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Thursday, October 21, 2021

1st IMPRESSIONS: "Song Of The Seasons" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

by Neil Young & Crazy Horse 

 

We interrupt  our  "unplanned/forced sabbatical" here at Thrasher's Wheat, with  an update on the new song from BARN --  the upcoming album by Neil Young & Crazy Horse -- "Song Of The Seasons" which is previewing now on Neil Young Archives.

 
(WBR PR) Redwood, California: October 21, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WBR artist Neil Young, caving in to fan pressure for the first time in history, is set to release a new song written after agonizing over fan response to his new song "Song Of The Seasons"  from his upcoming album BARN album with Crazy Horse. (Release Date: Dec 10)

Says Young:

"You know the pressure of everyday stardom has begun to really bother me, so, in an effort the placate the 250 or so PATRON-ZOOM-RUST fans that I have left, I decided to really concentrate on their opinions of my new stuff. I can't believe I haven't been sensitive to their wants and desires over the past 40 years. I cried to my wife Daryl for hours over this. Finally after the tears dried, I was able to really commit to something so powerful that I couldn't deny it anymore. I really hope they like this new one."

Young has allowed release of these new lyrics in advance of the song. Finally, we can all agree that Neil Young has written a true masterpiece.


"I've been alive forever, and I wrote the very first song
I put the words and the melodies together
I am music and I write the songs

I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the songs

My home lies deep within you
And I've got my own place in your soul
Now, when I look out through your eyes
I'm young again, even though I'm very old

Oh my music makes you dance
And gives you spirit to take a chance
And I wrote some rock 'n' roll so you can move
Music fills your heart
Well, that's a real fine place to start
It's from me it's for you
It's from you, it's for me
It's a worldwide symphony"


Well, obviously, this was modified from an earlier April Fool's joke back in 2009 in response to Neil's  Fork In The Road album. (Thanks for the vintage rust memories SONY!)

As a first impression, some rusty readers here have been  underwhelmed by the gentle, mellow calming gorgeousness of "Song Of The Seasons".  (More on our thoughts on SotS on Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 Vodcast - Episode #11)  Or maybe they were expecting a full blown, raw, crunchy barn burner Crazy Horse rocker jam out!?  Reportedly, the album BARN will contain extended epic sonic jams.


BARN
 by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
"10 new songs that capture the raw, idiosyncratic rock and roll spirit and lyrical beauty that epitomizes a classic NYCH collaboration. Recorded this summer under a full moon, in a restored off-grid 19th century barn high up in the Rockies, the Horse was right at home and the album’s stunning love songs, reflective ballads and powerhouse rockers naturally burst into life."

Here's what the inestimably humble Dan commented as first impressions of "Song Of The Seasons":

This new song has all the familiar elements Neil has used before (with the exception of the accordion which is the driving force here) and like a lot of his songs, this one required a few listens (for me anyway) before it started to really sink in. 

This has been the case for me with a lot of Neil’s songs over the years.

Sometimes I feel that instant connection with a song but with others it takes a while before it hits me. I’m not even sure if that makes any sense really, but I wasn’t sure what to think about this one on the first listen. It wasn’t like I disliked it, but perhaps it just felt almost too familiar at first. After about the third time through things started to fall into place, and I made a connection with what his intention was.

The song is definitely observational, although I don’t quite understand the verse about the queen and how it relates to the other elements of the lyrics. Perhaps it has to do with Canada I suppose. I’m certainly open to any other interpretations anyone else might have on the subject. [Maybe see "God Save The Queen" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse | Americana]

He’s looking through a different window on each verse except the last one, and it’s clear that his love for Daryl is key to how he sees the world around him. My favorite line is “I see nature makes no mistakes”. That one line says it all really. 

A song written by someone who has lived a long life and learned much along the way, and knows what is truly important. Love.

Peace 🙏

To which we often say to Dan's comments, thank you so much for your thoughts, contributions and steadfastness in these seas of madness. 

 

 
SONG OF THE SEASONS 
"The film of the same title - BARN captures this legendary band in their element - in the wild, their easy humor, their brotherhood, their humanity, and of course, the music, live, recorded in their unique spontaneous way. A Blu-ray of the film directed by Daryl Hannah, will be available as a stand-alone release."

Which really brings us to the whole point of this post: What exactly does an artist owe to their audience?

To which another of our ever enlightening TW contributors Dionys commented in response to the initial lukewarm reactions:

Nobody ever said to Van Gogh: 'Paint the Starry Nights again'" (Joni Mitchell on Miles of Aisles). 

Van Gogh later painted farmhouses with a few barns thrown in, windmills and a lot of fields and cottages. But he completely lost his ability to paint starry nights. How a good guy who had 30 years of painting ending in 1889 can fall to such mediocre to bad depths... You get it. 

By the time Beethoven composed The Ninth Symphony, he had completely lost his hearing, but today nobody said that he should have written something like the Fifth Symphony again instead. 

Not that I would rank Neil Young in these spheres of artistry, but I do believe that he is well beyond "these hook and ladder dreams". 

My idea of an artist's existence is that he or she permanently has to re-invent him- or herself, doing what they want. That's not only a right of the artist, it's his or her raison d'être. "It's easy to get buried in the past". 

So if you lose your curiosity listening to Neil Young, it's not decided who lost what.

Dionys, it is these deeply profound & thoughtful responses here @ TW that help inspire us to pick the torch back up again someday.

Dionys' excellent analogies of Van Gogh and Beethoven were later followed up by Abner who commented:

Faulkner's biographer titled his book "Ten Matchless Years"- the years that included "The Sound and the Fury," "As I Lay Dying," "Absalom! Absalom!" "Light in August" and "Go Down Moses." 

What followed was a gradual decline. 

The works were still vital and worthy but they were not at the same level of achievement. I don't think we should think of this as failure, this is just human. Remember that Neil Young is now an old man, there is no avoiding this fact, even though I sometimes would like to. 

He manages in various ways to keep elements of youth, but ultimately that fades as well.


This subject of "what an artist owes to their audiences" (& see Artists who challenge their audiences) has been a long running passion here @TW over the decades. and it will become even more pertinent as time marches ahead relentlessly and predictably. 

MORE BARN!!!
(Watch out for The Greedy Hand)

 

So will BARN be another FITR?  Who knows, of course. Looking back at FITR back in 2009, we here @ TW were so stunned and ecstatic to hear lines so close to our hearts ("keep on bloggin' til the power goes out/batteries dead") that little else mattered.  And we still crank FITR on our road trips.

Thank you Dionys, Dan and so many others for being here and keeping the neil-rust conversations burning during our  "unplanned/forced sabbatical"!

Read more on an artist who challenges his audience,  commentary and Greendale reviews. It'll be like deja vu all over again.  Also, see more on obligations to audiences on Artistic Freedom and Commerce.

You either "get Neil" or you don't.  it's really that simple. and yes everyone is allowed to have their own opinion on all things always ...  


berlin-deja-vu-press-conf.jpg
"Just Singing A Song Won't Change The World" -
Neil Young
Deja Vu Press Conference - Berlin, February, 2008


Labels: , , , , , ,


20 Comments:

At 10/22/2021 12:33:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

TW's latest post is hilarious! You all have a good sense of humor. Neil "comes to his senses and gives the small mob what it wants"

Who ever could have predicted that Crazy Horse would record a song like this? I find it unlikely, but then I found "Lotta Love" an unlikely song for the Horse to play. That Neil Young! Always confounding his fans. The aging shape shifter with a guitar and Soul has still got something important to say. This song alone may mean more than the entire Re-Ac-Tor album (which I love anyway).

I am 7 listens in for the new song and it has grown on me quite a lot. Like Dan, I find the Nils accordion performance energizes the song and makes it unique in the Neil Young song catalogue. The essense of this song is laid back. It stretches out. How long is this song? Time is not relevant; I am drawn into it and freed from my cares. It invites listening.

10 listens in and its a classic. I have been busy, visting my daughter in college with my wife. I missed the part where Neil fans were voicing a lack of love for the new song. I like the reference from Dionys: Why can't Van Gogh repaint Starry Night again?
Neil Young is an off-leash artist. He almost never does what he is told. We bitched that he left Cinnamon Girl off the '69 Fillmore East recording. So, he gave it to us. It was out of tune, he said. But you wanted it. Here it is. We really helped him run the show that time. Kidding. I am glad Neil Young doesn't do what we tell him to! If he was obsequious, none of us would find his Art compelling.

I say the new song enriches his body of work. The Neil Young universe just grew again. Stars glowing, brilliant colors arranged in a mysterious order. Our favorite Artist rarely disappoints me. And there are hints that the new album rocks a bit, too. Excellent!
Thank you all for your constructive comments. I wish you well. Alan in Seattle

 
At 10/22/2021 10:25:00 AM, Blogger Grey Rider said...

Short film, video accompaniment to song quite good.

 
At 10/22/2021 11:00:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

But sure enough there will be people who'll complain that "nothing" is happening in this video. It's one of the biggest problems of humankind that fewer and fewer contemporaries can sit down and keeep quiet for awhile. That's also the reason why the they time-lapsed it.:-)

 
At 10/22/2021 02:21:00 PM, Blogger Hambone said...

On first listening when Nils stepped in on the accordion I was reminded of the unexpected raucous flute on Prime of Life, suggesting the the Horse might be heading in new directions as the album is revealed. I rather hope so. Sleeps with Angels is a latter day masterpiece and started with the Horse all rural choral on us singing about shepherds, so we shouldn't draw too many conclusions yet.

I first heard the track in a tiny holiday (vacation) cottage in the Welsh countryside when it appeared last week and it fitted my mood exactly, with the leaves just beginning to fall and hints of winter storms coming over the hills and coast.

My take on the song is that the seasons still come and go as before where nature knows what's supposed to happen, but we humans see the subtle changes - the masked people where before there were none, a queen alone where before she had a husband and consort (though I admit "king" scans better!) and Neil at the end embraces these natural rhythms of nature as he plays. Nils' accordion gives it that unexpected human musical change whilst the vibe is still unmistakably Neil, whilst not challenging or exhorting us as listeners.

And I realise that what many really want is to hear a zeitgeist song that bookends an album and defines the decade - like Tonight's the Night, My My Hey Hey, Rockin' in the Free World - but at this stage of a career it's a bit fannish selfishness to demand that from Neil or anyone.

I can't help but think that secretly we only want this to justify our own dedication to following an artist for so long and holding back our own advancing years by reliving those musical moments of our youth - and when that doesn't happen it's easier to decide the artist is past it and rather than accept the new season in their life.

I for one am grateful that we still have new Neil - with the original Horse - to listen to right now and I was even moved to send a message to Nils via his website to thank him for contributing to that refreshing sound. Got a pleasant thank you from him too.

Tony "Hambone" Hammond UK

 
At 10/22/2021 03:52:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Just a quick note here…. Thanks to Thrashers and everyone else here with such wonderful comments so far on this particular thread. I just wanted to take a second to say, “I think the video for the new song is absolutely brilliant “. What a perfect artistic choice…. I can’t wait to hear from those who don’t understand it.

Peace 🙏

 
At 10/23/2021 08:45:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Very grateful for a new crazy horse LP

Thank you neil nils ralph and billy

 
At 10/23/2021 08:49:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

It's a shame toast has been put back in the toaster

Hopefully early next near for the 'lost Horse' to finally come back to the stable

Need a poncho fix

Rust bucket really wet the apetite

 
At 10/23/2021 12:45:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

I was brain dead and thought, at first, this was real, "I wrote the first song" and I began stupidly, "could be like I'm the Ocean." Is this a Billy Joel song? whatever? I can't remember but it really does suck (whenever I think of bad songs, Billy Joel starts resonating in my synapses. "I am music" ha ha ha...."I am literature and I write the novels"

 
At 10/23/2021 01:16:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

@ Abner : It’s actually Barry Manilow.

Peace 🙏

 
At 10/23/2021 03:50:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Thanks Dan, I am not sure if I know that guy.

Dionys, I saw a Coopers Hawk take out a sparrow on campus the other day, and then three crows robbed the hawk of its meal. Several students and faculty were all "on their phones" and missed this glorious bit of natural mischief and mayhem.

 
At 10/24/2021 12:22:00 PM, Blogger Sancho1671 said...

If you want Harvest, play Harvest.
If you want Sleeps with Angels, play Sleeps with Angels
If you want Raged Glory....well you get where I'm going.
None of us get where Neil is going
and that's a big reason why he is still a viable artist.
Enjoy the ride.
"...We could end up anywhere."

 
At 10/25/2021 12:22:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

@Abner
There goes your "wokeness"... Two of my students had to recap the weather for the week, also to report on the various data regarding the weather ahead. We had a strong Chinook (lee-effect north of the alps with +23° C degrees)and the first of the usual fall storms coming at us from the northwest. One didn't need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blew. But they could not make the connection between the data provided by the Meteo-Service and the actual conditions outside the class-room. If it's not online yet, it's not there. The first song of a new Neil Young album is released and people start complaining.

 
At 10/25/2021 10:46:00 AM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Dionys, staying on this theme, what a great idea for your students. I love it. We have big time Chinooks here as well, they compress the air downslope off the Rockies and provide thaws during our extreme winters. There are ways to tell an actual Chinook from just a strong southwesterly wind. There are all kinds of clues to the climate here, but it takes experience and awareness. The first step is actually being interested in the natural world and if someone can't do that I generally feel pity and disgust together (both bad emotions). I don't express these emotions, I realize there are many reasons for the apathy and disinterest.

 
At 10/25/2021 03:32:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

The Föhn (as the Chinook is called in this part of the world) makes for sudden false springs in midwinter, close to the alps windspeeds can reach gale force and then the thawing can cause floods, when the ground is still frozen. For me the Chinook also brings headaches (migraine) or an euphorizing high energy push or both. But I prefer that to any rainy Atlantic low or these cold waves from the east.

 
At 10/25/2021 05:18:00 PM, Blogger HG said...

New concert up - acoustic solo 1999 at Wiltern. Should be good - acoustic Cortez!

HG

 
At 10/26/2021 02:33:00 PM, Blogger Tomatron said...

Grandpa Simpson is in a mellow mood here on track 1. Coming up after the break, Old Man Yells At Cloud.

 
At 10/26/2021 08:52:00 PM, Blogger Old Dan said...

I too have to listen a few times before making a judgement on any Neil song. I love the harmonica and the accordion. I also love the complete difference between his acoustic and electric music. This song will take it's place in my regular listening.

Long may Neil run, we are blessed to have him!

 
At 10/29/2021 03:06:00 AM, Blogger Phil said...

Heading West, second track from Barn is on NYA. Short but nice tune, electric with Nils on piano. Reminds me Greendale era.

 
At 11/01/2021 02:12:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Brilliant! Barry knows!

 
At 11/01/2021 02:13:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

I fell for it at first too. I was like “What….?”

 

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