirky and/or just abstract things that don't make literal sense at first flush. This is the guy who came up with Journey Through the Past and Human Highway, right? What about RNS with road-eyes? The man has been inhabiting his own planet for some time now, and if any thinks otherwise, I have to wonder how much attention they've ever paid him. If what Neil is quoted as saying here is "gibberish", then so is plenty of good poetry that I could quote. There's really nothing new about this to me--except for the kind of music I think Neil is describing here. This I haven't heard him do before, and it sounds exciting to me.
Yes, he's done some stuff with Crazy Horse recently (2012) that's loose, unstructured, has moments of pure sound, etc. But I think I can see where this is different from that, in that he seems to be suggesting that the traditional concept of the song as the fundamental unit in which the music comes will not apply to this album. In other words, I'm picturing long, free-flowing, partially ambient pieces of music (whether there will be any words interspersed, who knows?), with very little in the way of conventional song structure involved. Even Neil's most elongated Crazy Horse showcases have some semblance of songwriting to them. What I'm imagining here involves dreamy, floating soundscapes and painting pictures with musical sounds. I'm up for it myself. For the record, the coda of Walk Like a Giant is one of my favorite things that Neil has done in the last ten years, an extraordinarily powerful four-five minutes of sound. It appeals to the part of me that feels that all of these structures we devise, including melodies and songs (i.e. music with lyrics) are artificial in a sense, and that moving traditional structure can sometimes bring us to a purer level of expression of our feelings as humans.
In short, I'm looking forward to this new album. It does sound like something he's never done before, which is an accomplishment in itself at this point in his career. I guess there's no chance Neil could get this one out by, say, June--in time for the summer Europe dates, instead of having us waiting until the holiday shopping season? (But I'd rather the time be taken to make it a stronger work than just rush it out.) As for this talk about non-musical noise, if you want to talk about the borders between music and sound, listen to Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time and get back to me.
I'm not trying to be the Resident Pretentious Intellectual of the Thrasher forum here, but if I come across that way, so be it.
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