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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Statement by Neil Young + Orchestra Video Version of "Children of Destiny"



Here is another video release of Neil Young + Promise of the Real's new song "Children of Destiny" featuring the orchestra in studio.

The new video above comes quickly after the release last week of the music video "Children of Destiny" version of the new song.

The new song "Children of Destiny" and the accompanying video seems to have really hit a nerve -- as we noted yesterday on the 4th of July -- managing once again to both polarize his fan base and inflame critics.

One well put phrase on the song was: "Living with War meets Storytone." (Thanks Ian!)

We took the hit piece What Is Neil Young Trying To Say In His Surreal 4th Of July Anthem? | Forbes by Contributor David Alm to task for a number of items, including the misleading headline. The article nowhere explains why the song is "surreal". The headline asks a question to a totally obvious answer. Contributor Alm writes that the song has an "incoherent message" yet it again is totally clear what the message is to anyone who opens their ears and mind. In fact the "incoherent message" is so coherent that Alm immediately backtracks and calls it "patriotic and defiant". Then immediately hedges. And so forth in a smug, condescending pseudo-intellectual fashion.

We gave up on the Forbes article after a few paragraphs of the typical mainstream corporate takedown. Well done David Alm. Hope you get your contract renewed as a paid stenographer.

Anyways.

Here is Neil Young's statement to go with the new video version of "Children of Destiny".
Friends

Thanks so much for your response to Children of Destiny! This is a heartfelt message to people all around the world, our home. We hope this song resonates with you and gives you strength to know that you are not alone. Resist those who lash out against our positive message with violence, name calling and negativity. We are concerned for our Democracy, Environment and Freedom. Nothing will ever stop us from standing up. We gathered together on the full moon to record our song.

Here is a new video of that moment!

Love and Respect,
Celebrate Interdependence!
Neil
Thanks Neil.


Neil Young + Promise of the Real

Your words inspire us indeed. When we say we know the feeling, it is because of the support you gave us when we here at Thrasher's Wheat were feeling the same way regarding the relentless negativity of "The Doubters".

"The Doubters" -- who embrace of failure -- will never be the "Children of Destiny".

Likewise, we still see the vista. We hear the muse. We continue. We continue because we believe and have faith in that greater good.

And just as your encouragement long ago inspired us to soldier on, we won't quit or give up. We will
"Keep on bloggin'
`Til the power goes out
The batteries dead
Twist and shout"


Because, "We're The Ones We've Been Waiting For", as we like to remind ourselves.


Who's Going To Stand Up and Save The Earth?
Neil Young
2014-07-12, Hyde Park, London, England
Photo Paolo Brillo |Facebook

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39 Comments:

At 7/05/2017 07:05:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

What's Going On ?

 
At 7/05/2017 07:21:00 AM, Blogger medward said...

Thrasher, you guys really want us to love this song huh..this is what, the 5th piece on Children of Destiny? You know, being a cheerleader isn't always constructive.



There ain't nothing like a friend, who can tell you you're just pissing in the wind

 
At 7/05/2017 08:58:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

"Surreal"? "Incoherent message"?.... seriously?
Has our technology dumbed us down this far this fast?.

I find the lyrics to be simple, direct, and to the point which has been Neil's MO for the past decade. You
either get it or you don't, and you either like it or you don't, but it's where Neil is at right now, take it or leave it.

The United States of America gives everyone freedom of speech without retrobution, and that goes for the so
called "doubters". I hear where Neil is coming from and appreciate his intention, but wether or not it's a great NY
song is up to the individual listener.... How's that for surreal?

Frankly, the song is growing on me much like many of Neil's recent songs. First impressions can be misleading
based on bias preconceptions. As long as Neil keeps writing and recording I'm going to receive it with gratitude.

 
At 7/05/2017 09:58:00 AM, Blogger Art Carey said...

The only other time I remember "destiny" being used: "Manifest Destiny" -- the right/obligation to take away land from Native Americans...

 
At 7/05/2017 10:32:00 AM, Blogger Richie Walker said...

Only those who fear freedom and the right of individuals to voice an opinion need be anti-`Children Of Destiny`. Of course it`s simplistic, so what? These are dangerous times for freedom. When an idiot sits in the most powerful chair in the Western World we need to question how is this so? Election fix or democratic decision - remember Hitler won a common vote. I think I`ve said enough.

 
At 7/05/2017 10:34:00 AM, Blogger Julie said...

Is this a good song in terms of composition and execution? No. Would anyone pay any attention to it if Neil Young had not been involved? No. Does Neil's involvement make it a good song or worth our paying attention to it? No. Not unless you are unable or unwilling to be objective about the song.

The quality of Neil's output has sadly been deteriorating year by year: Fork in the Road; A Letter Home; Storytone, all three (?) versions) and now this. Psychedelic Pill was the last quality delivery from Neil - Ramada Inn foreshadowing the split from Pegi - hitherto his muse ( Harvest Moon, Unknown Legend etc)

As far as I am concerned the downward trend can be pinpointed to his involvement with POTR and the lack of involvement with Crazy Horse; his split from Pegi and his involvement with DH

It's time for a big one from Neil again, but we do him no favours by slavishly adoring everything he does and losing objectivity.

 
At 7/05/2017 11:00:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

Once again, thanks to all for contributing here.

@ Julie - all good points and no real disagreemnt.

Here's where we think there may be some disconnects on this new song.

No where has any one here on TW (or elseweher) called this work to be excellent. Nor is anyone really adoring or loving this ong that we can see. Just being supportive of the effort. And Neil has earned that right with his career. Of course, you don't have to listen or buy it. (And we hope for stronger material down the road too. Clearly, his career has been built on cycles of highs & lows, almost like the seasons of the years - summer-> winter, etc..)

What we see here is the classic no middle ground. There is the bashing camp definitely that is really being way, way overly harsh.

You ask, "Would anyone pay any attention to it if Neil Young had not been involved?" No. That's exactly the point. B/c Neil is held to a vastly higher standard than just about anyone these days in the music business, he's getting broadsided by putting out a nice "holiday" song/ video.

Again, we thought the timing was exquisite. Did this get folks talking? Yep. By many criteria, that makes it successful in today's twisted little world.

So no adoration here for song composition and execution. But adoration for Neil's relentless pursuit of speaking truth to power in these very dangerous time we live in.

Who has this courage today?

Look at the crucifixion Jim Carrey is undergoing over his speaking truth to power. Actually, joking truth to power.

That is what happens when you speak against "The Powers That Be".

Someone above mentioned Hitler. Roll your eyes all you want but the parallel to WW2 are everywhere.

This surveillance state is way beyond Hitler's Stasi and folks just keep loading stuff on Facebook like there's nothing to worry about.

As long as Neil keeps singing truth to power, we'll keep listening. Is that adoring? We don't think so.

Lastly, we mentioned in the post our encounter with "The Powers That Be" back in 2010. It is terrifying stuff and requires immense amounts of strength and support to survive the onslaught once unleashed.

This blog you're reading is a testament of standing together against "The Powers That Be".

For us, we're thankful that Neil stood up for right to publish inconvenient truths.

So we do feel an obligation to support his right to speak his truths.

carry on...

 
At 7/05/2017 12:03:00 PM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

Thrasher, you raise the great point about "cycles of highs and lows". It's very true that creative individuals have to get through the mediocre to get to the magical. Part of the battle is to keep creating, keep building. So I'm even glad that Neil made my least-favourite album (Le Noise), because although I feel the album features some of his most substandard songs ever, it was still an interesting experiment and was another rung up the ladder. Another step closer to the next masterwork.

All that only matters though, if when the opportunity to create the masterwork presents itself, you grab it with both hands. Neil has had the frustrating tendency in recent years to bang albums out in great quantity without much care for their quality. I don't feel he's made the best of many of them, complacent to settle for "okay". I'm not sure if this is deliberate or whether he thinks the recent works have been much higher quality than my assessment of (some of) them. Judging by his comments in Waging Heavy Peace, I'm guessing he knows his standards have slipped a little, he cares about that but doesn't know what to do about it; unwilling or unable to adapt or renew his songwriting methods.

I also agree in part with Julie; I think POTR are a good band in their own right, but I'll stick to my guns and say that they aren't a particularly good band for Neil. Outside of a few flashes of "real promise" on tour last year, I certainly haven't heard any recordings (live or in the studio, bootleg or official) that back up the idea that they are his "best" band. It's just not a particularly good partnership, in my opinion, the different guitar sounds mix with the disagreement of water and oil. Individually, though, they come into their own.

It's also true that Crazy Horse often tend to inspire Neil into going that extra distance to make his best work. No coincidence that Neil's best-received album of the last few years (Psychedelic Pill) was made with them; and all because Poncho voiced his reservations about Americana to Neil and said "these cover songs aren't really us, haven't you got any new songs of your own?". Without that comment, Psychedelic Pill would never have been made.

I can't imagine POTR having the heart to push Neil in that way, to politely or impolitely say "this isn't good enough, you have to go further". You just have to watch the latest video to see how in awe they are. Even the orchestra seems in awe. The Nelson boys look at the lyric sheets to "Children Of Destiny" with the adulation of historians examining the Dead Sea Scrolls (and I'm sure they'd cheerfully agree with that assessment). Compare that to the exciting edginess and grittiness between the members of Crazy Horse.

Who's opinion do we ask? Well, Poncho has been Neil's primary guitarist for over 40 years. He played on most of the masterworks, including Hurricane, Cortez, Powderfinger, Into The Black, Eldorado, Free World, Sleeps With Angels. So he knows how it all works, how masterpieces get made. So here he is in 2014, recalling the Horse's Glory Years:

“We had to rock and you had to deliver. You can’t play around. (David Briggs) would go up to Neil, get right in Neil’s face and say, ‘It seems to me like you’re just noodling around. Don’t you have anything to say when you solo? People don’t come to listen to you just to hear you noodle around.’ Nobody talks to Neil like that any more. I don’t know who he would listen to these days. I don’t know who could step in and do that".


Scotsman.

 
At 7/05/2017 12:20:00 PM, Blogger downbutnotout said...

Give me a break!
Just listen or don't listen, like it or not,Neil will record put out or on various occasions not put out.
Oh yeah my opinion,I nearly forgot, good immediate and to the point.Neil probably wrote it yesterday and recorded it today.
Who cares,good lyrics and in our troubled times-appropriate.What are these long sprawling rants.Enjoy.

 
At 7/05/2017 12:22:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

Thanks Scotsman & fair points, as well.

We try and never use sports analogies with music because it rarely makes sense.

But let's walk through this thought experiment.

Take your favorite sports athlete, oh say, some baseball pitcher.

After a few years their arms wear out and they can't throw as fast or accurate. So what do fans say? Hey, practice more? Get off the mound and retire? Take some more steroids so you play a few years? Well we're not really sure since we don't follow sports too closely, but we have a hunch it's a little bit of all of the above.

Someone mentioned Neil should lock himself away for a few months and focus on writing new songs. And Neil might say, why should I sequester my self? I have a new grandchild. A have a new girl friend. I have a fun band that I can hang out with. I'm making a film. I'm writing a book. I'm working on Archives.

Many who have worked w/ Neil for decades say he never stops working. And we he gets focused he'll work 22 hours a day, day after day, until finished with the project. And then he moves to the next thing.

You know, the dude's not a slacker.

There are many, many folks who produce much less and lower quality who get free passes everyday. Again, our standards for Neil are somewhat stratospheric and it's very unrealistic to expect everything to be at least a minor masterpiece.

So thanks for noting the cycles. We actually charted this out once on TW @
Peak Neil?
http://neilyoungnews.thrasherswheat.org/2006/02/peak-neil.html

Take a look at that from 2006. You see Neil's career reach a peak, fall, and re-peak. Over & over. Again & again.

Whatever you call it, it works. The pause that refreshes.

So do you support the team & pitcher when they slump? Or are you there in thick & thin.

For many, hanging w/ Neil for the ups & downs is all part of the magic ride.

enjoy the view!



 
At 7/05/2017 02:30:00 PM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

Thrasher, I basically agree with you. My point really is that, yes, Neil works hard; he's always got something on the go. However, the weak link in the chain nowadays is so often the songwriting, because it is what he gives the least time and attention. Falsely believing that "quick and easy" is always going to be the superior approach (when in truth, it only sometimes is). So as and when the lighting of inspiration strikes, I wish he'd put as much effort into the songwriting as he does the recording.

We know from his first book that Neil is scared of dementia; and as he approaches old age, one of the best ways to reduce the risk of this is to use his brainpower MORE, not less. There's not a neurologist on the planet who would disagree with me. So turn off the autocue, throw away the lyric sheet and remember the lyrics, even if this approach results in the occasional forgetful moment, Dylan-style. The brain is like a muscle that needs to used, or it will shrink.

And off all his many talents, it is the songwriting "muscle" that has been most under-used in recent years. Few would argue that his recent lyrical efforts have come close to the sharp brilliance of his seventies or nineties work. And occasionally great songs still come to him easily, and that is perfect. But when they don't come easy, I think the best thing to do is dig in, push that bit harder, rather than settling for the easy route of mediocre. The songwriting is the foundation that the rest of the project is built upon, after all, so it makes sense to do a good job of it, which will then make the rest of the work go that bit easier, as well.

As I mentioned on the other thread, it's up to Neil whether it is worth putting in that time and effort or not; he's already written more than his fair share. But from my point of view, another few certainly would be most welcome.

downbutnotout: Keep trying hard at school and maybe you can graduate to the occasional "long sprawling rant", as well!

Scotsman.

 
At 7/05/2017 05:40:00 PM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

How many people does it take to make a crap song? see above video. There's much going on in Neil's life and we're not privvy to it and nor should we. Listen or don't listen fair enough - but we have opinions and we can't let this nonsense through without standing up and saying it's not good enough. Great that some fans love it for many of us it's disposable lightweight and meaningless.

 
At 7/05/2017 08:21:00 PM, Blogger John EH Connelly said...

Hey there Thrasher , my name is John Connelly ..... who are you ?

Real interesting stuff here lad !

On one hand you share words " The doubters who embrace of failure will never be the Children of Destiny "

Really , is that so ?

On your other hand , you speak of an obligation to support his right ? to speak his truth ?

That there paradox has the stinky stench of cult bullshit that I will call you on every shiny day of the week ....... Eh !

One thing to make a point , a shameful thing to attempt shaming those that may disagree .

I told of a Bob Dylan experience last week , here in Ottawa .

I aint no intellect , don't analyze every lyric .... having lived a full life , I go to concerts and listen to music , that gets me in a groove .... where my toe is tapping all night long .
My ear is still open to those that share a message , but don't preach .

Bob Dylan did that .
Gord Downie is doing that with his strong message .... The Secret Path .

Neil Young has not made my toe tap fer along time , can't explain it in intellectual terms .... just something plain and simple that tells me what is good music ... or not !

If that makes me a " Doubter " ..... Too bad for you Thrasher , for not knowing better .
It's a wondrous world .... Eh !

 
At 7/05/2017 11:00:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

I get what he's going for and all, and it's fine as a kinda timely, immediate piece. And I suppose people these days, some lesser-aware Neil fans included, do kind of need a more direct message like this.

But I do hope he does throws a little more mystique on the next album, because I do empathize with the sense of boredom towards it, and I have to say I don't really dig the orchestra stuff so much because I'm just not into that old time...patriotic music shit to begin with, so it doesn't do anything for me when that style is referenced...that said it did work around the LWW project because it was all just more refined and focused and stylized.

I'm not especially worried about it because there's always something new and unexpected with Neil every couple months. But yeah, for real, I feel it would have been a lot cooler if he gave us something abstractly "funkier", maybe along the lines of Around the World.

I mean my favorite era of Neil as a personality is definitely the 80s. Trans, Rusted Out Garage, Everybody's Rockin...I feel like he's at his best when he's going full-blown with a concept and a "fuck you" drive. I saw My New Robot, and Texas Rangers for example, as a step in the right direction, and Earth totally stands up there with the classic live Neil sets, Overall the POTR era is pretty sweet I think though and there's not really anything to complain about, so you all should probably just kind of take this as a one-off and look at it in the immediate context and chill out.

 
At 7/05/2017 11:30:00 PM, Blogger TOM said...

Too many fucking words...words...
between the lines of age...

 
At 7/06/2017 01:18:00 AM, Blogger shakeydave said...

it's a great song and well said, thrasher...neil speaks truth to power, always has and always will...god bless america

 
At 7/06/2017 04:24:00 AM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

Alex: I'm not sure people really do need a direct message. "Direct and simple" might make a big splash for a few minutes when it is new and shiny, but it's the beautiful spooky artwork that gets beneath our skin and really changes us in the long run. The best way to make a difference to people's attitudes is to make better art, to write more thoughtfully or with more feeling or more depth; not to shout louder or unnecessarily simplify the message.

Neil's most inspiring environmentally-themed record (Greendale) is also one of his most substantial, and that's not a coincidence. And again, he rose to the occassion with Crazy Horse.

Neil is an extremely able songwriter. He cares a lot about the subject matter. The new song is alright, but surely he can come up with something a little more substantial, something to really get beneath our skin? Anyone can make a nice sounding tune when they've got a professionally-trained orchestra waiting on their every move, in the same way that any celebrity socialite can put together a nice-smelling perfume with a team of experts. But the greatness of a song is based on a foundation a little deeper than that, something that can't be bought or manufactured after the fact.

Some people will tell me he is too old. I'd point out that Leonard Cohen rose to the occassion and wrote some of his most powerful music in his eighties, from his death bed. Now, I'm not particularly a Cohen fan, but he's proof that being old is not an impediment to creating great things.

Re: POTR, I like Earth very much as well, although due in no small part to Neil's creative overdubbing. Neil said the performances on Earth were the best of 2015, and based on what I've heard I tend to agree. Vampire Blues, Hippie Dream and Wolf Moon (probably POTR's best contribution, and unsurprisingly one of their most subtle) in particular are very memorable and POTR rise to the occasion. They sound so much better on the songs where their playing is toned down and relaxed a bit. Peace Trail is a likeable enough low-key record, with some really great parts (let down again by intermittently-bland songwriting), and I feel it benefitted from the band change. The funky, stripped-back intensity of the trio was a welcome change.

John: I see Bob Dylan every time he plays locally. He's still got it. When you've written hundreds of songs, I suspect the inspiration to create fades a bit, and great artists have to fight back against that. I really like some of his Sinatra "covers", but I'd say his greatest talents are his own unique brand of songwriting and idiosyncratic performances.

TOM: If you don't like "words" then perhaps a blog is the wrong place to be. I can recommend some good picture books if you like. Let me know the age group.

Scotsman.


 
At 7/06/2017 07:16:00 AM, Blogger SONY said...

'Cause it seems things today
There ain't no magic in 'em
They don't cut the grade
Like they used to.

Depression Blues ~ Neil Young


 
At 7/06/2017 10:49:00 AM, Blogger Dan1 said...

Thrasher,
Your response to Julie was really well said and 100% expressed my sentiments.

Scots,
Always appreciate your insights. I perhaps disagree slightly on one point - your premise seems to be that Neil is sort of slacking in his song writing and he could with more motivation or effort improve it. My thinking is that either his process was always that it kind of flowed through him, like the story of writing Mr. Soul on a napkin in 5 minutes, or Hurricane/Cowgirl/Cinnamon Girl in day when sick in bed, and hence his process isn't a Dylanesque process of reworking something 1,000x .... and/or his process on the recent stuff is driven by the need to express the sentiment he's feeling immediatley, 'i.e.' Ohio, and hence he deliberately prioritizes immediacy over development and quality ... this would foot closer to your premise that he's deliberately underworking it ... seems to me that either way its less about him not putting in the effort and more about this is the quality that's coming out ... not as easy as pressing a button, flipping a switch or locking himself into a room for 2 months, if that were his process my guess is he'd do it if it could produce epic content ... whether its age, band, producer or lack of one (briggs), lack of the muse (Pegi), ect ... I think Neil is basically following the relatively same process ... the one other change might be that he's placing his message and his activism above the music and thinks hitting people over the head with more direct lyrics will spread his message ... in all of those cases I'm sure he'd rather that an Ohio flowed out instead of something more mediocre but Ohio was produced in a day or so, seems like perhaps as simple as the golden goose gets older it gets harder to lay the golden eggs ... all that said, something is better than nothing and as you and others wisely said, the eggs that aren't golden are usually a stepping stone to ones that are ... at Neil's age I'm grateful that he's vital and vibrant, impressed that as Thrasher said he's using his celebrity to speak truth to power, and waiting vigorously for him to hit the road hopefully w CH.

 
At 7/06/2017 12:33:00 PM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

Dan1: I think you are spot on. Neil is definitely an artist beholden to inspiration, to The Muse, and without it he is unable to create. I think what differs now (compared to his "classic" years) is not this very natural reliance on inspiration, but in how he responds to it when it arrives.

There's this modern idea of Neil's that the very first idea is always the best one, the one worth pursuing, whereas I tend to think the best ideas often require a bit more digging, a bit more persistence and determination. There's the sense with a lot of his recent work of a great song lurking round the corner, almost discovered but ultimately unwritten, because he it called it a day in the writing too soon. Even (or especially) the all-time classics such as Hurricane and Powderfinger took some time to write and record properly beyond their first drafts and first takes in the studio, despite Neil's slightly-economic-with-the-truth telling of the story in Waging Heavy Peace.

There's also a quote by the playwright Somerset Maugham which seems apt here: "I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock, sharp".

I think Maugham is saying that inspiration tends to produce the goods when the artist leans into it a bit more, shows he is worthy and willing to work hard for it, rather than expecting inspiration to do it all and lead the way. Doors magically start opening; inspiration is summoned, rather than waited on.

The classic relevant example of this is Neil writing the songs for "Sleeps With Angels" in the studio. By 1994 inspiration had started to become harder to come by. Those songs didn't come easy to him, inspiration didn't turn up uninvited, but Neil went ahead and wrote anyway, and it's lucky for us he did, because he created one of his most magical albums. The Neil of 1994 (with Briggs by his side) cared about greatness, and he was going to get there, whether it came easy or was like pulling teeth!


Scotsman.

 
At 7/06/2017 02:25:00 PM, Blogger dickie said...

Perfectly said, Scotsman! Totally agree. The muse is "a gift", but you have tlo unwrap it.

 
At 7/06/2017 02:33:00 PM, Blogger dickie said...

As an afterthought, why so much hermeneutics about a really bad song? Yeah, we all love Neil, but preachy Neil has just about reached his limits, imho. Time to forget about the planet, Neil, and once again bring a smile to our eyes.

 
At 7/06/2017 03:36:00 PM, Blogger Michael Briefcase said...

It just doesn't float my boat. I don't think I'll listen to it again. But then again I didn't think I would listen to All Things Must Pass again, the first time I heard it.

I think it's ok to say you don't like something. What does it make me a doubter of?

I know what I am doubting, the current songwriting standards of someone I hold in high regard.

 
At 7/06/2017 05:01:00 PM, Blogger Paul Salden said...

Hi,

This is a really good song. Neil is not a novelty act recycling the same songs over and over and playing at the "Casino Do Over" for sixty straight nights. 2017 is my 40th anniversary of seeing Neil live. Some of the finest moments of my life were seeing him solo or with whomever he was playing with all over your great country and mine (Canada) and thinks it's amazing he still so relevant in song and cause. Keep on Rockin in this still Free World.

Paul
FarmAidian

 
At 7/06/2017 08:29:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

For its intended purposes, the song is good and has already met its goal. It has gotten a segment of the population talking and thinking about the current administration, the environment (both literally and figuratively) and the hopes for the future.

The You Tube video has now hit 800,000 views, with roughly 5,300 likes and 2,400 dislikes...

Earlier I called the song a nursery rhyme, campfire protest sing-along song (or something like that), and I still feel that way. In isolation, it's a one off immediate response from Neil sharing his thoughts and fears with us openly and honestly. These days, he largely uses a hammer instead of a feather to get his message to us, but both are useful tools in vastly different ways...

Neil is vulnerable yet confident--it's there if you want to feel it, see it and hear it. There's no need (or use) to compare it to anything else, either from Neil's earlier works or those of anyone else. Without preconceived expectations and comparisons, the song stands on its own quite well. If you heard the song in the supermarket or at the doctor's office and had never heard of Neil Young, you'd likely find yourself humming the tune pleasantly.

The song may grow in stature over time if it's a part of some larger work, or it may fade away lost over time, or most likely, it will ultimately fit in nicely as yet another piece in granite laid, as Neil continues building on and cementing his intentional legacy of twists and turns, highs and lows. Clearly there's a huge variance of public opinion over this one, from embarrassing, to horrendous, to terrible, to weak, to decent, to nice enough, to catchy, to relevant, to powerful and emotional, and so on.

But I virtually guarantee you that as the years pass, and that moment comes when you find yourself re-visiting Neil's works from top to bottom, and Children of Destiny is playing, you'll think of and hear it more fondly. Be it the message, or the melody or the earnestness, you'll get more from it after the twilight has turned to night...

Again, mission accomplished Neil!

"Stand up for what you believe
resist the powers that be--
preserve the land and save the seas
for the children of destiny--
the children of you and me"

 
At 7/06/2017 09:27:00 PM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

@Scotsman and Tom,

Scotsman's reply to Tom's "too many words" strikes me as a little harsh. A good, conscientious writer will tell you there can be such a problem as "too many words", in a particular place at a particular time. In fact, I guarantee you that some of my posts here should suffer from it (with hindsight, that is).

Moreover there has been a high volume of info and ideas pouring out of here lately, and I relate to how it sometimes seems impossible to keep up with the relentless stream of input--much of which is delivered in the form of words--in this age of 24-hour, global, digital news and media guzzling. It's like walking toward a storm. Sometimes we need a little relief, and I'll admit I chuckled for a moment at Tom's comment.

That aside, you and Topanga have been raising some excellent points and expressing them eloquently. It's a pleasure and privilige to be part of this little community. That doesn't mean we're immune from beating things to death and it doesn't mean we can't laugh at ourselves.

 
At 7/07/2017 01:10:00 AM, Blogger TOM said...

Scotsman

Piss off

 
At 7/07/2017 02:55:00 AM, Blogger Richie Walker said...

TopangaDaze seems to have put it eloquently, flyingscotzman as articulate as ever. Me myself? I put it simply and this is it;

How can anyone take offence at these lyrics?

I can only presume that those offended are those who fell for that feckin` clowns speil and voted the twittering clown into office. They should be ashamed of their actions and if they continue to resist the winds of change i.e. the environment, consumerism, health care for all etc. This `man` will lead you to oblivion, he`s done enough to be impeached. Bloody hell, Democrats and get your act together! Simplistic yes, hard to swallow yes. Get over it.

Now Neil`s little ditty that has caused the ruckus. This is what Neil excels at and boy oh boy isn`t he laughing at the unease he has caused. Year off? Hur hur hur, it`s fecking wonderful to picture the consternation he would have caused if he`d worked at it.

 
At 7/07/2017 03:51:00 AM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

Topanga: Meanwhile, a video called "Fat People Funny Fails" on youtube has 5 million views. Another, entitled "Stupid people doing stupid things", has 14 million views. So it is a completely meaningless statistic, what matters is impact, not how much fleeting attention something gets when it is new and shiny.

Your comments on Children Of Destiny remind me a little of the press reviews of Bob Dylan's overhyped album Tempest; in other words, far more interesting to read than the song is to listen to.

Richie: I agree, I'm not particularly impresed by the song but it's not in slightest bit offensive, a bit bland if anything. Then again, I'm not American, so perhaps my perspective is a little removed from the situation.

Scotsman.

 
At 7/07/2017 04:17:00 AM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

Ian: I'd say that the job of "a good, conscientious writer" (as you put it) is to only publish if it's genuinely worth reading. Regardless of length. People can make up their own minds whether it is worth reading or not, I'm fully aware my comments are not everyone's cup of tea, but I do my best to make them worthy of people's time.

And I admire your concern for TOM, but he seems quite capable of responding to my sarcasm on his own.

Dickie: thanks!

Scotsman.




 
At 7/07/2017 08:29:00 AM, Blogger TOM said...

Less is more

In writing, communication, art, life,
knowing what to leave out is the key.

 
At 7/07/2017 12:21:00 PM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

TOM: I do agree with you, and atthe same time, I greatly enjoy a 15-minute burn out on Like A Hurricane or even the occasional 28-minute No Hidden Path. I'd prefer both of those to a 4-minute Hit The Road or Sign Of Love, no question.

I guess the trick is to leave out the mediocre bits, whether long or short. I try and express myself succinctly and as clearly as possible, but some points sometimes require more detailed explanations. I don't think my posts are padded out in any way, not intentionally so.

I don't expect everyone to read my comments all of the time, they are there for those who have the time to hand and the inclination, of which I know there are at least a few, based on the feedback I have received. The aim is to show respect for the reader/listener/viewer, to create something that is worthy of their time, long or short. If I write a long comment it's because I feel I have something worthwhile to contribute, not just to fill up space.

All the best,

Scotsman.

 
At 7/07/2017 12:51:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Generally speaking, in person I'm fairly glib and tend to see both sides to most everything. Regarding brevity vs. detail here on this site, I tend to prefer detail. After all, personally I'd find this site incredibly boring if all of the posts were one or two sentences (or even paragraphs) skimming the surface and riding the wave between snark and idol worship.

As in the "real world" there's nuance to everything, including Neil's music. Writing about music and how it makes us feel is vastly different than listening to music. Listening yields an immediate gut level response, but on this site we are writing about musical quality and how the music makes us feel, so yes, it's easy to over analyze and we can quickly get lost in tedious comparisons and thoughts. Ultimately, it really does simply come down to whether we like it or not, but that wouldn't make for a good blog, would it?

But, if I had to describe Children of Destiny in one word, that one word would be: PLEASANT

In reality, I could write an essay on what that word actually means to me and how it relates to my feelings for the song, but I'll save that for another day!

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

 
At 7/07/2017 02:53:00 PM, Blogger CK Junior said...

I would like to again remind people that this song absolutely stinks.

Say what you want about it, but in 2 weeks, it will be off the radar screen and forgotten, except for those who remember it being especially bad.

Neil used to make music that had staying power and poignancy. I don't think he ever will again, and this makes me sad.

 
At 7/07/2017 05:37:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

@ Junior: I agree and disagree.

I agree that the song will largely be forgotten in fairly short order, but I don't agree that the song stinks. It's not vintage Neil, but it doesn't stink and he's released a lot of songs over the years that are worse.

One such song that immediately comes to mind from his "peak" period is "There's a World" from Harvest--it's complete dreck! If Neil released that song today just as he did with Children of Destiny, would the opinions here be any different? The answer is NO!

So, we'll agree, we'll disagree, we'll pontificate and ruminate, and dismissingly denigrate, and that's the beauty of music and more specifically, the beauty of being a Neil Young fan. There's usually something for most of us to love or hate, but it makes for interesting discussion...

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

 
At 7/08/2017 02:53:00 PM, Blogger David said...

Hi all,

I'm the writer of the Forbes piece, and I really hope I'm not opening myself up to any direct hostility by posting here. I just wanted to say that I've enjoyed reading these exchanges, and appreciate the thought many of the posters have put into their comments.

I also wanted to say, for what it's worth, that I'm actually a very big Neil Young fan and have been for 30 years. I first started listening to him around the "Rocking in the Free World" era and he was my number one throughout college. Decade was my soundtrack on my first solo cross-country road trip when I was 20, in 1995, and Sugar Mountain was an especially important song to me that summer. Same with Powderfinger, when I turned 22, and Old Man when I turned 24. (Those of you who know his lyrics will know why I specify these songs.) My list of favorites goes on and on.

I only offer this because I wanted to assure those who felt offended by my reading of Children of Destiny that I hold Neil Young in very high esteem, and have a lot of deep personal connections with his music. At the same time, I'm extremely concerned about the current political climate, and I think what we need is strong statements of protest, not statements that could easily be appropriated by the far right to condone a white nationalist or jingoistic message.

Unfortunately, I see Children of Destiny being such a "statement," regardless of Young's disavowal of Trump (the video/song will be interpreted on its own merits, not in conjunction with other statements Young has made in the press). The American flag waving in front of the white house, all the white children waving flags at July 4th celebrations, etc. It wouldn't be hard for a Trump supporter to get as amped up about this song as anyone on the left. This is what I meant when I wrote that the song is "by turns, patriotic and defiant, which was quoted by the original poster as an indication that I was "hedging." But the "by turns" is important: it means that the video flops between the two. On the one hand, it can seem extremely patriotic, in the USA! USA! USA! vein, while also seeming to protest the current state of affairs. I find this ambiguity dangerous.

As for the title of the piece, the word "surreal" refers to the juxtaposition of patriotic imagery, protest marches, foreign countries, and Young himself singing behind glass streaming with rain. It's just odd, bizarre, sort of nonsensical (to me).

Again, I hope I'm not opening myself up to any attacks, but I don't really get the sense that folks on here are the type to attack (thanks for that!) Just wanted to offer my two cents, and again, to assure anyone who's interested that I'm as big a fan of Neil Young as many of you. But he's not a deity, and I still think it's important to think critically about everything, no matter how much you may like the person who produced a given song, or whatever.

Thanks for reading.

 
At 7/08/2017 04:44:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

Hello David.

We truly appreciate your dropping by here to comment. It's good to know you're a long time Neil fan as well, so need to feel you may be opening yourself up to any hostility.

That said, we do realize that we were a wee bit harsh on your review.

Thank you for the clarification on the "surrealism" and the protest message.

No disagreement about concerns the message could easily be mis-appropriated. But really now? We only say that because we've have been though all of that in depth with Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" and Neil Young's "Southern Man" and "Alabama".

See http://thrasherswheat.org/jammin/lynyrd.htm

The risk is worth it because in the end the blowback comes full circle.

Or take Neil's recent song "Neighborhood" on Peace Trail. You know, "The Drone Song", about terrorist suicide Hang gliders? “Neighbors with funny names”, “hidden in the dark” that could “end your life tomorrow”.

Look at how that blowback comes full circle?

As Micah Nelson responded: "The song is calling out the hypocrisy of the prejudice people here in our country, mainly Trump supporters who can't tell the difference between an innocent Muslim man and a terrorist. The song is a critique of shallow, narrow-minded viewpoints that sadly pervade our culture."

See http://neilyoungnews.thrasherswheat.org/2016/10/micah-nelson-responds-to-neil-youngs.html

Again, thank you for your reply here David. These are important discussions to have where we can freely express ourselves without fear of the thought police.

David, keep on rockin' in the free world while Neil sings truth to power.

peace

 
At 7/09/2017 12:59:00 AM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

@ David: Thanks for posting your thoughts here and for your original review. I'm one of those who enjoyed both the song and your review, and I feel that both of those positions are consistent.

I interpreted your review as a generally positive piece, but one tinged with a healthy dose of reality and skepticism. Personally, I feel the "ambiguity" in the song and video is representative of many of Neil's most popular songs. Quite often his best work has been more about questions than answers, and if he does happen to have a specific viewpoint, it's usually shrouded in a few layers of obscure lyrics that lead us all to hear different things. Does anyone really know what a cowgirl in the sand is, or for that matter, a cinnamon girl? I certainly don't, but I know I have my own definitive mental image of both of them, and they always take me to special places.

Again though, thanks for posting here and I hope you'll become a regular poster. I welcome disparate views and enjoy reading critical dissent, as long as it's sincere, and ideally, well written. Your writing certainly meets my criteria and expands upon it.

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

 
At 7/09/2017 09:36:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

Thanks TopangaD. Well stated.

And a bit more here on the Forbes SLASH TW kerfuffle...

Forbes Magazine Responds To Thrasher's Wheat: Review of "Children of Destiny" by Neil Young
http://neilyoungnews.thrasherswheat.org/2017/07/forbes-magazine-responds-to-thrashers.html

 

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