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Monday, April 18, 2022

Neil Young: "These songs are enviro-marches" | NYA

(Click photo to enlarge)


Last month, Neil Young wrote on his Archives site that: "i have been overcome with sadness." 

This weekend on Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 (Episode #15 w/
Special Guest Mark "Don't Spook The Horse"
),  we discussed where Neil Young might be regarding writing new songs and his latest comments on NYA.


Last winter I was taking a lot of walks in the snow. While I walked I whistled. It soon became obvious that each day had a new melody. I started to record the whistling on my phone and recently I added the melodies to my lists, where they got organized as I started writing words. These songs are enviro-marches. Songs of this time. A parade of songs. Marching through.
So, "enviro-marches"?!

Even Neil himself realizes this might be another bridge too far for his fans, commenting: 

"I laugh to myself when I wonder how these songs will be received. For some, it may be a long parade."

Well, regardless, its good to know that Neil is emerging from his "sadness period" and marching onward.

More discussion on Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 Podcast - Episode #15 | Archives Vol #3 Preview | Hosted by

 Special Guest
Mark "Don't Spook The Horse"

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At 4/18/2022 11:01:00 AM, Blogger wardo said...

If he's already "laughing" at how the songs will be received, I predict another Monsanto, Peace Trail, Visitor-type thing.

At 4/18/2022 10:49:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Do whatever you want old long as it keeps you alive and amused.

At 4/19/2022 01:21:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

In the words of George W Bush, former stupidest Republican president, “Bring it on!”

I am excited to hear it. I love the Environmental Warrior songs. Who’s Gonna Stand Up? Human Race, a new favorite. Molten fury at a chance squandered. We could have saved Earth!

Your Bro Alan in Seattle

At 4/19/2022 06:56:00 AM, Blogger Steve L said...

Speaking of environmental/eco themes, I have recently been listening to and enjoying a 2021 album called Ignorance by Canadian folk-rooted band The Weather Station.

It will be interesting to hear Neil's latest take on the climate and/or biodiversity crisis.

At 4/19/2022 08:12:00 AM, Blogger Hambone said...

I'm with Alan in Seattle here if the new songs are running the Human Race, but less excited if Neil retreads the Monsanto Years boards, an album that to me seemed too dirge-like to stimulate action.

But there's a big range of parades from "We shall Overcome" to "76 Trombones" for Neil to explore so who knows what we'll hear and that's the endless joy of following this artist.

In other Neil-related news, the becoming great Kurt Vile released his new album "Watch My Moves" this week. The opening track Going on a Plane Today has the verse:

Going on a plane today
Listening' to "Heart of Gold"
Gonna open up for Neil Young
Man, life can sure be fun
Imagine if I knew this when I was young

There's 15 more absorbing tracks written whilst walking in woods during lockdowns, something that seems to mirror Neil's Barn inspiring mountain walks & parade inspiring snow walks and confirms in my mind that he's Neil's Spiritual successor.

There's also an excellent Spin interview at:

where he reveals a Psychadelic Pill influence on the track Like Exploding Songs and also says "I loved his music anyway, but then you read [Jimmy McDonough’s biography] Shakey and then you realize, he’s the God. He’s God."

Amen to that Kurt.
Tony Hambone in the UK

At 4/19/2022 10:03:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ wardo - well, another Monsanto, Peace Trail, Visitor sounding album would be something to behold. now that's a mashup for sure.

@ Chris - he just keeps going and going ...

@ BAIS - Human Race, Now that's one that falls in obscure tracks category. quick, name that album.

@ Steve - thanks. will check out Weather Station sometime.

@ Hambone - oh, yeah, Kurt's been a real Neil head.

Another album to put on the wishlist.

Amen to that Hambone !

At 4/19/2022 12:05:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Hambone, ha ha ha- maybe Neil could do an album like Americana (one of my favorites) but change subjects to "parade songs." Crazy Horse could disembowel "76 Trombones" in much the same way they annihilated "Oh Suzanna" or that nightmare song about the Big Red Rooster and the portals..... what was called "Coming Round the Mountain"

At 4/19/2022 05:03:00 PM, Blogger jfllo said...

We should be grateful he's still creating. Long may he run

At 4/19/2022 09:19:00 PM, Blogger Peacelover Doc said...

I may or may not like whatever comes from this but I'll always love & appreciate Neil.

At 4/20/2022 01:18:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

Human Race from Barn, stands alone. It could be its own album. It is worth the price of admission. And yet, Barn stands on its own. Human Race is one of the most powerful rock songs in the history of… Earth. There was a version of Neil doing Who’s Gonna Stand Up? w/ the Roots on some show. It was Epic and Gorgeous. I hope we get to see it on NYA someday. It’s maybe even better than the live CH version. Your Bro, Alan in Seattle

@Thrasher : Haven’t watched the latest but will soon!

At 4/20/2022 06:05:00 AM, Blogger Steve L said...

I'd love it if Neil wrote a song disparaging the increasingly widespread and ecologically disastrous use of of artificial grass (i.e. plastic lawns) in domestic and commercial settings.

Or is it only here in the UK that these monstrosities are becoming more popular ?

At 4/20/2022 10:21:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Abner - beleive that was Jesus' Chariot

@ jfllo - everyday, we're grateful.

@ P&L Dr - likewise, everyday

@ YBAIS - goo see you rooting for Human Race. They're getting lost on the ROBOT Highway...

@ Steve - who knew? hopefully this hideous trend doesn't migrate across the atlantic

Fake grass, fake news, fake everything. the restless consumer gets more restless everyday.

At 4/20/2022 05:17:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

The French-German TV Channel Arte currently shows a long French biographic documentary on Neil Young.

Link for the German version:

While there is little to nothing in there that TW regulars do not know, it is emphasizing the contrary nature of Neil Young's biography. The European audience likes that...

The doc will be available until June 30th.

At 4/20/2022 06:23:00 PM, Blogger Minke said...

Thanks @Dionys. Diese Doku ist großartig. Yes perhaps we already knew. But it also contains several clips from interviews I hadn't seen before, and it is quite impressive to see the entire range and consistencies of NYs activism. And I appreciated the idiosyncratically serious approach of the documentary quite a lot.

At 4/20/2022 08:40:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

well, we'll see what brings
much of recent lyrical input
has been less than the prior
inspiritual content of old
however the vibe rolls


At 4/21/2022 12:49:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

'enviro marches' Neil get a grip.

At 4/21/2022 03:10:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

"inspiritual"? what the hell?

Andy, it does seem like something close to self-parody, but Neil has been there before and crossed the line, come back and so forth.

At 4/21/2022 04:29:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

There are Neil Young songs that have to be accepted as being part of the specific Neil Young synthesis of arts (Gesamtkunstwerk) but otherwise I'd rather spread a cloak of silence over them, among them the trashy "Children of Destiny", something that comes pretty close to a "march". That's an absolutely cringe-worthy thing, which requires me to hold my breath and muster all of my tolerance regarding bad taste. I bought its because: see above (Gesamtkunstwerk). I admit that I even would buy a Neil Young Christmas album. I haven't bought neither Lights of the Stable nor Dylan's Christmas album, getting in trouble whenever the red Coca Cola minions and their reindeer show up somewhere.

At 4/22/2022 02:35:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Synthesis of arts? Or genres within musical art? A "march" which is cringe-worthy for its synthesis of banality and vacuity.

At 4/22/2022 03:47:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

While Neil Young primarily is a musician I perceive his public persona to be what in German is called a „Gesamtkunstwerk“, which is an untranslatable term for artists who are able to transcend their original field of creativity. For lack of better wording: “I contain multitudes” is Dylan’s statement (and a song) that pretty much sums it up. This ability to transcend one’s limits not only can be seen in Neil Young’s daring and sometimes failing attempts in other musical genres or the various roles as a big band leader or the pump organ and guitar player in a Jarmusch deconstruction of the western movie but also in politics, film making, digital publishing, Lionel trains, LincVolt or the design of his tangible output. Sure Gary Burden, Jenice Heo and Toshi Onuki ultimately were or still are the ones that come forward with the visual art, but it is all in Neil style, shows his handwriting in Neil font metaphorically and often literally. Didn’t he drive people crazy because he wanted a certain kind of expensive coated cardboard for “Harvest”? It’s this attention for (certain) details that go way beyond the “guitar player in Crazy Horse”(as he understated in “The Year of the Horse”). As a second condition to classify artistry as a “Gesamtkunstwerk” the different artistic aspects have to be interdependent and enhancing each other to the extent of being necessary counterparts to each other. All examples of “Gesamtkunstwerk” have a tendency to obscure the borders between fictional expression of art and reality.
The “Gesamtkunstwerk”, needless to say, is an invention of the German romantic epoch. Some of it’s aspects can be found in (horrible) Richard Wagner’s works, in Antonio Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia or in Henry van der Velde’s Hohenhof architectural design.

At 4/22/2022 06:32:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Interesting and helpful but also problematic. Neil Young does not "transcend his limits" as no on does, and there must be limits, always. The world is what it is according to limits. But he does "transcend" his original field of creativity. "I contain multitudes" might be artistic hubris and so not valuable as a slogan or anything else.

Faulkner thought humility in relation to capacity was the central component of the character for the artist. "The only thing that matters is the work." It seems that these days, it is fashionable to forget the relentless focus that the work requires. (Your points about Neil seem consistent with this idea, trying to sort this out.)

I spent a lot of time on Kant and I still do, but I will "never be a Kant scholar." Why not? I don't know German and the fascinating nuances that the language presents and reveals. Dionys, thanks for this German word and the ideas.

At 4/22/2022 10:55:00 PM, Blogger Peacelover Doc said...

I don't speak German but I don't think is available anymore

At 4/23/2022 12:45:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

To quote Nash I am a Simple Man, don't understand some of this stuff. Neil makes great most or some of the time, let's not get too deep.

At 4/23/2022 02:00:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

@peacelover doc
I just tried the link and it's still there, since I copied from your comment it can't be a typo in the address. Maybe the content is not available outside the EU. The arte channel is a cooperation of French and German public television and paid by European taxpayers, so maybe it's no available in some countries.

At 4/23/2022 08:03:00 PM, Blogger Peacelover Doc said...

Thank You Dionys


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