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Sunday, February 05, 2017

Comment of the Moment: NEW VIDEO - "My Pledge" by Neil Young

"But I Do See What I See,
And I want to do My Duty"

"My Pledge" by Neil Young

Quite a bit of discussion on the new music video of Neil Young's song "My Pledge" from the album "Peace Trail".

The Comment of the Moment is from Ian -- attempting not to be strident -- in the face of negativity over the the "lyric quality" and "vocal delivery" of Neil's latest offering:
Well, I'm not trying to be strident, but it does seem to me that out of all the songs from the new album one could bag on, this is an odd choice.

People bemoaning a lack of interesting, carefully constructed, and meaningful lyrics should be relatively satisfied. I'm also a little confused by the mention of "half-talking songs". Anyone remember Tired Eyes? No complaints about that one being half-spoken. And not to beat the AYP? horse to death, but Mr. Disappointment strikes me as another "talking blues" type song that works very well, along with Bandit from Greendale. Both favorites of mine.

In any event, I thought and still think this is one of the best sets of lyrics on the new album. It is meant to be from the POV of the Average Joe, so it's not flowery. But any sense that Neil is making this up as he goes along is, I think, more than anything else an illusion of style and Neil's (ever-present) disinterest in polished production. The vocal performance may have rough edges or flaws, but the ideas seem quite complete to me. I could be wrong and maybe he was entirely improv-ing this "rap" in the studio. But I don't think so.

Incidentally, in American folk music of the Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger class, there is a tradition of "half-spoken" songs, also called talking blues or even referred to as rapping. My sense is that Neil is tapping into that idea to create a voice and feeling for the first person character of this song. My larger point is, there is a precedent for this sort of thing, and given Neil's current focus on folk protest, a little bit of singspiel (German word for opera with some spoken dialogue, applied liberally here) fits right in.
Thanks Ian, you're never too strident in these here parts of town, at least by our reckoning. (btw, congrats on latest TW COTM)

As usual, you get it. Obviously, if the lyrics are really meaningful, you put to use like this in a video. IOW, to creatively highlight their meaning and significance. You won't see Fuckin Up lyrics put to use this way.

We understand and hear your pledge Ian. Your transparency is appreciated. So we say our pledge at TW is we plan to continue to separate the wheat from the chaff. Or the REAL from the Fake. Or The Truth from the Lie.

How about others out there? What's your pledge? Thanks to those who shared. Others remain silent in their pledges. Why might that be? Might their pledges be secret?

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At 2/06/2017 09:26:00 PM, Blogger Grey Rider said...

Like the My Pledge video. It's simple in a good way, homemade, handcrafted with friends, from the heart. Homegrown's all right with me.

At 2/06/2017 10:00:00 PM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

The Pledge to Oneself

I pledge allegiance
To myself,
Whole as I know I am,
And to the conscience I follow,
One individual of many,
Entitled to liberty and justice
And never to take an identity
Other than my own.

At 2/07/2017 12:26:00 AM, Blogger rlr783 said...

Oh my goodness! I've been accused of "negativity" here. Never want to be linked to negativity. Never. I'll slowly retreat back into the weeds and leave all you comrades alone.

I did thoroughly enjoy the discussion though. Many of you made excellent points.

So long.

At 2/07/2017 02:31:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

@rlr783.... I have just finished carefully going back through all 48 comments on the "My Pledge" video post, and I found no one accusing you of negativity. I actually found the lengthy discussion between you and Ian Kertis and Flyingsctsman to be not only informative but gracious by all concerned.

The fact that you feel that everything Neil has released since Silver and Gold stinks is simply your opinion, and from what I see here on Thrashers Wheat, that is exactly the point; we all have a right to express our opinions. Negative or positive, they are all valid.

I would suggest to you that although you may feel you are in the minority here, that it is incorrect, and that many here may agree with some or all of your feelings on Neil's recorded output. You are clearly a true fan of Neil Young just by the amount of knowledge and experiences, and passion you shared with us in the above mentioned post, so you clearly share a commonality with everyone here.

I do not link you to negativity, I simply link you to a alternate perspective that has as much validity as anyone else here on this site. So please don't spend too much time out in the weeds, we all share something special here and it can get lonely out there in the weeds. Believe me I've spent some time out there myself and it's not all that much fun.

Thanks for all your input here and I'm sure I speak for some here who appreciate your opinions. We may not always agree, but remember we're all Neil Young fans, and if nothing else we share that one thing in common.


At 2/07/2017 04:35:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@ Grey Rider - Homegrown's all right with us, too. Maybe folks are wishing for the MTV days where visuals took precednce over the music. As Neil called it, TV Music.

@Ian - Excellent.

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool."
~~ Richard Feynman

@ rlr783 - Godspeed.

@ Dan - thank you for taking the time to review 48 comments. It really is an excellent little thread we had going there on the "My Pledge" video post. Especially given how "some" thought it wasn't much.

Clearly, a huge amount is going on in the song. Anything that causes folks to look deep in themselves and ask if they're doing their part is a good thing.

As you say so well, "we may not always agree, but remember we're all Neil fans, and if nothing else we share that one thing in common."

United we will never be defeated.


At 2/07/2017 09:33:00 PM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

@Dan Swann, Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Certainly I never meant to be aggressive or hostile in my own words. Nor, from experience, did the Scotsman. I found the conversation fruitful. I'll admit that I occasionally come across opinions I find slightly puzzling, but it's never been my intent to drive anyone into the weeds. In this regard, I hope none of my comments have been unduly strident or confrontational. Honest, yes, but not intended to upbraid or reproach.

I'll also point out that not all the threads here at TW get as active as that one. I'm glad when we have little spikes in activity, It shows we're still a vital, vibrant community. But wouldn't want occasional visitors to think we're always rambunctious or pouncing on things. Compared to other sites I've seen, we keep things pretty nice here. And I don't often use the rhetorical "we", simply because I wouldn't presume to speak for others or, indeed, that there's anyone else necessarily to speak for. But in this case, I've developed a degree of familiarity and a sense of how things operate here, in spite of some of my own lengthy absences. So I feel fairly secure in surveying the community as a whole here and concluding that we have a very nice virtual neighborhood, of which spirited differences of opinion can be part of the pleasure.

At 2/08/2017 11:49:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I couldn't agree more Ian. I look forward to many more lively conversations here in our cool little neighborhood.



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