Comment of the Moment: Neil Young's Statement on Standing Rock
Telluride, Colorado, October 1, 2016
Photo by thrasher
(Click photo to enlarge)
There has been a large amount of discussion around Neil Young's Statement on Standing Rock.
The Comment of the Moment is from Ian:
I know it's been said before, but I will reiterate that Neil, Bruce, and others have always been this way [righteous indignation].Thanks Ian for your "Metamorphic Rocker" musings. Always appreciated.
It puzzles me that anyone would think they were "going off the deep end" now. After the Goldrush, for instance, is a blatantly environmentalist song. And Neil was, for years, strongly associated with CSN, the Three Hippie Kings of left-leaning protest folk.
Shortly before voting, I watched a video of Bruce rallying for Clinton in Philadelphia, PA. Bruce delivered a spoken word rap of sorts, backed with his acoustic, which was a drop-dead accurate recreation of the "talking blues" form used by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.
The point being, Neil, Bruce, and their confederates represent another generation of a very rich, enduring tradition of politically conscious music. This started long before it was possible for folk singers to get mega-rich doing it; nowadays, it's been pretty heavily commercialized (like seemingly everything) and there's a massive, powerful industry based on old rock stars alone (hello, Desert Trip!).
The commercialization has its pros and cons, but that's not the subject here. Neil Young has always maintained he doesn't sing for coke.
I'm talking about a certain artistic (and sometimes political) spirit that has been color, for decades, the work of Neil, Bruce, and others. The purity of the music is that the artist doesn't hold back from expressing what he thinks and feels. This is the man who wrote Ohio and Southern Man, and the entire albums Greendale Living with War, right?
That's why I must admit I'm a little bemused that anyone should get indignant now. A heart of gold can't be silent when it feels injustice--who would have thought?
A Metamorphic Rocker
We've long since resigned ourselves to the fact that Neil fans seem to go critical no matter what Neil Young does or does not do. Short of time travel back to the 1970's, there is nothing that will bring near unanimous appreciation and praise. Fortunately -- for Neil's sake and ours -- he doesn't listen or care. And that's OK.
More on Neil Young's Statement on Standing Rock and the righteous indignation of Singing Truth To Power.