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Saturday, July 04, 2020

A Happy 4th of July To All of Our "Children of Destiny": Stay Calm & Enjoy - UPDATED


"Children of Destiny" - Neil Young + Promise of the Real
Frame from Official Music Video

A very happy 4th of July to all of our "Children of Destiny" out there across the lands.

And on this Independence Day in America, as we celebrate freedom and eat hot dogs, once again Neil Young drops in on the festivities with his own special brand of fireworks with the song and video "Children of Destiny" from the 2017 album The Visitor with the band Promise of the Real.

But first, one of the big Neil news items of 2020 was CITIZEN NEIL: Neil Young Becomes A U.S. Citizen.

In 2019r, the application by Canadian Neil Young to become a U.S. citizen was delayed due to "possible lack of GMC (Good Moral Character)". In January 2020, Neil posted a photo of himself saluting the US flag, with a caption: "I'm Happy To Report In. Vote Your Conscience."

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💥 🇨🇦🇺🇸💥 peace

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Neil Young

In 2019, in a posting on Neil Young Archives: "I Have Been Very Successful In My Life", Neil revealed that his initial citizenship interview went fine, but due to a technicality, another interview was required by the USCIS because of his "marijuana related activities".

In October 2019, Neil Young said in an interview: “I’ve passed all the tests; I’ve got my appointment, and if everything goes as planned, I’ll be taking the oath of citizenship” shortly after turning 74 on Nov. 12." Neil continues to be optimistic on becoming a U.S. citizen in order to "vote my conscious on Donald J. Trump".

Image via Rusted Moon

In the meantime, President Donald J. Trump continues to use Neil Young's song "Rockin' in the Free World" at his campaign rallies as.

Neil Young's song "Rockin' in the Free World" starts @ ~1:50 - ~6:30

President Trump used Young's song "Rockin' in the Free World" at a campaign rally in Lexington, KY on Nov. 4, 2019.

"Children of Destiny" - Neil Young + Promise of the Real
Frame from Official Music Video

Meanwhile, back to Neil Young's song "Children of Destiny". Judging by the reaction in July 2017, clearly once again Neil had managed to polarize his fan base. As if right on cue, some fans say "Right on Neil! Tell it to The Man!". Other fans say, "This is really dreadful hippie patriot jingoism."

Normally, over the past years here at Thrasher's Wheat, we blog on the 4th of July -- where we were born in the U.S.A. -- our hopes and dreams, such as 2015's Americana and The American Dream - This Land Is Our Land, This Land Is Your Land or Who's Really Going To Stand Up? But not this year, because thankfully Neil Young has done the job for us.

So without further ado, here's the look back at the backlash in July 2017 on Neil Young + Promise of the Real's song "Children of Destiny".

First up is this rather scathing attack on the song from What Is Neil Young Trying To Say In His Surreal 4th Of July Anthem? | Forbes by Contributor David Alm. Incidentally, David Alm has an "academic background in art history, literature, and film history, and taught journalism and film courses."

Forbes Contributor David Alm writes:
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 it 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, chants Young 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."

Images of fighter jets and American flags, many in the hands of children at 4th of July celebrations, are interspersed with aerial shots of the Women's March in Washington, D.C., tanks rolling through presumably foreign lands, and nature footage of America's mountains and rivers. Oh, and the Kremlin, and marches in other countries, and satellite images of planet Earth. The lyrics, meanwhile, are at once triumphant and trite, as well as lazy: 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.

Apparently it's tough to find a word to rhyme with "rain."
We'll stop there on the hatchet job. Got it. Thanks for helping us understand "What Is Neil Young Trying To Say In His Surreal 4th Of July Anthem?" Mr. Alm.

So what exactly is so surreal about this Mr. Alm? Is is not REAL? Do you not have the power of disCERNment to distinguish the wheat from the chaff? David Alm, if you're truly interested in trying to understand the surrealism of Neil Young than maybe try and go a bit deeper down the rabbit hole? It's dark and scary but maybe Neil's trying to tell you something you're not ready to appreciate and consider? What is so "incoherent" about the message, that it took 1,000+ words to deconstruct, de-legitmatize and re-frame? Busted.

Ain't that America, Mr Alm?

We completely understand how easy it is to rip apart Neil's latest work. In some ways, the attacks feel all to similar to the attacks on Young's 2006 album Living With War (which we're still living with...) Bombastic, preachy, political, weak, uninspiring, antagonistic, etc.

"Children of Destiny" - Neil Young + Promise of the Real
Frame from Official Music Video

Neil Young really hasn't changed that much in the past 40 years. He is still singing truth to power and we love him for that alone.

"Children of Destiny" - Neil Young + Promise of the Real
Frame from Official Music Video

Once again, thanks Neil. You're clearly on the right track here. Past experience demonstrates that the more polarizing a new song is to your fan base, the more it demonstrates its the power and success. If we can't share our differences, we can't peacefully coexist.

To all, have a great and safe holiday.

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

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!
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 failure -- will never be the "Children of Destiny". Not sure about that? Check the danger of able @ ~2:00:00 and your world will be rocked for the children. This is the TRUE Field of wheat.

Likewise, we still see the vista. We hear the muse. We continue. We continue because we believe and have faith in that greater good. Just as we all must teach our children (of destiny) well, we "must have a code that we can live by." Because, you are a child, i am a child, and we are all children of destiny. And, don't forget, in the fields of wheat, the "Children of Destiny" will NOT be harvested -- however, the chaff will be burned by unquenchable fire.

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

For more on Neil Young + Promise of the Real's song "Children of Destiny", see:

Patrick Henry Quote

Thomas Jefferson Quote

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At 7/04/2020 05:27:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

As I have mentioned here before, I have never been a fan of music videos. I feel they rob the listener from their own head movie as it were. When I listen to music I always get a visual in my head to what the song is communicating for me personally, and the music video creates something made by someone else’s head, and of course once you see the video, you can never un-ring that bell. Unfortunately.

Of the two video’s released for Children of Destiny, I prefer the one in the recording studio, as it just focuses on the creative process. The official video, I find excruciatingly pretentious on virtually every level. Frankly, it felt more like a political commercial for either party . I still like the song, but the video was a major mistake. Just my humble opinion, for what it’s worth.

Happy 4th of July Thrashers.
I hope you’re both doing well today. I don’t personally think we have much to celebrate here in the old U. S. of A. right now, and it doesn’t feel much like a holiday to me.

I have not lost hope, despite the fact we’re living in the dark ages right now. We shall overcome, someday. Soon I hope.

Peace 🙏

At 7/04/2020 05:41:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Happy 4th to all! We celebrated by taking the dog on a nature walk in a local state park. Like many dogs, ours gets very upset by the sound of fireworks, so we thought it would be compassionate to give him a special treat during the day, as many of our neighbors will no doubt be having noisy fun after dark.

Thanks, thrasher, for this blast from the past post. I still think The Visitor is an underrated, overlooked album, an inspiring and in some regards improved successor to Storytone and Peace Trail. I seem to remember the buzz in late '17/early '18 for the album was remarkably positive, but later assessments seem to be more measured and I find the change a bit puzzling.

Children of Destiny did get mixed responses when it premiered almost 6 months ahead of the album, but I've never seen/heard it as jingoistic. In fact, there are other Neil songs that could more convincingly be accused of such: Let's Roll, the title track of H&D. The harsh critique above seems to have been influenced mostly by the music video, as Neil's lyrics without those visuals do not--to me-- convey any nationalistic or even America-centered sentiments whatsoever. Although Neil has never been shy about loving the USA-- and it's equally true that patriotism *can* be the last refuge of a scoundrel-- I'm inclined to agree with those who feel there's more to the audiovisual juxtapositions here than a simplistic, literal reading might suggest.

At 7/05/2020 12:04:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks Dan & Ian.

Hope you guys had a nice holiday. A somewhat sedate 4th here @ TW HQ along the Potomac w/ rather muted celebrations.

While the national mood seems rather somber & bleak, we continue to see glimmers of hope and faith abounding just about everywhere when one looks closely beyond the glare of the BIG MEDIA spotlight.

The "news" continues to emphasize and dramatize those images which attract the most viewers, readers/surfers, etc. As we well know, those images and stories most often do NOT reflect objective reality and distort perceptions.

Example, the image & story of a single US flag burning will be blazed across every channel and blasted to the top of every headline. However, literally millions and millions of flags wave peacefully across the countries homes, schools, and town squares without comment.

So, yes, we shall overcome, someday, soon once folks realize their world view has been completely distorted. No we are not in denial of fundamental issues and problems in our society. These problems have always existed since the days of cavemen. They just morph over time. The real question is whether we're moving forward, backward or treading in place? We would argue that progress has stalled and paused, but will begin moving fwd briskly again. In new directions. A new normal, if you will.

There will never be a back to normal. That ship already sailed.

Curious about the "new normal"? See the mural image posted here about 2/3 down.

Peace ��


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