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Friday, June 30, 2017

NEW Official Music Video: Neil Young + Promise of the Real - "Children of Destiny"



Here is the new Official Music Video by Neil Young + Promise of the Real of "Children of Destiny".

As we reported earlier this month, Neil Young and Micah Nelson have been recording together recently with Composer-arranger Chris Walden.

Composer-arranger Chris Walden conducted orchestra on Neil Young's album Storytone in 2014.

“Children of Destiny” was recorded and mixed at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA, and produced by The Volume Dealers: Neil Young and Niko Bolas. Young, along with Promise Of The Real, and a 56 piece orchestra - 62 musicians in all – played together on the final piece. Al Schmitt recorded and mixed, while strings were arranged, orchestrated, conducted and co-produced by Chris Walden.

Here is some early commentary by Thrasher's Wheat readers posted on another thread before we could post the video. Thanks folks for dropping your thoughts. Please continue to do so below.
TopangaDaze said...

Just listened to Children of Destiny free on Spotify. Eh, it somewhat has a nursery rhyme feel to it, not too dissimilar to some of his work on Storytone. The stronger parts of the song are those with full band/orchestra involvement, the weakest parts are the quiet ones with Neil's weak warbly vocals standing alone in desperate isolation.

Of course those are my thoughts after just one listening, and I do want to listen at least a few more times. The lyrics seem to be fairly simple, but far from Neil's worst (or best). Graded on a curve, I'd say the track is average and I'm glad Neil is still creating new music. There will be plenty of time later on to re-visit the vaults...

If Hitchhiker has truly been cancelled, all I can do is laugh and be thankful that ole' Shakey continues to live up to his nickname. He remains as consistently inconsistent as ever, and as always,

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

At 6/30/2017 01:35:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

I've listened a few more times, and damn, I'm finding it to be catchy! No, it's not a classic by any stretch, but it has its moments when the lyrics, vocals and music work very well together, interspersed with Neil's earnest longing vocals.

The lyrics as I heard them:

Stand up for what you believe
Resist the powers that be
Preserve the land, and save the sea
For the children of destiny--
the children of you and me..

Should goodness ever lose
and evil steal the day?
Should happy sing the blues
and peace would fade away
What would you do, what would you say?
How would you act on that blue day?

Stand up for what you believe
Resist the powers that be
Preserve the ways of democracy
So the children can be free--
the children of destiny...

When money matters most--
and war is good for gain
the capitol is yours
the people feel the pain, they feel the pain
They walk the streets
While the bombs fall in the rain
the children hide--somewhere inside
While the bombs fall in the rain...

Stand up for what you believe
Resist the powers that be
Preserve the land, and save the sea
For the children of destiny
the children of destiny...

At 6/30/2017 03:10:00 PM, Blogger joe lookout said...

it is going to be the open and the 'encore' of the future gigs........
from my italian point of view the new song is going to cause a stir in US......

At 6/30/2017 05:18:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Sounds like you may have some inside information Joe. Please feel free to share more with us...

I'm really liking the song, but can't see it causing a stir here. Curious if there are other new songs Neil's recorded. Any inside knowledge?

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

At 6/30/2017 10:29:00 PM, Blogger Babbo B. said...

Neil has repeatedly said he's been recording a new album with POTR at Shangri-La, he described it as halfway done around the first of the year. Kids of Karma is presumably the single from that.

At 6/30/2017 11:10:00 PM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

Funny Topanga, I really like the slow parts of the song both lyrically and melodically. And the load parts not so much, though that might be more due to the orchestral part. Look forward to hearing the RAW version.



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58 Comments:

At 7/01/2017 12:42:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

'cause a stir' sounds like a Michael Jackson out take - gosh this is awful - Neil 'it's over'.

 
At 7/01/2017 01:11:00 AM, Blogger John EH Connelly said...

Sorry there lads , but have ta ask ..... is the Neil Young eulogy over ?

Had a big smile on last night here in Ottawa , Canada .... Eh
Bob Dylan was in town , on the eve of a significant 150th Canadian Celebration .

Was blown away by the Dylan show !!!!
No I-phones , no cameras ..... no spotlights and video screens or preaching ..... just Bob Dylan and his music .... what a refreshing blast of groove !

Where is the convenient Canadain ....Neil Young ?

How fitting ..... Bob Dylan , a fine American , in our Nations Capital.....with a voice as clear as the call of a midnight loon .

Is Neil suffering from the " disease of conceit " ??????
Or just a tail between his convienent ordinary people Canadian legs ?

Oh Canada ! ... Long live our Gracious Queen...... Eh !




 
At 7/01/2017 01:33:00 AM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

This is straight from the heart--I can hear that. Regarding Topanga's comments, I think Neil is sounding rather strong vocally. By which I mean not that he's putting a lot of physical power or "oomph" into the vocals, but that his delivery is assured, clean, and even. I was kinda worried when I read the word "warbling", but to my ears, that's not an entirely accurate description. He just sounds... like Neil. And I take no issue with that. We don't expect Pavarotti, do we? (Although, now I've said that and in view of all Neil's zany experiments of yore, I'm almost surprised he never did collaborate with the Three Tenors!)

The video is good. I hope it gets some broad publicity. The song itself is immediate. Yes, it arguably comes up against a lot of the issues we've discussed in regard to Neil's recent protest lyrics, and I'll agree it's not his most refined or poetic stuff. But... I feel it. And I give credit for the emotional that Neil, POTR, and Co. touch in this 3:21 confluence of sound. Kinda makes me want to get up and do something (even though 1:00 AM here)--which I would guess is the point. For me, the heart of the song is when Neil asks, "Should goodness ever lose and goodness steal the day/should happy sing the blues and peaceful fade away/what would you do...?" And of course, the key question: "How would you *act* on that blue day?" (Emphasis mine.) From a musical perspective, what makes the song--gives it emotional breadth (and breath)-- is the contrast, the push and pull between the turbo-charged electric guitar thrashing and the soft, melancholy orchestral interludes. This tension is, for me, quite powerful, carrying the listener between emotional heights and depths along with--one imagines-- the singer/composer. Maybe that's what "storytone" means. Ever since 2014, I've been trying to tease out what Neil was getting at with that album title, and I may finally be getting somewhere...

Let's be clear. It doesn't take a genius to rhyme "pain" with "rain". The music itself is the vital element here, the propellant that gives this one liftoff for me. I don't expect everyone to respond in the same way, but I can't deny this one touche something in me. The sound could be described as "Living with War meets Storytone"--sort of a best-of-both-worlds approach. Which works for me, as one of those who thought Storytone had some major moments. Look back at some of my Storytone-period comments, and you'll see why I'm pleased Neil is apparently not ditching that thread of creativity. A few of those songs struck me as quite original and distinguished within Neil's catalogue, and while this one is a little less adventurous lyrically, the sound I'm hearing gives me a measure of hope that those pre-Monsanto Years ideas have not been left altogether behind.

 
At 7/01/2017 02:01:00 AM, Blogger shakeydave said...

i love neil young and he is still speaking truth to power thanks god! :)

 
At 7/01/2017 03:08:00 AM, Blogger Peter D said...

This is just as rubbish as career nadir, worst Neil album ever Storytone.

So disappointing after being teased with hitchhiker which, presumably, is now hanging out with toast in purgatory.

 
At 7/01/2017 03:54:00 AM, Blogger Matt Hartley said...

I wonder if Neil has anybody telling him he should put a bit more effort into his songs?

Let’s be honest, this song is lyrically and musically bland and far from what Neil is truly capable of.

The song Peace Trail from last year was pretty great, so I’d like to think he’s still capable of writing good songs.

You don’t have to have to dumb down your song writing when you write a topical protest song. Songs like Beds Are Burning, Strange Fruit, Only A Pawn In Their Game and many others are great lyrically, as well as musically. Children of Destiny is neither of these things.

 
At 7/01/2017 04:05:00 AM, Blogger Arthur said...


Power to the PEOPLE!

Stick it to the MAN!

 
At 7/01/2017 07:37:00 AM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

I do agree in that lyrically this song Is not the classic Neil that we fell in love with with his allusive imagery, but he is definitely saying what he wants to say and the message comes across clear. I suppose he could sit down like Bob and endlessly revise lyrics until he comes up with something more poetic.., But they're different and Neil is more concise than Bob.

But Neil does keep coming up with great melodies, that cannot be denied, and something Bob could use more of, and of course no complaints from his fans there.

Sorry to be so comparitive, I'm actually very happy with the way both Bob and Neil have written songs over the years and that they are so different.

The other thing I'd like to note is that Neil's sound is most true to the original 60's sound that we all love so much. Where pretty much all the old 60's musicians have drifted into adult contemporary, Neil is still producimg that earthy psychedelic sound he always has, though not at all on this song. I would like him to never collaborate with this orchestra guy again.
I love Storytone but I've never even listened to the orchestra version, solo version all the way for me. I didn't even need to consider which version to take. I do like the singers on Living With War. but it's funny that in that case Too he released a raw version. It's like he knows he's made a misstep when he moves towards The grandiose. I'm predicting a raw version of this as well.

Anyway I think it's a nice addition to the NY canon. Something altogether new. It's good to try new things with songwriting.

 
At 7/01/2017 10:04:00 AM, Blogger Art Carey said...

>There will be plenty of time later on to re-visit the vaults...

Not for all of us. Many of us are seeing less and less sand in the top half of our hourglass.

 
At 7/01/2017 10:09:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

Just because it's over for you, don't mean it's over for me. It's a victory for the heart.... we'll see. I love Neil's latest work. I even love Storytone. I bet there is a bunch of compelling stuff on his next album. Neil Young, environmental / social activist. Long live Neil Young!

 
At 7/01/2017 10:26:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

This is a strong, visually stunning, video to match the vibe of this protest song. I see this as an optimistic creation, added to our arsenal to fight idiocy in Washington, DC. This is a tremendous anti war, pro Democracy message for the US at a time we need it most. This is not Neil Young rolling over and being bland; rather it is an impressive, selfless accomplishment which, hopefully, will not be a Swan Song for our Hero, who still fights for you and I, more now than even in the old days. OK, Ohio and a few others eclipse this song in terms of rock and roll, and art. The new song is a faux Patriotic message which boils down Neil's "Earth First" ideology. I love the themes: "Save Earth, Save Society, Save the Animals, Save the Trees, for only then can we save ourselves, the cause of the world's biggest problems (Global Warming, Environmental Destruction, War, and the Greed for more. I am greedy for more Neil Young music. Keep it coming, Don Grungio. I appreciate and value each Neil Young album for what it is. And I, for one, am Damn Glad Neil is making music with strong moral lessons included. We need it more than ever! Alan in Seattle

 
At 7/01/2017 11:16:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I have actually been sincerely impressed with Neil's recent records and hear a continuity throughout. From Le Noise to Peace Trail there is clearly a stream of consciousness involving the environment, politics, war, and the ideology of democracy, so Children of Destiny seems to fall in line within Neil's themes. The song certainly has a patriotic vibe to the extreme, which isn't necessarily going to appeal to everyones ideologies, but it's the path he has chosen to take.

As I have mentioned in the past, I'm not a fan of music videos, and this one has a rather Pepsi / propaganda vibe to it that I find hard to swallow, but the song holds up on it's own as another earnest attempt by Neil to share what's on his mind, and in his heart. And I find no fault in that what so ever.

After only a single listen I hear this song as a continuation of what Neil has been doing for some time now, and like everything else he has released over the past several records I know it will grow on me with each listen.

As for Hitchhiker being delayed or pulled for good, I am incredibly disappointed.

 
At 7/01/2017 12:14:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

Thanks to all for commenting.

And Happy 150th Birthday Canada! Oh Canada.

We've been celebrating Canada's birthday all week here @ TW. We saw Kathleen's Edwards presented by Canadian Embassy in DC, her 1st performances in 5 years after semi-retiring from music. And just as spunky spirited fun as ever in a delightfully charming "aaww shucks, you shouldn't have" sort of attitude.

And as we approach the 241st birthday for the U.S. of A., along comes Neil's latest.

wow, talk about timing of release. quite auspicious and well done. So HitchHiker got pulled? We hear you Art -- the sand is running out... but there's always more time ahead.

Dan's comment above resonated with us as well. Perfectly patriotic, but unconventionally so. The necessary dark overtones were there and carefully crafted.

The lyrics:
"Stand up for what you believe
Resist the powers that be"

A strong message that never gets old ... speaking truth to power.

As we head into the 4th of July holiday, we'll be making our annual trek to see the fireworks and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air.

We're old enough to vividly remember the 4th of July holiday in 1976, America's 200th Bicentennial celebration. It was quite a big deal with years of buildup for the big 200th. Every town in the country planned it's biggest fireworks celebration ever. And there were indeed huge, spectacular fireworks. The best ever.

Folks talked about that night into the next day. And into the next day & thereafter.

Where were you? With who? How long? How late? And on through the summer until that hot evening faded into a distant memory. Everyone was in on it that 4th. No one could remember such unity before or since.

So everyone out there in TW-dale, have a very nice July 1 or 4th or whatever day makes you happy.

Thanks Neil.
peace

 
At 7/01/2017 12:32:00 PM, Blogger Lloyd Walton said...

Meanwhile, up in Canada, today on Canada Day, Neil gets a sweet cartoon tribute featuring 150 Reasons to Love Canada on the front page of one of our national newspapers, the National Post, . The new song gives me another reason.

 
At 7/01/2017 12:41:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

@ Ian, good thoughts. Regarding my words describing Neil's "warbling" vocals, that was immediately after one listen. After repeated listens, I like his quiet vocals sandwiched between the louder parts. Overall the song moves me and I don't understand some of the harsh criticism it's receiving.

Sure, it's a simple message written directly and at times a little awkwardly, but the melody is there, the sentiment is there and the vocal delivery is there. It's musically catchy and earnestly sincere. The song is very much a piece of a puzzle he's been creating beginning with Living with War. I liked his message and music then, and I like his continuation of it here.

Stand up for what you believe...

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

 
At 7/01/2017 03:44:00 PM, Blogger RSW said...

Let's be honest. This is completely, utterly, categorically awful. It is a song that detracts from his legacy.

 
At 7/01/2017 03:58:00 PM, Blogger DC said...

Horrible. Literally sounds like some random guy off the street trying to "write a song" for the first time. Completely predictable and naive.
What the hell has happened to Neil?

 
At 7/01/2017 04:39:00 PM, Blogger Mick Funz said...

The amount of dishonest apologetics happening in this thread is becoming very tiresome. Thrasher's, this is a great page, but when you all start talking about art and the message it's very fuzzy & doesn't come across as meaning anything. Neil Young is lost. I have higher music-listening standards, designed by artists like Neil Young, so I'm incapable of polishing uninspired, weak, confused & almost seemingly senile music. Yes I said it. I bought & like PEACE TRAIL & other albums from the spotty last 17 yrs but my god ladies and gentlemen, you do yourself a disservice and I think are lying when you say that this song is powerful & real. No real Neil Young fan, who knows how great Neil is and what makes him great, would EVER accept this as quality work.
Oh that's right, there's a bigger plan & I don't get it.
Sorry, YOU don't get it.

 
At 7/01/2017 05:10:00 PM, Blogger Seamus Mc Donnell said...

I like it. I like it a lot. I jope tjis is part of an album.

 
At 7/01/2017 05:13:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

Again, thanks to all for commenting.

A thought experiment here -- if we may.

@ RSW, DC & Mick F. & anyone else who wants to play - So imagine this... You get to play Elliot Roberts for the day. You invite Neil to your office and say to his face essentially the above: "Your new song is a POC."

Neil says, "OK. So as my manager of 40+ years, what would you suggest I should be doing instead? What should I do different?"

You guys have the platform here. Seriously. What would be your advice to Neil? (Remember the #1 rule here: Your role is to play Elliot Roberts.)


 
At 7/01/2017 05:21:00 PM, Blogger Mick Funz said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7/01/2017 05:26:00 PM, Blogger Mick Funz said...

I deleted my response because I think what's going on is I'm kinda hurt, very disappointed and embarrassed by this new song. It's a very confusing time. Sorry for the heat. I like PEACE TRAIL, I'll give that a listen here instead. And Greendale!

 
At 7/01/2017 05:34:00 PM, Blogger Giles Mac said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7/01/2017 05:36:00 PM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

@Topanga--I understand completely: words often fail us, especially when trying to wrap our minds around a New Neil Offering. My comments were intended less as a rebutal than a friendly counterpoint. I'm glad a lot of the gut/heart response here to this song is so positive. It's a refresher from the hiatus, even if it may come at the (for now) expense of Hitchhiker.

 
At 7/01/2017 05:37:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@ Mick - thanks for coming back on this. I did read your messages before deleting.

In some ways, this is unfortunate because you deleted how you really felt. OTOH, maybe you re-read them and found them to be unjustifiably harsh?

Nonetheless, we hear and understand where you're coming from. But you do realize that what you originally wrote is close to the same thing that was happening to Neil's music and his fans in the 80's, 90's, 00's, etc.

Same as it ever was.

Here's something that Jeff Tweedy said about life once which we linked to awhile back.

Essentially Jeff said that he was very happy in his life just knowing that like the sun coming up everyday, it was something he could count on. Just like another Neil Young record.

Isn't that enough to be satisfied?

We know many would rather have 40 year old recording on Hitchhiker which was just pulled than new fresh songs.

We do get that.

But for us today? It's this moment in time which matters most. And that's where Neil lives these days. He's done the journey through the past. He's seen the future that lies ahead after the goldrush. He's foreshadowed the TRANS age long ago.

That's the Alchemy.

Not the past. Not the future.
But right now... REAL time.

 
At 7/01/2017 05:51:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@ Giles - curious. You say you're an environmentalist/conservationist. So everyday -- on average -- we lose about 200 different plant and animal species. About 600,000 plant and animal species lost forever.

So we see no harm on harping on this theme album after album, decade after decade. Not sure this over-intellectualizing. Again, do folks want from Neil?

We love to check out new material, new artists. We mentioned new material above w/ Kathleen Edwards returning to the stage.

Maybe a better question is "Who do you listen to today?" As in, what new music that has been just been released say in 2017?

 
At 7/01/2017 06:22:00 PM, Blogger Seamus Mc Donnell said...

Some of you lot should just stick to the best of album and piss off

 
At 7/01/2017 07:33:00 PM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

@Mick Funz--

I was perhaps similarly hurt by your initial comment (didn't get to see your reply to Thrasher). The tone was one of lashing out and the "dishonest apologetics" bit was particularly upsetting. I'd rather be thought of as thoroughly deluded/loony than dishonest; at least that wouldn't imply malice or willful distortion. It's frustrating, frankly, to pour out your passion in an effort to articulate your immediate response to a new creation, only for someone to accuse of indulging in unmitigated sophistry--telling you you're just faking it. Of course, my brain could be tricking me at any number of levels, but as of right now, my emotions seem quite genuine, and I'm doing my best to translate them into words. So to have someone come along and presume otherwise (and not just about my personal comments, but all of the remotely positve respose to the new song) is not respectful to the discussion space here, or even considerate.

Simply proclaiming "YOU don't get it" is clearly an expression of anger. It is not looking for constructive dialogue. My immediate reaction is that you can't walk into a room (even a virtual room) full of people with that, and not expect some blowback or indignant response. Yet it's clear from your subsequent comments that you're coming from a point of hurt and confusion, and of that I try to be mindful. It's worth bearing in mind, for all parties here, that haranguing and insulting others isn't going to make them more receptive to your point of view. I said in my initial thoughts on Children of Destiny that I don't expect everyone to respond as Indid to then new song. I meant exactly that. I'd like for everyone to have good feelings from this song, but I know that won't be reality.

I'm sorry, in a way, that this song doesn't resonate with you. Certainly--speaking for myself--I have no animus against anyone for not liking the song, or to those offering a different opinion. I object to being flatly told that I don't "get it"--or worse, that I do but am deliberately disguising it. Because I *am* open to other perspectives, I try not to make such statements myself. I suppose my overarching point is that each song is bound to touch of affect each person differently, and it's not productive or positive to leap all the way to saying that anyone who doesn't share your (or my) gut/heart reaction and viewpoint is either less intelligent, less aware, or less intellectually honest than ourselves.

Part of a balanced, reasonably self-aware thought process is a healthy degree of self-questioning: considering, at some point, that you could be incorrect or missing something. It has to cross one's mind at some point that it's possible for multiple others to be on to something, and that it's not necessarily a case of you seeing where everyone else is blind, right? Without this degree of insight, there's likely to be much unnecessary, avoidable hurt and misunderstanding spreading around.

 
At 7/01/2017 07:33:00 PM, Blogger Glenn said...

Oh dear, another new low. Just absolutely abysmal. Makes Landing on Water sound like genius.

Now, on an unrelated note: has anyone managed to grab the audio from the Hitchhiker stream???

 
At 7/01/2017 07:34:00 PM, Blogger rj said...

I'm sorry, I really want to embrace and love everything Neil does. I love the spirit of this song. As usual, NY has something to say and a platform to say if. I commend that. But, as a "song," Children Of Destiny is lacking. I say lacking but what I really mean is terrible. To paraphrase VP candidate Lloyd Bentsen, "I knew Ohio, I lived Ohio, and I have sung along with Ohio, and you sir, are no Ohio." Perhaps it's unfair of me to remember "Ohio" as the pinnacle of Neil's protest commentary. But it is what all other works will be measured against. We all know Neil has done so much better then "Children of Destiny." And judging from Peace Trail he still has it in him. Im not settling for this. It's disappointing.

 
At 7/01/2017 07:44:00 PM, Blogger DC said...

If Neil wants to practice social commentary in his music I'm fine with that. But from Neil I expect profundity in both the message and its musical expression. In answer to TWs question "then what should he do after 40+ years" my answer would be that if he can no longer do that, he should hang it up and stop shaming himself with mediocrity.

 
At 7/01/2017 08:01:00 PM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

Additional: I did find Mick's deleted comment archived in my email thread. If anything, I feel reaffirmed that my comments are apropos. And Pete D., Just have to say: if my "nadir" included songs like Plastic Flowers, Say Hello to Chicago, and Tumbleweed (others I could mention...) I'd be most pleased.

... And of course, happy Canada Day!

 
At 7/01/2017 08:45:00 PM, Blogger Mick Funz said...

The "you Don't get it" comment was aimed at TW who when anyone says that new Neil Young music is poorly executed suggests we don't know a bigger picture. There is no bigger picture than Neil Young creating top quality art. He is not even half the activist as he is an artist and he really has no head or heart for it, it comes out in the platitudes, slogans and cliches he's currently calling lyrics. Sorry folks, Neil has proven that, despite his good intentions, he's actually not much of a person but he's an Alpha artist. This guy has had every whim attended to since his early 20s, I don't think he knows what the real world even looks like.
So, stay in yr rarified air of beautiful music & logic-weak poetry, where you shine, art man! Every time you try to talk about people and the fight, it's as if you've never experienced the battle or something. These new tunes are frightening partly because they may be showing something about our hero we only maybe suspected.

 
At 7/02/2017 12:12:00 AM, Blogger BigDee1980 said...

Well I am a long time lurker on the wheat but never have bothered with posting before. It's not that I don't care, its just that it seems almost every thread turns into a heated argument basically saying either "Neil's great so fuck off..." or "Neil is past it and should hang it up..." and in all honestly I can agree with both sentiments at times. But the comments about the lack of effort/poetry in the lyrics and the idea Thrasher mentioned of basically what would you have Neil do different got me thinking. I'm sure this is going to sound a bit nuts (and probably is) but I would love it if Neil did a covers album of nothing but some of the deepest and darkest works of the other great music poet from Canada, Leonard Cohen. As I said I would suggest only picking from the darkest of his works and/or ones that offer views on society and none of the love songs he was also known for. Pick from songs like "The Future", "Closing Time", "Everybody Knows", "First We Take Manhattan" "Dress Rehearsal Rag", "Avalanche", "There is a War", "Diamonds in the Mine" and probably around another dozen or more that would fit the bill. My only instruction to Neil would be this "Listen to Leonard's versions, then when you go in to the studio to cut your versions bring a rocking band and make old black speak as loud and powerful as Leonard's lyrics!" Oh and one more instruction "Do not under any circumstance give us yet another fucking cover of Cohen's "Hallelujah". Actually, now that I think of it, that might be a fun way to start the album. Have Neil sing the very first line of "Hallelujah" with no music backing him, "I heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the lord... but I ain't him and this isn't it" then hit one of his signature power chords on old black and break into the first of the rocking cover versions. Yes I know, Leonard would probably be spinning in his grave if he knew Neil was giving his songs the Crazy Horse treatment, but why not do it? Nobody else seems to want to do anything but covers of "Hallelujah", so why not do some of the dark material in a dark and jamming style instead? Seems like we are currently living in Cohen's 1992 vision of what "The Future" would be, so why not sing about it?

 
At 7/02/2017 12:22:00 AM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Ok Mick, I sort of understand your viewpoint, but there's a lot of contradictions in your thoughts.

* You say Neil's had his every whim attended to since his early 20s and that he doesn't know what the real world even looks like.

Okay, let's assume that's true. Despite that, by all accounts he's made music that has resonated deeply with you. Doesn't that mean that likely on some level he "gets it" and knows as much or more about the real world than you do?

* You say "these new tunes" are frightening

Okay maybe, if that's your opinion, but you then readily admit that you like Peace Trail. That album was written and recorded six months ago! If he was capable of writing and recording good work six months ago, don't you think he could do it again six months from now? Why should he stop now based on a song you think is terrible?

* You say Neil doesn't have the "head or heart" to be a good activist

Okay, who knows, but are you saying he's being disingenuous? Maybe he is a terrible activist, and maybe his "activist" songs lack poetic imagery and artistic sophistication. Does that mean he's "demented" as you're alluding to? Does it mean he's lost his musical ability? Does it mean he should just fold it up and fade away? Neil's entire adult life has been about making music. Music that at times throughout his career has alienated diehard fans, casual fans and haters of his music, sometimes all at different times, and other times all at once. Why should he stop now?

Do you really think anything he does now will negatively affect his legacy? He's already left an indelible mark on us individually and on the music industry as a whole.

If anyone would have ever wanted to take the paintbrush away from Picasso, I'd have tried to stop them. Neil isn't Picasso, but he's a creator and an innovator. The last thing I'd ever want or demand of him is for him to stop making music. It's all a natural process, and to take away the tools and passion from him would be heartless and shortsighted.

Stop listening or buying his music if you want, and by all means if you listen and don't like it, feel free to express your opinion. But, please, please don't tell me what good music is or what's relevant or not. All you know is what you like and what resonates with you. You know nothing about how I hear or respond to Neil's music.

I think you understand what I'm saying. So, listen to the music or don't listen to the music. Feel happy or sad; hurt or healed; enlightened or confused; let down or let in. We all hear, see and feel things differently at different times.

Neil's been a part of my life since I was eight years old. He's made me laugh, cry, think and feel. His music is still doing that to me and for me, so I will always:

"Stand up for what I believe"

 
At 7/02/2017 01:09:00 AM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

@Topanga--I could almost have written that post word for word. Somewhat young for a Neil-o-phile, I discovered "Decade" in my family's collection when I probably was about eight years old. I can still remember the effect felt from the complex arrangements and colorful lyrics of the Buffalo Springfield numbers. The words didn't concretely "mean" much to someone so young, but my imagination was captured the evocative soundscapes and images. The buzzing big guitar sound of Cinnamon Girl was another beast altogether. There's been virtually no turning back since then. When I talk about my passion, this is what I'm referring to. The corollary is that since my initial experience of Neil's music was strongly linked to aesthetic and sensory response rather than intellectual awareness, I'm sure prism continues to influence my views of the man and his work.

So with greatest apologies to those who object to my aesthetic, formal, etc. parsing of Neil's work, I can't stop. I'm not trying to wring the life out of a song or reduce it to some sort of dry exercise. Rather, this is how I bathe in it. Don't be afraid to dip your toes in. The water's okay.

 
At 7/02/2017 03:15:00 AM, Blogger saducee said...

On first listen, I liked the song especially combined with the artfully shot video. A poem to music - Neil's view of the world, exhorting listeners to do the right thing. A second listen confirmed that it's not the best of his art, but why shouldn't Neil put his poetry out there?

 
At 7/02/2017 04:49:00 AM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

As for Hitchhiker, the album was apparently so close to release that at least some of it has leaked online (the Hitchhiker single). This is what happens in the digital age when you indecisively keep dithering about with release dates.

My favourite version of Hitchhiker remains the haunting '92 version, capturing the bare-bones spookiness and nakedness of the original and amplifying that effect, completing it, without the turgidity or bland extra verses of the 2010 studio re-make.

As for Children Of Destiny: it sounds like yet another stab at the "Who's Gonna Stand Up?" blueprint. But until he finds a way to rediscover more of his songwriting talent then the results are going to be stuck in a low gear, regardless of how many musicians he takes along for the ride, or how worthwhile the message is.

Good songs are both delicate and powerful things. They dreamily whisper in our ear and seduce us (even as the performer is going crazy on-stage), or otherwise they dance provocatively in front us (ditto). That whispering and dancing is where the art is. The best songs often do both simultaneously.

Hithhiker does both. Don't Take Your Love Away From Me does both. So does Ambulance Blues and I'm The Ocean and Interstate and Change Your Mind and Eldorado and Hurricane and Cortez. Songs clearly written by a master.

Alternatively, hammering on the door with "a message" may well be a worthwhile thing to do. But the beauty of music is that it bypasses our rational mind, our conscious self, speaking to us more completely and vividly in a dream-like state. And so too much heavy-handedness and directness in the songwriting destroys the effect, because it wakes us up. And then we switch off. We stop listening. So it's a fine line to walk.

Magical lyrics, a good tune, a sympathetic arrangement and strong performance. That's all you need. But you do need those things.

Good to see he's still out there working on something, anyway. When you stop playing, you lose.


Scotsman.

 
At 7/02/2017 06:06:00 AM, Blogger ChasA said...

Well said Scotsman, I have held off posting and would be a little more blunt, this effort just doesn't leave you longing for more unfortunately. We all know what Neil is capable of, no questioning there. Peace Trail is a recent gem in my books, so fresh it was I just had to keep playing it over and over in my car - shows he still has that magic in him, but can't say that for any of this anthem though, seems like a leftover from LWW to me with a glossy video. Nevertheless, I still wait for his next album cause I keep believing it will be another gem, all for the new. Still hoping Hitchhiker will be out for santas xmas stocking and the next archives in new year. Gotta agree, when he stops playing and recording it will be a dull day for all.
ChasA

 
At 7/02/2017 07:07:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7/02/2017 07:09:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

The case rests.....in Neil's world perhaps money is taken granted of course it matters, I don't recall Neil parting with lots of $s well he had to give Pegi a pay off.

These lyrics sorry poetry need to read on their own

When money matters most--
and war is good for gain
the capitol is yours
the people feel the pain, they feel the pain
They walk the streets
While the bombs fall in the rain
the children hide--somewhere inside
While the bombs fall in the rain...

 
At 7/02/2017 08:35:00 AM, Blogger SONY said...

It's only rock and roll, but I like it, like it, yes I do.

 
At 7/02/2017 11:41:00 AM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

As a huge Neil Young fan and a huge Bob Dylan fan I have to concede that Ray Davies is better than both of them. Neil and Bob both have some really incredible stuff in the last 17 years but if you want to hear someone in their 70's who can still combine lyric and melody in a way that stands up to the classic songwriting of the 60's and 70's then I urge you to seek out Ray's brand new album Americana. Every song so good and so different from the song before it. A song like 'Poetry' that is so exciting lyrically and has such unique perspective In songwriting.

 
At 7/02/2017 05:09:00 PM, Blogger kahunasunset said...

I have a couple of questions. Who says Hitchhiker has been pulled from release?, who says Neil is releasing a new album?. I haven't seen a press release in regards to any of those questions.Hitchhiker is coming, the title song is streaming online now, it's ready for release.

By the way, that new song is horrible, believe me I very, very rarely (if ever) say that about a NY song. To go from Peace Trail to this garbage in a few months is alarming.

 
At 7/02/2017 07:01:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Interesting, I like both Peace Trail and Children of Destiny, but neither one of them will go down as essential Neil Young works or as representations of his immense talent.

Both are simple momentary snapshots with Neil writing, singing and playing, because that's what he does. Peace Trail largely got negative reviews in the media and here as well if my memory serves. Now, people here are treating it as a minor masterpiece in comparison to Children of Destiny.

I really don't understand why people think the new song is so terrible. I suppose it's in comparison to Neil's classic oeuvre, and that's unfair. To me, it's just a completely different entity, though it's a continuation of a style we've seen partially used on works like Living With War and Storytone.

Children of Destiny isn't a rock song, or a pop song, or an orchestral movement. It's a campfire, nursery rhyme protest sing-along song. It works for me extremely well in that context. It's not beneath Neil Young nor uncharacteristic of Neil Young, though David Geffen may argue...

Perhaps I'm over-thinking or under-thinking it, but there's nothing embarrassing about the song. Yes, it's simple both musically and lyrically, but I find my toes tapping and find myself thinking about my country and the future when I listen to it.

Mission accomplished Neil! And by the way, the video has been trending on You Tube with around 350K views (3,100 likes 1,200 dislikes).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RKBUG9VLFU

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

 
At 7/02/2017 07:05:00 PM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

Kahuna, We may be jumping to conclusions a bit re: Hitchhiker. To my knowledge, an Amazon preorder listing (with street date August 4, LP and CD) disappeared. Not definitive, by any means, but I think it's just that this seemed to roughly coincide with the sudden appearance of the new song. As with most things Archives, I suspect delay rather than absolute cancellation. New album? Reporting has consistently indicated Neil continues to record with POTR permutations and, I guess, this orchestra set up. When's the last time Neil out a single (which Children of Destiny essentially is), without an album following on at some point? Especially in recent years, it doesn't happen. Offhand, I can't think of that many non-album tracks from Neil. None of this is hard evidence, of course, but I think many of us Neil Nuts have a tendency to follow our noses in lieu of other information. Wait and see (hear) is probably the soundest advice for the present.

Also, there's this new movie we've heard about with Daryl Hannah. Children of Destiny, to me, sounds cinematic,like it *could* be one of those songs that runs through the closing credits of a movie, so maybe that's a missing connection.

 
At 7/02/2017 07:25:00 PM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

There we have it Neil's muse for the last few records DH - oh dear


Also, there's this new movie we've heard about with Daryl Hannah. Children of Destiny, to me, sounds cinematic,like it *could* be one of those songs that runs through the closing credits of a movie, so maybe that's a missing connection.

 
At 7/02/2017 07:41:00 PM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

Well, Andy, I'm not one to pretend or make some ritual of not saying a name. Of course she is part of the picture--probably a big part. Might as well be mature and state the truth.

 
At 7/02/2017 09:06:00 PM, Blogger John Mumaw said...

I completely agree with this review from Forbes:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidalm/2017/07/02/what-is-neil-young-trying-to-say-in-his-surreal-4th-of-july-anthem/#1244dbb963c9

 
At 7/03/2017 12:13:00 AM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

@ John: Thanks for the ink to the Forbes review. I too agree with it 100%. Here's some of the text:

Neil Young has dropped a new track to commemorate the 4th of July, and it's as confounding as it is catchy. Marching drum beats, swelling refrains, a melody so epic and simple you'll be humming in your head after one listen, whether you want to or not. Featuring a 56-piece orchestra and backed up by the band Promise of the Real, which includes Willie Nelson's sons Lukas and Michah, "Children of Destiny" was announced Friday by Young and Michah Nelson via Facebook Live.

Stand up for what you believe/Resist the powers that be/Preserve the land and save the sea/For the children of destiny, Young chants along with a chorus between verses that convey an incoherent message that feels, by turns, patriotic and defiant. Sort of.

The video is no less confusing. It's a barrage of jingoism and protest, a political statement devoid of any actual statement, aside from a vague theme of "America rocks."

Both the video and the song can be interpreted to support any number of political positions. On the one hand, Young implies that goodness is under siege by evil, but stops short of identifying which side of the political divide he's on. While he's clearly concerned about the environment, it's not clear whether he thinks that Trump and his administration are the good guys or the bad guys.

Consider the second chorus: Resist the powers that be/Preserve the ways of democracy/So the children can be free/The children of destiny.

Those against Trump will read this to mean that Trump is the power to resist, and that democracy is now under threat. Trumpists, meanwhile, will see the media as the power to resist, and democracy as something we lost under the "socialist Obama regime" and which Trump is fighting to restore -- that is, to "make America great again."

On top of all this, the America depicted in "Children of Destiny" harkens back to a 1980s political ad: small towns, parades, amber fields of grain and a lot of pretty, blond children. There is one black woman in the beginning of the video, marching behind a group of white people, and later a 3-second shot of a black family having a 4th of July picnic, their table adorned with American flags. There's also a little Asian girl at the end. Otherwise, the America being called to action here is mostly as white as vanilla ice cream. It's not hard to imagine the far right feeling as inspired by this video as the left, if not more so.

Young has said before that his songs are often a reaction to the immediate political climate and tone. He wrote "Ohio" shortly after four Kent State students were killed by police during a campus protest, in 1970. He wrote "Let's Roll" right after 9/11. And he wrote "Children of Destiny" during Trump's first 100 days, give or take.

In this sense, Young's latest song and its video are a perfect reflection of the times: at once muddled and emphatic, where the catchy tune and driving beat become blank screens for whatever politics you want to project onto them. You may find yourself humming along in agreement, but what, exactly, are you agreeing with?

 
At 7/03/2017 08:55:00 AM, Blogger kahunasunset said...

I have a couple of questions. Who says Hitchhiker has been pulled from release?, who says Neil is releasing a new album?. I haven't seen a press release in regards to any of those questions.Hitchhiker is coming, the title song is streaming online now, it's ready for release.

By the way, that new song is horrible, believe me I very, very rarely (if ever) say that about a NY song. To go from Peace Trail to this garbage in a few months is alarming.

 
At 7/03/2017 09:23:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Yes neil do you not know what is good music or bad music,feel the music you say! I dont feel good about that new tune do you? Really. I'm a ny fan

 
At 7/03/2017 10:38:00 AM, Blogger Lloyd Walton said...

The video resounds with the visual and aural bombast of Trump's America, interjected with messages from Al Gore's campaign. So what's not to like, America. ? He nailed it.

Meanwhile, from a little town in Ontario last night, an overwhelming night of music, poetry, passion, and rock and roll gave me the reassurance I needed that ALL is well. Bob Dylan offhandedly reminded us how far Art can be taken. My eyebrows went up when someone said his voice was "Clear as the sound of a midnight loon." It was indeed. Again, I didn't realize how much I needed to see and hear Bob Dylan and his band,.

 
At 7/03/2017 01:03:00 PM, Blogger medward said...

Hitchhiker isn't listed on Amazon anymore...

 
At 7/03/2017 07:30:00 PM, Blogger Buck Savage said...

So I've been reading for years here and finally thought I'd post my thoughts. I've been with Neil since Harvest. NOBODY has touched me like only Neil can. I have gone with him into the ditch more than a few times, as I'm sure we all have. I'll admit to a few head shakes when he was in the ditch, but that always made it all the sweeter when he hit the road that I love to travel on with him. However, albums like LWW and the latest Children of Destiny have become deal breakers for me. My life doesn't revolve around politics and all of the hate and negative emotions that comes with it. Neil is becoming so political and I often don't align with him. There are so many other emotions that he used to explore, but seems to have lost interest in. Peace Trail Protest? Which white multi millionaire's agenda is being promoted / protested this week? Two side of the same coin.I have found it a full time job to work on my own character flaws than to search out the faults of others.

If you enjoy the protest / political / save the planet stuff bully for you. I'd never criticize anyone who enjoys it. We are all different and I never am surprised when Neil takes a hard turn and losses me for a bit. That's who he is.

Neil lost a huge stabilizer when he and Pegi walked away from each other. So I get the absence of "love" songs and the negative themes of his latest work. He's taken up with a career protester, with all of her negative baggage. Neil has always gotten to make his choices, but this choice will have significant consequences, perhaps more than Neil bargained for I fear.

Lastly, these are just my thoughts, which doesn't make them right or wrong. I have no fear for the future with Neil. His body of work is so vast I won't live long enough to explore it all. For me, there are advantages of living in the past. I'm sure he will hit the highway again. When he does, I'll be there with a smile, like that from an old friend.

 
At 7/03/2017 08:18:00 PM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

Buck Savage,

I will note that Storytone had no shortage of "love songs", accompanied by one protest number, so in that regard, I'm not sure he's only up for topical music these days--though he does seem increasingly drawn in such a direction. I say this not just in light of Ms. Hannah, but because he's working with the Nelson Boys. There's a pretty strong pedigree for rock activism there.


I don't think Neil's interest in Mother Earth is purely political. He seems to feel a deep spiritual connection to the natural world and living things, and I feel that passion is behind much of his latest work. Nonetheless there have recently been, for me, two good albums--Peace Trail and Storytone--that don't lose sight of the human story, even amid elements of broad topical commentary. Monsanto Years has less playback value (for me) because I don't feel it balances those aspects quite as effectively. The live Earth album should also be highlighted as a worthwhile experiment to give some of those songs a refreshed artistic context.

So, yes, I see your point about Neil's political frenzy of late, but I do think there's more to it. Regarding whether one's own views fit comfortably with Neil's, I don't see that that's his problem as an artist. I could mention varying previous songs that may make indviduals of any political persuasion less than reassured.

 
At 7/05/2017 12:50:00 AM, Blogger Chafe said...

I like the song and the video, but I LOVE the fact that Neil is out there STILL banging on doors, if you will...goes back to "For What It's Worth" and "Ohio." This is Neil still expressing what's on his mind, and it isn't phony. BIG props for that, Neil !!! Keep on rockin' while there are still some freedoms in the "free" world, my man...YOU are a hurricane, Mr.Young !!!

 
At 7/10/2017 12:10:00 AM, Blogger ron kennedy said...

it must suck too have written so many fantastic songs that when you write one that really has alot of meaning to you and to many of your fans there are a zillion more gonna bitch cause it aint just exactly what they say your songs should sound like.Gotta drive neil crazy he has already been threw this with the record companies you would think his fans would have got it by now.Reminds me of a sign i saw in a office one time it said elliot do what you think dont listen to any one else.Neil or something like that it said i forget.

 

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