Neil Young's new release ""World Record" w/ Crazy Horse is now available for pre-order. Order here
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Monday, October 03, 2022

Comment of the Moment: "Love Earth" by Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse

image via Official Music Video directed by dhlovelife

Last Thursday at Midnight, Neil Young dropped the 1st preview track -- "Love Earth" -- from the upcoming album "WORLD RECORD" recorded with Crazy Horse and Produced by Rick Rubin.

As we noted in comments at the time, some rusties initial reaction was a bit on the tepid side -- which was similar to BARN, where it started off sort of slow but then grew in intensity as the tracks spooled out.

Which brings us to our Comment of the Moment on MAJOR NEIL YOUNG NEWS COMING SOON: "WORLD RECORD - CELEBRATE WITH US AT NYA! 9-29-22 Midnight EST - 9pm" PST by the ever oh-so meta The Metamorphic Rocker:

I figured reactions on this track would be across the spectrum, though it's been successful with people I've shared it with so far. 

I hear somewhere between Sleeps with Angels and Chrome Dreams II. That's a good place, in case anyone was unclear. Best NY album of the '90s crossed with his best album of the '00s by my reckoning. The vibe is spiritual, almost New Age-ish in its ambiance. Call it Earth Age: a genre Neil and friends are in the process of inventing.

In view of mixed responses, I feel as though my point about the virtues of a "quiet beginning" may bear elaboration. The tendency, with many albums and artists, is to start off the album with something loud and/or fast to immediately draw the listener in. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but with art, there's always more than one way of doing it.

Although it's obviously premature to judge 'World Record', Neil has a history with starting albums slower, gentler, mellow even. Examples: 'Out on the Weekend' from Harvest; 'Separate Ways' from Homegrown; 'The Emperor of Wyoming' from the first album; 'My Heart' from Sleeps with Angels; 'Beautiful Bluebird' from Chrome Dreams II; 'Song of the Seasons' from Barn. There are others. Some are predominantly sad or melancholy, others a little happier. All are quite simple statements, expressed softly, essentially easing the listener comfortably into the "space" of the songs, the zone, the quiet, contemplative frame of mind that's conducive to feeling music.

A flash of lightning is much more noticeable when it's dark out. In the same way, even the loudest, heaviest sounds have much more impact with ambiance, if there's a clean space around them to receive, absorb, and reverberate the noise. One classic album that starts gently and reflectively is John Lennon's 'Imagine'. No one would describe it as upbeat, obvious hit single material, but it immediately captures the listener's ear. Some would say it takes your breath away.

That's not to compare the two songs per se, or to imply that Young and/or Lennon always take this approach to beginning albums (though both artists revisit the idea a number of times), but to say that what I appreciate about 'Imagine' does coalesce, in some form, in 'Love Earth.' And it's not just the piano, although the sound of that instrument is simultaneously delicate and resonant in a way that makes sense for this kind of song. The piano is an effect, so to speak, rather than a cause.

It's the combination of earnest sentiment and musical tentativeness, the reminder to relax and take a few deep breaths before diving into things, grounding and centering. It's the feeling of floating on slow, clear water in the shadow of a willow tree. Basically, it's about meditation, clearing the mind and heart in a way that gets us ready to fully receive the music.

If none of this airy talk resonates with some folks, they should at least take heart in that the remainder of the album may well sound completely different. When 'Barn' came out, the first two songs we got were 'Song of the Seasons' and 'Heading West', two tracks that couldn't be more in different in almost all respects. Maybe the next offering from 'World Record' will be a crunchy Horse workout. Or maybe it has Neil on pump organ and marxophone. 

You never know until you hear it.

Thank you Meta Rocker for the keen insights here.  It is a bit of deja vu and the initial reaction to BARN back in 2021.  And Dionys' followup comment fits in well here for further discussion, as well.



Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse 
photo by Joey Martinez

More reaction to  "Love Earth" by Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse on MAJOR NEIL YOUNG NEWS COMING SOON: "WORLD RECORD - CELEBRATE WITH US AT NYA! 9-29-22 Midnight EST - 9pm" PST.

Date First Available: September 29, 2022*
Release date: November 18th
(now available for pre-order here. Please shop locally & independently. But if you can't, we appreciate your supporting Thrasher's Wheat by clicking this link or YOUR COUNTRY's FLAG up @ top. Thank you!!!)

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At 10/03/2022 01:45:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Thanks, thrasher! Fwiw, I still think “Song of the Seasons” is one of Barn’s best moments. With “Love Earth”, I can see where people would have differing responses. With SotS, I was actually puzzled as to why/how it didn’t click for others as it immediately did for me. Maybe I’m biased in favor of mellow acoustic? I think SotS is clearly a major work, which could stand on its own even apart from the album. As I said at the time, if the guy that sang “Heart of Gold” genuinely grew old, that’s what his thoughts would sound like.

Thanks also to dionys for a very insightful post on the other thread. Good reflections all around.

At 10/03/2022 02:44:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Very insightful, as there is no way to invent the "earth form" (is this the right phrase) without a deep darkness that is bound to jangle with rancor and anger. Perhaps this has been the problem for many years. Neil has not precisely found the musical grounding (or lyrical) to artistically and imaginatively represent human beings within ecological crisis? There is a way to do this that is not primarily political or even social, it must be moral, spiritual, and metaphysical. Ham fisted lyrics are likely when anger at the political landscape is primary.

what is primary is the current human circumstance in light of what we have done, it is the human condition in its progression towards self-destruction- and this is about as "spiritual" an issue as exists or can exist. We can respond artistically by cutting down beneath politics to OUR actual condition. I sit here writing a note on a beautiful October day, Neil has said something about "bringing back the seasons." Can you truly imagine the world without the change of seasons? Our abilities, habits, and character are all shaped by interaction within the natural, no matter how hard we struggle against this truth: the seasons allow us to mark time and they also deeply represent the arc of life. April is the cruelest month... is a line that is possible if and only if the imagination is bound to nature.

At 10/03/2022 10:07:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Thanks, Abner... I simply don't like to see these new songs, which seem so earnest and soulful, get neglected or trampled underfoot by folks too focused on what they want instead of noticing what's being offered.

Last year, what surprised me about some initial responses to 'Song of the Seasons' was a level of indifference. I guess indifference is better than hostility in some sense, but it's still a shame when people miss the beauty of something the artist clearly put a lot of their heart into.

At 10/04/2022 11:15:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Excellent comment of the moment, and a thoughtful response from Abner. I too admire and appreciate the softer side of Neil, and his ability to create something meaningful musically and lyrically. He is a master communicator.

Peace 🙏

At 10/05/2022 12:46:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

This is bothering me. I did not mean to critique Neil, I just think what he is trying to do is very hard. There is overlap here with the difficulties in "protest songs." And then Ian mentioned the earnest nature of Love Earth.

A host of trouble. There is a tendency, I think, to diminish the importance of earnestness- straight up honesty with purposeful/mindfulness for a subject- a tendency rooted in denial or fake sophistication.

At 10/05/2022 03:21:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I’m really not a fan of music videos, but this one was actually really cool. A truly beautiful job from Daryl on this one. Fits the music and the spirit of the song perfectly.

Peace 🙏

At 10/05/2022 04:41:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

I agree Dan, I love this video.

At 10/05/2022 08:45:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

The video is special in itself. The nature footage reminds me of where I grew up. Neil (or is it Daryl?) seems to be using his own face to evoke an image of the Green Man. (See for brief info.) Music videos are too often an empty promotional vehicle, but there are exceptions. "Love Earth" proves the music video can be a new piece of art utilizing the song, if that makes sense.

And Abner, I didn't take your comments as excessively critical. What Neil seems to be working at is quite ambitious and not easy. What else is new? Pop or rock songs, in general, are not a form "designed" to sustain a complex discourse of ideas, so a lot of the challenge has to be breaking down these big themes in a simple, almost bite-sized form the listener can hopefully digest.

At 10/06/2022 01:55:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

ambition seems to come along with serious purpose- perhaps they can be, in various ways, conflated. What we don't want, at all costs, is ambition without serious purpose: all kinds of aimless and passionate intensity (stealing Yeats). Neil Young, even when confused, has serious purpose. There is always something profound lurking. Just think of Old Ways and "Misfits" (what a weight that one has). "The worst is over, but for her there is no hope." Finally, as we survey it, there is nothing shallow. No line in any song, compounded by the aching melody, struck me harder than the Vietnam vet riding on the Needles Highway, "although his war is over, he's fighting on anyway, although he's seldom sober, he's drinking whiskey all day." The song reaches beyond empathy. The hooker and vet, clearly misfits and if we are paying attention, we want to be with them.


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