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Neil Young's new album EARTH released on June 17th. The album with The Promise of the Real, is from the 2015 tour. Pre-order here
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Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Neil Young Discusses New Album With Promise of the Real


Photo by Julie Gardner | Rolling Stone
(Click photo to enlarge)

Neil Young appeared at a Q&A for the films Human Highway and Rust Never Sleeps, moderated by Cameron Crowe that was also streamed live into theaters across the country as part of "An Evening With Neil Young".

During the Q&A, Neil revealed he is completing his latest album with Promise of the Real.


From Rolling Stone :
"I feel really good and amped and energized. And I feel like I'm doing something that I've never done before," Young said. "It's not just music. It's a soundscape. It's kind of like flying around listening to things with your eyes closed."

"Effortless" is how Young described his ongoing work with Promise of the Real, during an onstage interview with Cameron Crowe Monday in Los Angeles following a screening of his 1982 film Human Highway. At a reception with friends and colleagues immediately following the screening, Young told Rolling Stone the new recordings were both a continuation of what began with The Monsanto Years and a new creative path.

"In critical other ways, it's like nothing that I've done," Young said. "It's more like a giant radio show. It has no stops. The songs are too long for iTunes, thank God, so they won't be on iTunes. I'm making it available in the formats that can handle it.

"It's like a live show, but it's not like a live show. Imagine it's a live show where the audience is full of every living thing on earth — all of the animals and insects and amphibians and birds and everybody — we're all represented. And also they overtake the music once in a while and play the instruments. It's not conventional ... but it is based on live performance."
More on "An Evening With Neil Young".

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48 Comments:

At 3/03/2016 04:57:00 AM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

Effortless. "Requiring no mental or physical exertion".

In one word, Neil sums up why his songwriting has largely descended into such blandness, such triteness. He sums up why his album sales have plummeted whilst his live show remains relatively popular. In fact, he sums up everything that has been wrong with his studio albums in the last 10 years. Why they sound so unfinished, so disappointingly unfulfilling.

Pick your favourite Neil Young recordings. From Will To Love to Heavy Love to Rockin' In The Free World to Such A Woman to Philadephia to Sun Green to Walk Like A Giant. You can bet without fail (without fail!) that they required a huge amount of effort to transform from a vague idea into a truly great recorded song. Neil had to battle with these songs to turn them into giants. It didn't come easy. The same applies to your favourite tours. A lack of effort or exertion signifies dullness, not greatness.

This comment also strikes me as particularly odd:

"I feel like I'm doing something that I've never done before," Young said. "It's not just music. It's a soundscape. It's kind of like flying around listening to things."

Odd, because this sums up every piece of electric guitar music Neil Young has made in the last 50 years. Still, this new project sounds intriguing, and if he actually puts in the effort, perhaps it will even be a rewarding listen.

Scotsman.

 
At 3/03/2016 06:40:00 AM, Blogger Keith Burris said...

This is a truly, utterly, perverse response to the great news that Neil young is still going strong and looking for new challenges

Mind-boggling and sad

 
At 3/03/2016 07:29:00 AM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

If that is your idea of "true perversity", Mr Burris, then you have clearly led a very sheltered life. You haven't met my ex-wife, for instance.

Scotsman.

 
At 3/03/2016 08:24:00 AM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

To elaborate a little further for the easily-enraged:

Of course, that seemingly-effortless initial burst of inspiration is essential to Neil's work, or indeed that of any artist. You might call it "The Muse". Without The Muse, Neil would never have written a song. It's essential.

The Muse isn't everything, however. There's nothing particularly remarkable about it by itself. Listen to the first live version of Rockin' In The Free World for instance. You can hear the essence of greatness; but it's nowhere near the monster song it would turn into a few weeks later. The arrangement was extensively worked on, the lyrics sharpened up, the guitar playing intensified. The muse provides the spark, but it's hard work and determination that turns it into a glorious fire. Time and time again in Neil's musical history this process shows up, and produces magic. In comparison, so many of his recent albums are all spark and no fire, which makes for a rather bland experience. Like eating salt-laden junk food rather than a fulfilling meal.

So I remain sceptical of Neil's modern approach to making albums simply because we haven't witnessed a truly great album since Greendale in 2003. Psychedelic Pill came close. So did Storytone. But both were sabotaged by this "effortless" approach.

So does holding this perspective make me sad and "truly perverse? It does if you agree with Keith Burris above. But I think the opinion I have stated makes sense, is balanced, and above all, shows upmost respect for both the muse and the phenomenally hard work of compacting that inspiration into a finished work.

Scotsman.



 
At 3/03/2016 10:03:00 AM, Blogger Art Carey said...

Thank you, Scots man. Well articulated opinions, with which I mostly agree.

 
At 3/03/2016 11:23:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I like the idea of "the soundscape" and agree that Neil has been "doing" this all along--perhaps he's calling this word forward now to describe his vision. As my friends on FB commented, he use of that word now may be being influenced by his collaborations with Micah. When he referred to insects, I thought of Micah's band Insects vs. Robots, lol. In any event, I look forward, as I always do, to Neil's next fork in the road--effortless or not.

Karen

 
At 3/03/2016 11:35:00 AM, Blogger Pocahontas said...

The fact that Neil is still pushing his limits at his age is remarkable in itself. So many of the early rock bands just tour around and rehash the same songs they wrote 40+ years ago. While these concerts are fun there is no element of surprise. With Neil you never know what your going to get and that's what makes him unique. He peaked in the 70's when he created his most transformative work but there are hidden gems sprinkled throughout all the albums that came after. If he didn't keep changing, he wouldn't be Neil.

 
At 3/03/2016 11:56:00 AM, Blogger mark said...

Scotzman,

You wouldn't by chance have the ex's number handy, would ya ?

 
At 3/03/2016 12:02:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Scotsman, welcome back.

Well said. I concur with your overall sentiments (if not every word).

In reading Neil's comments, they mostly all concern me, but the quote that really "scares" me is:

"Imagine it's a live show where the audience is full of every living thing on earth — all of the animals and insects and amphibians and birds and everybody — we're all represented. And also they overtake the music once in a while and play the instruments"

To me, it seems like he's going to be utilizing sound effects as part of an overall vibe. Kind of like expanding on his recent penchant for: tedious whistling, extended non-fluid, non-melodic guitar playing "enhanced" (detracted) by dinosaur like stomping that tarnish "Walk Like a Giant" and others.

With an album title like "Earth" & his comments, it seems clear he's expanding upon his environmental treatise by saying every little thing contributes to the whole. I agree with that concept, but unfortunately think Neil will go way overboard by incorporating sloppy, self-indulgent non-musical aspects which will detract from an overall noble theme and concept.

Seems to me this could be a hybrid concept somewhere between that of "Arc" the "Dead Man" soundtrack, and the weaker parts of "Greendale" where he incorporated the garbled megaphone use and odd sound effects taken to another extreme. It's disconcerting to me that he doesn't mention any songs.

I remain open that this could be interesting though. The Promise of the Real sparked Neil in concert, and much of the music on "The Monsanto Years" (without the weak lyrics and wrecked vocals) had a cool swagger to it. If they have Neil's attention and respect on this recording, maybe, just maybe we could be on the verge of a rewarding listening experience.

Take my advice
don't listen to me

 
At 3/03/2016 12:05:00 PM, Blogger Arthur Stone said...

"....the world is turning. I hope it don't turn away....."

 
At 3/03/2016 02:19:00 PM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Come on guys Neil is talking gobbledygook! I think his new lady is an influence here.

 
At 3/03/2016 03:05:00 PM, Blogger wardo said...

Well, Thrasher, you wondered where all the comments went...

I'll try to keep an open mind about the new album, assuming it comes out. A little more lyrical variety might help me too.

 
At 3/03/2016 03:39:00 PM, Blogger Christian said...

Not exactly sure what Neil was trying to say with those comments, but new music is always welcome.

 
At 3/03/2016 04:39:00 PM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Imagine it's a live show where the audience is full of every living thing on earth — all of the animals and insects and amphibians and birds and everybody — we're all represented. And also they overtake the music once in a while and play the instruments. It's not conventional ... but it is based on live performance."

Has anybody read this? Jeepers what is he talking about, I know we are all fans but we need to be honest with each other as our beloved Neil is talking gibberish.

 
At 3/03/2016 05:24:00 PM, Blogger Genghis Kon said...

It's time Neil makes a post rock / dark ambient album, complete with tape loops. Godspeed, Mogwai, look out: Uncle Neil is coming.

 
At 3/03/2016 06:44:00 PM, Blogger Pocahontas said...

Like when did Neil ever make sense. But, I think going sober, leaving Pegi, the Ranch and the Horse and taking up with _ (I just can't say her name) has made this condition worse. Think of him as "one you never figured".

 
At 3/03/2016 07:05:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Yea, I've always said Neil is the worst source of insight into his own music.
I do think he's certainly slipping physically (looks around 80 now), and he's been worried about slipping mentally.

I feel his worries about his mental capacity has really shaped much of his recent inconsistency as he wants to get as much out as he can as quickly as he can.

(I'm not saying he's lost it at all, simply saying he's worried and afraid of what may happen..).

Take my advice
don't listen to me

 
At 3/03/2016 07:42:00 PM, Blogger Pocahontas said...

I think you're right Topanga Daze. He's facing his own mortality and realizing his time is short. He's not looking back. He's moving forward with all these changes but to what end? Is it really better to burn out than to fade away?

 
At 3/03/2016 10:23:00 PM, Blogger Grey Rider said...

We are lucky this guy is out there, still doing it after all this time.
All of his recent work has had merit.
It's good to hear that he is working on a new album.
Sounds interesting, look forward to hearing it.
Of course, I'm just a workin' man, so I'll enjoy it while I can.

On the event the other night: two movies and an interview session, I like Neil but that's too much for one evening. I can't sit that long. On the other hand, would be great to see a live concert of the new music beamed into theaters.





 
At 3/03/2016 10:28:00 PM, Blogger John Tewks said...

Wow if this is the NY fan page I'd sure hate to read what the haters page has to say! I think he looks great and seems happy and very much together and hope the new album sounds like what he says it does. I even like some of his other recent albums! Go Neil!

 
At 3/04/2016 12:44:00 AM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

I've now read the quotation from Rolling Stone twice over, and I have to strongly differ with some comments I'm reading here. First of all, I completely agree with the person 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.

 
At 3/04/2016 12:48:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Mr Twerks have you been drinking form the same well as ole Neil?

'and very much together and hope the new album sounds like what he says it does'

 
At 3/04/2016 03:04:00 AM, Blogger joe lookout said...

do hope is not gonna be something like LeNoise.........didn't like that record at all! really Noisy.....

 
At 3/04/2016 05:26:00 AM, Blogger Barry Cameron said...

Folks,

I am 38 years old. I have been a listener of NY for 23 years.
Since 2 months before the 93 tour with Booker T and MG’s.
I have listened to every note moving forward as it was released from 93 till now.
I have listened to almost every note looking backwards as i mined his history from 93 to 66.

One thing is very clear to me. His methods will never change.
He has remained wilfully obstructive, obtrusive, eccentric and obsessive.

This will always come before producing the 'crafted' product.

As the Scotsman said... taking an idea and working it into a quality product takes not only a good idea, the right people, plenty time, unhealthy obsession to get it just right but also a priority call of placing the value of song craft over just going with the point in time... the moment.

NY did obsess over song craft for a large part of his life... mostly all of the 70’s it dissipated in the 80s came back for a spell on and off in the 90's and as time goes on less and less.

He obsesses over different things with varying levels of what we would consider quality but nevertheless he always obsesses.
This is both a good and bad thing.

Good in that it keeps him moving and producing… bad in that affects his judgement on what quality is.

We have to accept as the collective that we will never get what we think are looking for from NY anymore… everyone wants and need different things to satisfy own obsession over his music, life and output.

However, it is not just too diverse, too ambiguous, too much ‘in the moment’ to hit the mark every time.

For NY to cover ALL bases like he used is unrealistic, that takes focus, clarity, obsession on the product and all of that takes energy, lots of perseverance and energy.

At 70 yeas old it is quite frankly ridicules for anyone to expect that same level of workman ship and approach to his life.

Neil, as we want him to be, left a long time ago… all we have left is the madness and hopefully a few snippets of true quality product he has left in him every now and again.

I for one am happy with this…. Its been one hell of ride. Glad I was on it.

Barry Cameron

 
At 3/04/2016 05:32:00 AM, Blogger Jim Bax said...

I interpret "effortless" as meaning when the music plays you, you don't play the music. Isn't that when Neil has made his best music? Lets stay positive/hopeful.

 
At 3/04/2016 07:09:00 AM, Blogger Peacelover Doc said...

I love Pill & Monsanto Years. I'm psyched he's doing another album with POTR. I'll wait to hear the new album before forming an opinion on it.

 
At 3/04/2016 07:10:00 AM, Blogger timothy fontenot said...

Full Definition of effortless
: showing or requiring little or no effort. sentence-NY's writing and music is known for its seemingly effortless style. Think EKTIN,ATGR,AS&B, RNS all effortless and incredible. Must be positive.

 
At 3/04/2016 08:45:00 AM, Blogger Keith Burris said...

To be fully engaged with life and work at 70 is admirable in anyone, but especially in Neil Young.

He owes the fans nothing, but he's still exploring and creating. That's cause for celebration, even if the results are mixed. And I'll take his experiments over most musicians' home runs (much like Bowie) any day.

As for the results of this new LP, maybe -- like the GOP senators and the potential Supreme Court nominee -- the fair thing is to listen before you judge.

 
At 3/04/2016 12:26:00 PM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

A lot of you are still missing the point.

We're not talking about a situation in which Neil receives inspiration from the muse which goes on to produce an uncontrollable, mixed bag of results. Yes, it all starts with that essential burst of inspiration, but the quality of the finished song depends far more on the work Neil puts into developing that idea. So when you say "Neil has always worked this way", you are half correct; but you are also missing a critical piece of the jigsaw puzzle.

Yes, Neil has always been an impulsive, inspiration-led artist. But historically, he has also maintained an impressive work ethic that allowed even relatively meagre amounts of inspiration to be developed into something special. And people often forget that many heavyweight songs like Like A Hurricane were extensively rewritten and re-recorded before they became the classics we know today. Whole albums such as Sleeps With Angels, Ragged Glory and Harvest Moon were known for taking a huge amount of effort to complete. A lot of blood, sweat and tears. The results speak for themselves.

Yes, we can all think of occasional heavyweight songs that arrived seemingly from nowhere, fully formed. This mostly happened when Neil was very young and his artistic instincts were still razor sharp. But even in the 60's and 70's these songs were rare exceptions, not the rule. Perhaps more modern songs like She's Always Dancing and Born In Ontario would be considered just as great as Like A Hurricane had their lyrics been allowed time to mature into something more profound.

"Neil's 70 years old: what do you expect?". Fair point, age takes its toll. But I'm not convinced of the relevance in this particular context. Hopefully the readers here in their 70's will agree with me. We're talking about a slight adjustment and sharpening of mental attitude, not a complete physical rejuvenation. Besides, since when do we underestimate the youthfulness of Neil Young?

What we get out of Neil Young's work is directly proportional to what he puts into it.

Scotsman.

 
At 3/04/2016 12:33:00 PM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

Well, Ragged Glory was recorded in 7 days.

So Tired

 
At 3/04/2016 12:56:00 PM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

Andrea: 7 days of hard work. That's the important bit! And those 7 days exclude the work that was done on the songs before recording even started. As Bob Dylan sang: "I'll know my song before I start singing".

To some extent the Ranch Rehearsals bootleg demonstrates how some of the songs from those sessions developed from rough sketches into the soaring performances featured on the offical album. Had Ragged Glory been recorded today, it would probably never have got beyond those rough sketches and, in my opinion, would have been a lesser work.

It's entirely possible for a musician to work too long on an album, to overdevelop it. I think it's fair to say that in recent Neil tends to err more towards the other extreme.

Scotsman.

 
At 3/04/2016 01:13:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Good discussion re: expectations. I think we're all really saying the same thing, but it's "Like singing the same old song and twisting the words in a different way" much like Neil has always done. As he has often said, it's all one song..
and if we are to take his words literally, this album may truly be one song.

Let's agree that:

* Neil has always done and will always do whatever he wants
* Rarely (if ever) has he given us what we expect (or think we want)
* We all appreciate Neil, but for vastly different musical/lyrical reasons
* If Neil tried to please us all he would ultimately please none of us
* We're lucky to still have Neil with us and that he's still searching...

In closing with his own words, he's already told us everything we need to know:

"Just think of me as one you never figured"
"It doesn't mean that much to me to mean that much to you"
"I won't deceive you, I just don't believe you"
"And there ain't nothing like a friend who can tell you you're just pissin' in the wind"
"There's more to the picture than meets the eye"
"I know things are gonna change, but I can't say bad or good"

Okay for now, I could go on all day, but of course have to leave with my favorite quote:

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

 
At 3/04/2016 01:52:00 PM, Blogger Arthur Stone said...

"...And I've heard all the questions
I just don't have the answers
Ain't no fool to begin with

I DON'T SERVE PUPPET MASTERS!

I'm not trying to be elusive
BUT YOU DON'T WANT LIES!......"

 
At 3/04/2016 03:12:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

Regrets to be off topic, but thought this might be of interest to folks:

Neil Young Explains ‘The Needle and the Damage Done’ to a Mother of ‘Junkies’

A poignant, painful moment during “An Evening With Neil Young”
“Every junkie’s like a setting sun,” Neil Young sings on his 1972 heroin ballad “The Needle and the Damage Done.” On Monday, a woman who said her two sons have battled the drug asked him what the lyrics meant.
It happened at the end of “An Evening With Neil Young,” a live Q&A with director Cameron Crowe, when Crowe asked if anyone in the audience had a final question. The woman raised her hand.
“Both my sons are junkies and one of them killed himself… overdosed at 24 years old,” she said. “And my older son is struggling with it now. But I’ve played that song since I was 14 years old and I killed my fingers on every note. I’ve always wondered what you meant by ‘every junkie’s like a setting sun.'”

Young answered:
“The song’s pretty straightforward. When I said every junkie’s like a setting sun, it’s like, if that’s what you’re gonna do, you’re not gonna… you’re gonna go down,” Young said. “You can’t do that. Very few people have been able to hold on to that for their whole lives. And their lives have been affected, and even the most successful ones have ended up dying suddenly…”
“It’s such a sad thing, and I totally feel for you,” he told her. “But it’s going to be all right. There’s nothing you can do. You’re you and they’re them, and that’s the thing to remember, is that we’re all different, and we’re not responsible for the decisions that each other make. We can only try to guide, but we can’t take the blame.”

 
At 3/04/2016 10:27:00 PM, Blogger Grey Rider said...

Thrasher,
The mere mention that new music is coming creates a torrent of posts on your site.
All is not lost.
In rust we trust.

 
At 3/05/2016 12:47:00 AM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

@Jim Bax--That's how I interpreted Neil's "effortless", too. In other words, he's saying it's labored or painful to get this material out; it comes pretty easily without having to push it too much. Sometimes the best work does come that way. As a writer, one of the trickiest things can be striking the right balance between raw inspiration and revising to refine a piece of work. Let's definitely stay hopeful.

@Barry Cameron--I agree with the general tenor of most of your comment. I would say that "all that's left is the madness" is going a little far, but it's good to recognize that Neil Young, like everybody, has changed and, yes, aged, even while his fundamental methods and personality are the same as they've ever been. In fact, some people say you "get more like you are" as you grow older, so maybe what it's just that certain characteristics of Neil, the man and artist, are sharpening and become set in stone.

Overall, I'm glad there's vibrant discussion here. I'm just a little perplexed by those saying they are "concerned" or even "scared" by what Neil's saying. Apart from the fact that (I don't think) he's saying anything fundamentally different here, I'm having a really hard time reading anything alarming into these brief remarks. And the idea that Neil Young's comments could actually worry us in some way (are you worried about Neil himself or the quality of his product, or both?) says something about the level of attachment felt by some fans to the person, and possibly suggests some conflation of the artistic persona and the actual human being. In other words, is it our place to be "worried" or concerned about Neil, anymore than we would about any other human being? And if anyone is worried or bothered only because of how they think it will impact the quality of the work, that strikes me as selfish.

It's not surprising that any hint of a new album would trigger a frenzy, and that's what I think we're seeing now. I think the most important thing here may be to just take a few beep breaths, let it sink in a while, and hold off on doomsday proclamations that, after all, have never come true in the past.

 
At 3/05/2016 12:48:00 AM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

*Can't edit comments on here, but in paragraph one of my previous comment, "it's labored or painful" should read "it's not labored or painful…". Key word missing there!

 
At 3/05/2016 04:28:00 AM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

Re: the animals taking over and playing the instruments, I can't be the only one looking forward to the possibility of Lukas and Micah being replaced on the Euro tour by an elephant. Talk about a band shake-up.

Scotsman.

 
At 3/05/2016 11:45:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

First of all, I want to say Thank You to Thrasher's Wheat and the wonderful people who keep it going. I am going to be more active this year with my posts and attention to the site. Secondly, I'll say, other than the more open-minded and hopeful posts above, what a bunch of Jerks many of the "fans" seem to be. These fans are so fucking hard to please and such harsh critics. I love Neil Young and his art. I appreciate almost all of it. Some albums and songs are more fantastic than others, in my opinion. That is the key: there's no accounting for taste. Is peach ice cream better than banana, or chocolate? Does coffee ice cream just suck?! No, actually. I absolutely loved Psychedelic Pill. I also loved Americana, truly. I absolutely loved Le Noise! Living With War. I was amused by a line from a post above which said there were "no good album since Greendale." That is pure comedy. Many folks moaned and groaned about Greendale and hated it. I like it a lot. Its a departure from the past. I will tell you this. If you had to take just one decade of Neil Young's music with you as you walked off into the sunset to infinity, what would it be? For me, I would take the latest decade. I truly mean that. I am so proud of NY for his absolute fierce honesty and brave battle against environmental and socio-economic injustice in the modern age. He is a warrior. He is one pissed off Pacifist. Thank God for Neil Young! Here we are in a society which ignores the END OF THE WORLD from global warming. We sit idly by as the Supreme Court brought us Citizens United to give Corporations the right to spend unlimited cash to BUY POLITICIANS. Sometimes it seems that all the Americans want to do is sit around and watch sports or see what Kim Kardashian is doing, or wearing. We live in the information age, walking around with super-computers in our hands, unable to find a reason to raise our voices in anger against a system which is rigged to keep us asleep. Its like the Matrix, for God's sake! Sip your Glyphosate. Everything will be fine. "My 401k is in great shape. No worries." As the Atlantic begins to wash over Florida and brings down the vast wealth in the high-rises literally built on the sand, awaiting submersion by the sea, in a state where the Governor disallows mention of "Climate Change." The entire world economy is... one large hurricane hit on Florida away from realization that the world (/economy) is Fucked as this monstrous climate catastrophe overtakes us all. But, there are great things happening in the world, too. Neil Young is raising awareness about these unprecedented threats the future generations will face even more than us. Thank you so much, Neil Young! I too am an activist. I will be marching against monsanto on May 21st again in downtown Seattle. This event is growing larger every year, all over the world. Corporate media doesn't cover it. I will be voting for Bernie Sanders as the Corporate Media tries to pretend he hasn't got a chance (why would they want to pay more taxes, after all). And I will be eagerly awaiting the next Neil Young album, whether it is a "radio show for animals" or whatever. I bet I'll love it. Light a Candle. And get off your ass. -Alan in Seattle

 
At 3/05/2016 11:56:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Addendum: Living With War: What a courageous stand he took, at a time when almost nobody in the public eye would dare to say such things, and History has judged Bush, Cheney, Rice, and Rumsfeld, as the sociopathic criminals they truly are. Neil has got BALLS the size of church bells. The audacity to say the wonderful things he writes. I personally prefer the RAW recordings from those sessions. I am listening to "Storytone" orchestra / band version as I type this. In retrospect, it is a brilliant album. The heart of this man is full of passion, romance, and true love. I prefer the solo version, but the orchestra /band version is excellent also. Almost all of the albums become masterpieces in hindsight. Why do so many of the people who post here just judge in disappointment? If you don't dig what the man is doing, I just feel sorry for you.

Regarding Neil being sober: I expect Neil is still smoking / ingesting pot, but it matters not. Ramada Inn was about himself and Pegi, I suspect. When he said, "Tough love, can leave you almost alone…" I believe Pegi tried to make a stand and force him to quit. Its just a theory. It may be totally incorrect. But I hear what the man is saying and I suspect I know the truth. Whatever makes the guy happy and productive is ok with me. I am glad to be entirely sober these days, myself. -Alan in Seattle

 
At 3/06/2016 12:08:00 AM, Blogger Arthur Stone said...

"..From the biggest elephant to the smallest bird....."

Nicely said Alan!

-Arthur in PortlandFuckingOregon!

 
At 3/06/2016 04:33:00 AM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

Alan In Seattle said: ""I was amused by a line from a post above which said there were "no good album since Greendale." That is pure comedy"".

Of course, nobody actually said this. The comment was "we haven't witnessed a TRULY GREAT album since Greendale". Try investing in a pair of reading glasses.

I agree with some of your views on global warming and rest assured I am taking meaningful, practical action to combat this environmental problem, as well as others. What I am not doing is ranting about the subject on a different topic in onelongparagraphthatjusyseemstogoonandononandonandonandon....

If you want to get your message across more effectively (and why wouldn't you?), how about including some paragraph breaks?

Scotsman.

 
At 3/06/2016 11:52:00 AM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Alan,

I applaud your staunch love and respect for Neil's beliefs and music. Peeling back the layers, it seems to me you consider the art and the artist as one (and there's nothing wrong with that).

Personally I feel it's important to separate the two and judge the art on its own merits. From that perspective, his recent works while noble, to me are somewhat underwhelming and primarily, frustrating. Frustrating because if these important subjects matter so much to him, I'd like to see him "care" more about the finished product. Such heady topics deserve thought and action, not just immediate unshaped ramblings.

That being said, I've enjoyed much of his recent work for what it is, and as mentioned in a few prior posts, I am really enjoying Storytone (in all versions). Perhaps it's because it appears he thought about the production (love it or hate it) and the lyrics while not amongst his cryptic best, are at least consistent and shaped.

Your statement/question: "If you had to take just one decade of Neil Young's music with you as you walked off into the sunset to infinity" is interesting. There's no accounting for taste, though I must admit I find your choosing his work from this decade as somewhat staggering, but I understand where you're coming from.

My ranking of the various decades would be:

70's
60's
90's
00's (virtual coin-flip with the 80's, but Freedom decided it)
80's
10's

Again, thanks for your thoughts and I appreciate much of your activist beliefs.

Take my advice
don't listen to me

 
At 3/06/2016 10:58:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

Alan,
I hadn't really read through the whole post here until now ... so beautifully said!!
To me its been one long trip and I agree Neil's output over the last 10 years+ has been joyous ...
He's done it without Briggs, he's lost a bunch of his closest compadres along the way including Ben ...
And he's kept producing prolifically with his heart and soul ... acoustic, solo electric, w/ Crazy Horse, with POTR, new stuff, covers, protest albums, thematic albums, deeply personal songs, ect ... like wtf how many artists are operating near his level and so consistently and so consistently for so many years and so many decades ...
history will judge this period well ... so, we can all agree if Briggs were around some of the albums might be crisper ... but harping on what it isn't is missing the forest from the trees ... just have to say totally love your passion!!!

 
At 3/08/2016 02:33:00 PM, Blogger Some guy said...

I honestly think Neil is going senile. His words and actions lately are strong evidence. And it's hard to defend his recent music, even if he sings for a good cause. It's just not creative anymore. People will say Storytone is creative, but the lyrics are trite and the orchestra arrangements are a gimmick.

 
At 3/08/2016 06:59:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@ Some guy - Senile?! Really? Seriously, what gives you that impression?

If you watched the video from An Evening above, not sure how you could come to that conclusion. He seems as lucid as ever, if not more so than ever.

Did you watch the last question where the mother asks Neil about addiction and his response? I'll challenge you to find any professional addiction specialist be able to respond as eloquently.

Please get back to us SG.



 
At 3/20/2016 01:50:00 AM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

Thrasher--

I just watched the video, and I think Some guy is seriously off the mark here. Neil seems quite alert and "with it", and this notion of senility setting in is silly if not intentionally provocative. Neil Young has always seemed a little eccentric to me, and as he gets older, he may well be getting more set in his ways (and views), but sometimes it seems like just because he's 70 now, a few people people want to reduce all of his complexities and quirks into "senility". That is frankly unimaginative and potentially ageist. It's also ignoring history, in that this is a man who has, for years, been known for saying things that strike people as strange and contradictory, not to mention opaque. Neil himself even dimly alludes in the video to his practice of staying vital by changing directions, "tearing myself down, building myself up, tearing myself down again" (Out of Control from CSN+Y's album Looking Forward). Since the advent of the internet, it's been possible for people to see a lot more of Neil Young is like as a person, but his vicissitudes and unusual characteristics have been well-documented, in his own words and through various forms of media, for decades. So I really take any talk about "senility" with a decided grain of salt, and a little bit of umbrage.

 
At 4/06/2016 09:25:00 AM, Blogger James McKelvey said...

Even Lukas doesn't know what Neil is talking about when Neil mentioned his next recording.

Nelson: I think he must have been talking about the live recordings from the shows we did together. He’s putting something together for release.

http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/03/lukas-nelson-on-something-real-neil-young-and-hipp.html

 

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