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Friday, November 17, 2017

Comment of the Moment: Neil Young As The Definition of HUMANITY

The recent news that Neil Young is auctioning off his model train collection has brought back many memories.

In response, we posted a video from the mid-1990's of Neil Young filmed at his California ranch and around his train layout with his family, Pegi, Ben and Amber.

This brought us our latest Comment of the Moment by TopangaDaze:
This video gets me every time on multiple levels.

It's the definition of HUMANITY, whether you're a rock star, the wife of one, a daughter or someone a little different, we all have things to share and enjoy, and we all have problems, some that are hidden and others that are on display..

For some reason this video always leads me to "Already One":

"What can I do, what can I say?
Running down
this suspicious highway
I can't forget
how love let me down
And when we meet
it still gets in my way.

But we're already one
Already one
Now only time can come between us
'Cause we're already one
Our little son won't let us forget.
Your laughing eyes,
your crazy smile
Every time I look in his face
I can't believe
how love lasts a while
And looks like
"forever" in the first place.

But we're already one
Already one
Now only time can come between us
'Cause we're already one
Our little son won't let us forget.

In my new life I'm travelin' light
Eyes wide open for the next move
I can't go wrong 'til I get right
But I'm not fallin' back in the same groove.

But we're already one
Already one
Now only time can come between us
'Cause we're already one
Our little son won't let us forget"

This song struck me deeply when I first heard it in '78 and it has only grown over time for me in significance and emotional impact. Beautiful, sad, optimistic, vulnerable, wistful, determined, HONEST and HUMAN. At least to me, and in many ways this song has always best represented what Neil's life and music has always been about, through the highs and lows, the public and the private person and persona. The simple joys of love and family, and the temporary and permanent scars they can leave us with, but still we must move forward looking for that next move...

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"
Thanks much Topanga D.! We're taking your advice here and posting "Already One". There came a time.

And once more -- Neil Young As The Definition of HUMANITY below:

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At 11/17/2017 11:02:00 AM, Blogger joe mama said...

neil is the definition of a human. he's just another dude. look, I dig neil's music as much as anyone here, but I don't see why this blog has to continually elevate neil young to some sort of godly status.

At 11/17/2017 11:27:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks joe.

Curious? Maybe we're missing something here but where exactly do you see "continually elevate neil young to some sort of godly status"?

Seriously. The post above clearly states definition of humanity. The word or illusions to god-like are nowhere. Also, please note these are not our words (although we agre3e), but those of a fellow Neil fan such as yourself.

Look in the mirror.

Humanity. Try it sometime.


At 11/17/2017 11:33:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

ps - you may wish to check today's Los Angeles Time:

"Whereforeart thou, rock gods?"

If you post a comment to LA Times about their conflating ordinary people to gods, please cross post here to TW. We'd love to hear your analysis and rebuttal to author David Hepworth's “Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars.”

We're sure to be fascinated.

it's all one song

At 11/17/2017 12:27:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Hey Joe, I basically get your point, but this is after all a Neil Young fan site. At times we praise Neil blindly looking for and seeing something that may not be there because we are diehard fans. We have been emotionally invested over the years, and yes, we can go overboard.

But, what I was trying to convey in my post was actually mostly in line with the thoughts you mentioned above. I've always identified with Neil and his music because he's never pretended to be a god or a musical god or whatever. His music has always struck that delicate balance between the dreamlike and the mundane; fame and its upside and downside and its absurdity; the struggle to get away while also being rooted; needing a crowd of people but not being able to face them day to day...

Again, HUMANITY. The struggles we all face regardless of our bank accounts or opportunities or lack thereof. We are all human and imbued with our humanity, and to me, Neil's music has always best expressed that grounded reality. The ability to not take ourselves too seriously at times and the ability to care and feel too much at other times. Forgiving ourselves and forgiving others--HUMANITY.

Yes, it's just music, but at its best it takes us to a place of feeling and understanding and reflection and joy. Neil has made some great albums, some good ones, some bad ones and a few terrible ones. He's made mistakes professionally and personally, like we all have. He knows it and we know it, but we're "Already One" in both small and large ways. We're all different, but we're also all the same in significant ways. To me, Neil and his music meld all of these universal feelings and yearnings together in powerful and honest ways.


"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

At 11/17/2017 04:35:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Father Time, Mother Earth, Humanity, Neil Young(among others).
Seems like a reasonable pecking order.

Neil shines bright on the humanity scale because he bares his soul and emotions with his music, lyrics and actions so frequently in ways that are accessible to others. Already One is a fine example of that openness, honestly and frailty he exhibits so often. He also throws down the gauntlet and hides behind fictitious characters in an attempt to mask his pain and doubts, kinda like everyman can when cowering behind the facades of our own portrayals of who we are. That is to me part of the character of a human. However, as we all strive to be true, and to better ourselves, the revelation of our goodness generally shows through.

At 11/17/2017 05:45:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks much TopangaD & SONY! Very well put. A much better response than ours to Joe.

HUMANITY? How could folks get so unkind?

At 11/17/2017 10:11:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11/18/2017 08:26:00 AM, Blogger The Young Oslo Neil said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11/18/2017 11:30:00 AM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

I remember something Joni Mitchell said one time to an interviewer who asked her about how a lot of her fans thought of her as some sort of paragon of virtue. She chuckled a little, and remarked that they obviously hadn't paid close enough attention to her lyrics. In Johnny Rogan's(?) career biography of Neil, his analysis of “Ambulance Blues” has always stood out in my mind. As I recall, he suggested that the songs concluding statement- "I never knew a man could tell so many lies. He had a different story for every set of eyes. How can he remember who he's talking to? 'Cause I know it ain't me, and I hope it isn't you.”, taken in the full context of Neil’s acts and words, is actually Neil referring to himself, rather than to Richard Nixon and his ilk, as the lyric has usually been interpreted. In other words, ‘I’m a little fragile at the moment, and not so sure of anything, so it’s probably a good idea for you the listener to tread a little lightly.’ Of course, it’s just a guess, and only Neil knows the truth of it, but I think those of us who have made a close study of the man and the music for so many years, take it as implicit that Neil is no God, e.g. “My cruelty has punctured me, and now I’m running dry.”, “I’ve been wrong before, and I’ll be there again. I don’t have any answers my friend.”, “When you look in those vacant eyes, how does it harmonize with the things that you do?”. So implicitly, that here on a Neil Young appreciation site, where the focus is squarely where it should be- appreciation, but possibly a little sloppily, it goes without saying. It only has to be said, seemingly, when it appears to some that our comments don't take Neil’s just-as-flawed-as-the-next-guys humanity readily enough into account. This is no knock, either way, it just points up the truth that everything is perception, and that perception is prismatic. Many times, the same thing means different things to different people, depending on their perceptions. Words don't always convey the full intent of things, so it's never a bad idea to kick things down a notch or two, and extend at least a little benefit of the doubt.

I think “Already One” is a great example of all the things being said here. Here after all, is a man commenting in song form (and so beautifully and profoundly, as Topanga has described) on his failed marriage, which he surely played a part in- it takes two to Tango, and simultaneously recognizing a still intrinsic beauty in it, and at least one positive and loving result (Zeke), but also the indomitable Spirit to go on, despite or because of it all. It’s a stance that many of us struggle with, non-gods alike, who tend to see our failure’s less as opportunities to move on, while carrying forward their gifts, than as sources of regret to mire down into. Mostly we keep it to ourselves, but Neil has the quirk of character to put it out there for all to see, and hopefully aspire to. Humanity on display, the good and the bad of it. That’s all.

A Friend Of Yours


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