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Sunday, July 03, 2016

NEW LYRICS: "Rockin In The Free World" - Neil Young + Promise of the Real, Antwerp, Belgium Concert - June 24, 2016

"Got a water cannon for the standing man
Got misinformation from the corporation
In the endless search for a drop of oil
People's lives get shattered while we suck it from the soil
Gotta show the children
We just don't care
So we keep on burnin' it
And put it in the air"

Neil Young has added new lyrics to the song "Rockin In The Free World" during his current tour of Europe with Promise of the Real.

In the above video from the Antwerp, Belgium concert on June 24, 2016 , the new lyrics can be heard at ~3:30. (Thanks Hounds That Howell for heads up! These new lyrics can also be heard 2 years ago at the Colmar, France concert on 08.08.2014.)

A rather harsh update for a song already dripping with irony, sarcasm and venom for what the modern world has wrought.

Over the years, we've written quite extensively how Neil Young's song “Rockin’ in the Free World” has been used and abused for a variety of purposes. In an in-depth look at the irony and aftermath of RITFW from The Umpteenth Times by Kevin Egan:
To borrow a phrase from the mathematicians, people seem to enjoy things broken down to it’s lowest common denominator. In the case of “Rockin’ in the Free World,” Young experiences what Springsteen has with “Born in the USA,” which is an audience clueless to the ideas expressed in his song.

The masses only seem to recall the chorus to this song, when the chorus is only a summing up of what the verses had articulated with more specific concepts and detailed images. It’s quite possible that Young may have been inspired by Springsteen (Springsteen’s song was written years before Young’s) when he created his own “anti-anthem,” a song in which a chorus is sung ironically, juxtaposed against gloomy, hopeless lyrics.

Though some may argue differently, this is far from an elitist tactic, particularly since both Young and Springsteen sing their verses quite clearly and include the lyrics to the songs on their albums. The information is there for the listener to absorb if they are interested. Unfortunately, in both these cases, many people still don’t get the joke and they ultimately and sadly become part of the joke. They sing proudly and patriotically to these “anti-anthems” that point out the hardships and inequalities of a system and government that has failed their people. It is only to those who have been listening attentively that the irony of these pieces comes across clearly enough.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Greendale at Radio City Music Hall, New York City - March 18, 2004
Photo by Thrasher

Tomorrow, 240 year ago -- July the 4th, 1776 -- the thirteen American colonies declared independence from Great Britain and announced they would no longer be a part of the British Empire.

Written by Thomas Jefferson, the American Declaration of Independence is now seen as a universal human rights statement:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

And on January 1st of this year, we wrote about Freedom in a New Year, which has been viewed -- in hindsight -- as somewhat prophetic for the events that would soon unfold.

Neil Young's album Freedom -- which was released in 1989 just as the Berlin Wall fell -- has been called "the rock and roll coda of the Cold War".

"Rockin' In The Free World" by Neil Young

The album contains the song "Rockin' In The Free World" and is one of Young's most popular, important and prophetic songs of his vast catalog.

The song has become an iconic anthem and it's status continues to rise as more and more artists cover the song. Young's lyrics are considered to be an indictment of the politics of the 1980's. In today's post-9/11 world, the lyrics seem prophetic and even more meaningful than when originally written on the eve of the '90's as the Berlin Wall fell.

Twenty years on, the song "Rockin' In The Free World" has become an encore finale for bands around the world, as well as, a coda for the days that used to be.

So. Freedom ... Is It All Really Just An Illusion Now?

Here's a look back as we look forward...

And while we blogged for peace and justice, we seemed to have hit a bad chord, but we'll still try to blog about love and war.

freedom. not just another word.

happy new year.


More on finding the cost of freedom.

Americana and The American Dream (Freedom ... So Is It All Really Just An Illusion Now?)

Poster by Shepard Fairey

(Click photo to enlarge)

Neil Young's new album with Crazy Horse has definitely struck a chord which is resonating not only across Americana but the Old World as well.

The songs on Americana reinterpret traditional folk songs in such a way as to breath new life and meaning into them to such an extent as to be almost unrecognizable to those who learned the songs in their childhood. And that makes some uncomfortable to go where they haven't been before.

For example, in the traditional song “Oh Susannah”, the music is a family focal point to provide relief from the grim times of the Great Depression. Those who fail to draw the line between yesterday and today's global meltdown are missing the major message of Americana . The "Even Greater Depression" of the early 21st century is the story of our lifetime. To miss this point is to fail incredibly.

Even the artwork of Shepard Fairey and Day at the Gallery where the images project populist ideals of the common man against the brutality of the state sponsored repression and economic bondage.

God Save the Queen, 2012
Mixed media (stencil, silkscreen, and collage) on canvas
43 1/2 x 30 inches
Image courtesy of the artist and Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Los Angeles.
© Shepard Fairey/OBEY GIANT ART
(Click photo to enlarge)

For Neil Young's “God Save the Queen,” the British anthem that was repurposed for “America (My Country, ’Tis of Thee)”; this version moves from British fealty to “Confound their politics/Frustrate their empty tricks” to a final chorus of “Let freedom ring.”

Freedom (1989) by Neil Young -
"The rock and roll coda of the Cold War"

U.S. President John F. Kennedy - 1961
The President and the Press:
Address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association

Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
New York City, April 27, 1961

Addressing the American Newspaper Publishers Association at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City on April 27, 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy said at the peak of the Cold War's Cuban Missile Crisis:
"The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it."

Freedom: Sunset Strip, Los Angeles, CA - November 1966
For what it's worth...

"Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know."

Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young's "Chicago"

Freedom: Chicago - August 1968
"We can change the world, re-arrange the world"

"[We have an] obligation to inform and alert the American people -- to make certain that they possess all the facts that they need, and understand them as well -- the perils, the prospects, the purposes of our program and the choices that we face.

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed -- and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment-- the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution -- not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply "give the public what it wants" -- but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion."

kent state
"But there's a warnin' sign on the road ahead
There's a lot of people sayin' we'd be better off dead."

Freedom: Kent State University, Ohio - 1970

"And so it is to the printing press -- to the recorder of man's deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news -- that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent."
JFK - 1961

"We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man"

Freedom: Berlin Wall, Germany - 1989

Yet the song "Rockin' In The Free World" is often misunderstood and attacked on false interpretations and misplaced understandings. Witness some of the near violent comments that have been left on this blog over the years in reaction to some of our previous postings on the song's lyrical analysis (see comments here and here.)

There are those who have argued that "Rockin' in the Free World" espouses anti-freedom ideals, to which we have taken serious issue with in the past.

As always, we live in dangerous times where those who stand for freedom are often accused of treason and worse. Such times are now and the struggle for freedom -- even among those who feel they are actually free -- is more paramount than ever. The right to live and speak freely is an inalienably human right that can never be assumed nor taken for granted.

"We got a kinder, gentler,
Machine gun hand"

Freedom: Tiananmen Square, China - 1989

So, what does it all mean? A comment on Freedom in a New Year:
You need only understand the true context of George Bush’s “thousand points of light” reference. It has nothing to do with a call to civic and charitable involvement. Rather, it is a reference to Illuminism, an encoded esoteric call to arms signaling to all the wreckers throughout the world that the time has come to declare out in the open (in George Bush’s own words), a “New World Order”.

A Question for Reflection on the 4th of July: Is the United States a representative democracy or a mirage democracy? by Kevin Zeese:
In the United States more and more recognize the disconnect between government and the needs of most Americans. They see how crony capitalist policies lead to the largest wealth divide we have known with increasing poverty, joblessness, underemployment and insecurity. At the same time the Congress, Treasury and Federal Reserve funnel trillions of dollars to the big banks, but demand cuts for programs that would create jobs, fund state and local government, build the infrastructure, provide basic necessities and protect the environment. This is the first generation of Americans who see that their children are likely to be worse off than they are.

So. The American Dream. How could something so good, go bad, so fast?

"American Dream" by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young

Say what you will about Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young's 1988 album American Dream, but it did contain some quite lacerating and scathing commentary on the state of the American Dream.

The video is clearly an indictment of the rampant corruption of the U.S. President Ronald Reagan's administration and the Iran-Contra coverup scandal where high ranking government officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, which had been specifically prohibited by Congress (The Boland Amendment).

And here we are 23 years later. My how things have changed for that American Dream...

You wake up in the middle of the night.
Your sheets are wet and your face is white,
You tried to make a good thing last,
How could something so good, go bad, so fast?

American dream, American dream
American dream, American dream.

Don't know when things went wrong,
Might have been when you were young and strong.
American dream, American dream.
Don't know when things went wrong,
Might have been when you were young and strong.
American dream, American dream.
U.S. Marine Corps officer Oliver North testifying before Congress on shredding of official "secret" documents by his secretary, Fawn Hall
Reagan White House Staffer Fawn Hall - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Traitor and/or Patriot?
Reagan White House Staffer U.S. Marine Corps officer Oliver North's Mug Shot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Socrates stated: “Republics decline into democracies, and democracies degenerate into despotisms."

Traitor or Patriot?
Army PFC Bradley Manning
Is exposing a war crime a war crime?

"The year 1776, celebrated as the birth year of the nation and for the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was for those who carried the fight for independence forward a year of all-too-few victories, of sustained suffering, disease, hunger, desertion, cowardice, disillusionment, defeat, terrible discouragement, and fear, as they would never forget, but also of phenomenal courage and bedrock devotion to country, and that too, they would never forget."
--David McCullough from 1776

Traitor and Patriot?
Thomas Jefferson
"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."
Author of American Declaration of Independence

So how exactly could something so good, go so bad, so fast?

We are still living with war, shock and awe, "Mission Accomplished", torture, and collateral murder in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Iran, Somalia and on & on & on ...

President Obama's promise to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Center: Broken
"There's colors on the street
Red, white and blue"

Pearl Jam covers "Rockin' in the Free World"
Freedom: Philadelphia - Final Spectrum Concert - 10/31/2009

Frame from "Clementine" video on Americana

by Shepard Fairey - 2012
Mixed media (stencil, silkscreen, and collage) on canvas
(Click photo to enlarge)

this blog is my blog, this blog is your blog, this blog was made for you & me.

happy independence day!
let freedom ring.
thrasher & thrashette

Labels: , , ,


At 7/03/2016 12:42:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

While reading all of this, a few quotes came to mind.

If you don't learn from the past, you're doomed to repeat it.

If you want to see the world change... be the change you want to see.

All you need is love

Be the rain.

... and in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make.

Happy Independence Day. Peace.

At 7/03/2016 02:10:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks Dan for the quotes.

Happy Independence Day, as well while we await reports coming in from Helsinki concert.

Will the British celebrate Independence Day 240 years hence from the EU as we do today?

At 7/03/2016 02:26:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Good times are coming, I hear it everywhere I go....
Good times are coming, sure are coming slow...


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To ask the question is to know the answer

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(Between the lines of age)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

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the zen of neil
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