The Screaming Pen

Providing Global Insight, Context, and Perspective

Pocahontas, Marlin Brando, and Me

Shakey Chimes In

 

In 1979, Neil Young and Crazyhorse released “Rust Never Sleeps”, an album held in high regards by both critics and fans alike. From the narrative “Powderfinger”, to the transcendant “Pocahontas”, Young, using rust as a metaphor for inevitable deterioration –see 1981's Re-ac-tor– proves that he possesses the tools to ward off rust, namely his creativity and ability to reinvent himself. Young’s newest album, Living With War, is a powerful indictment of the Bush Administration, addressing the current state of American politics, all the while placing his grievances in an emotional and historic context that is a breath of fresh air, especially considering the mostly sad state of dissent among the newest generation of popular musicians. The resulting album, although lacking lyrical depth at times, is a powerful effort that should remain relevant long after the current administration leaves office, in the same way that his 1971 classic "Ohio", written about the massacre at Kent State, remains relevant today.


Hey Hey, My My, Rock and Roll Will Never Die

While some songs on Living With War, namely “Lets Impeach the President” read like a moveon.org pamphlet or a University of Vermont sociology major’s away message, others such as “Families” and “Roger and Out” leave much more to the imagination, effectively conveying the justifiable discontent that many Americans are feeling right now. Powerful protest songs, which usually convey emotion without being terribly forward, seem to be rare these days, especially among the younger generation. Many of the newer anti-Bush efforts coming from Generation Y, examples being Bright Eyes "When the President Talks to God" and NOFX's "Idiots are Taking Over", are lacking in both lyrical content and accuracy. They also seem to lack the "Folky" appeal that historically has transcended age and class. For generally better efforts, see Steve Earle's The Revolution Starts Now, and selected tracks from Bruce Springsteen's excellent Devils and Dust.

Conclusions

Neil Young's newest album, while not flawless, serves as an effective protest album that is also an artistic success. Living With War's lyrical imagery, combined with Young's vocals, provides the listener with an original, experienced voice. It is apparent that it is this experience, gained through both songwriting and a lifetime of careful observation, is what seperates Neil Young from his younger counterparts.

Advertisements

June 24, 2006 - Posted by | Author: JPL, Bright Eyes, Dissent, Music, Neil Young, NOFX, Politics, The GOP, The Media, The War on Terror, Uncategorized, United States

1 Comment »

  1. To parody a scene from “Young Frankenstein”: A protest album is an ugly thing…….And it’s about time we had one!!! I can’t believe that so many are so silent. There is more that separates Young from his younger counterparts: His unwillingness to put up with bullshit. At the risk of falling into fatal “geezerism”, but in my day…….

    Comment by Tamen | August 22, 2006 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: