Living With War

In offices on opposite coasts, we listened to Neil Young's powerful message, Living With War. While Jon Iverson composed his review, I came up with this.

Living With War

The impact is shaking my computer screen. If I could stop my feet from stomping so hard, itd be a little bit easier to type. If my fingers weren't at these keys, my fist would be in the air. And my fingers are only at these keys because I feel so compelled to follow Neil Young's lead and shout out, happily, in this way:

Let's impeach the President for lyin'!

Have you seen the CNN interview? The interviewer asks a simple question: "You've got one song that's called 'Let's Impeach the President.' What is this song about?"

She couldn't have made it easier for Neil Young: "Well, it's a song that pretty well follows the title, just with a bunch of reasons. It's a long song."

Clearly, Neil Young felt he had a lot to say. He wanted to make his points obvious — as JI notes, the album has no hidden metaphors, no double meanings — and he wanted to waste no time about it. After all, we've already had five years of Bush Co., five years of living with war. So, just seven months after the release of Prairie Wind Neil Young is back, but this time, he's brought triumphant trumpets, wonderfully messy drums, recklessly strummed guitars, and a 100–voice choir.

There's some straight–up Crazy Horse madness here. In "Reckless Consumer," Young sounds as angry as he did when he addressed some other southern man, only now, "bullwhips cracking" have been replaced by this "Madison Avenue War."

Young charges forward, taking the fight right to his opponent's home turf, shooting out Texas–styled blues riffs and Latin–flavored brass, before ending with a hopeful rendition of "America the Beautiful," making his point — "America is beautiful, but she has an ugly side" — both loud and clear.

Clay White's picture

Sadly, my young friend, you're too young to realize that Neil Young is the same no talent loser he was when I was your age and he's hoping to make a buck exploiting another generation of those who protest for protest's sake and offer only complaints and no alternative solutions. It has worked before and it'll probably work again. More's the pity.

Stephen Mejias's picture

I know very little about Neil Young, the person. I've heard he's an irascible fellow, but I can appreciate his commitment to doing things in his own fashion. I was also impressed by what he had to say in the CNN interview; seemed pretty honest and straight forward to me. But, I don't really know. I know a little bit more about the sound of his music. I'm most familiar with After the Goldrush, Harvest," and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. I would never call him a ""no talent loser."" I think he's created some incredibly beautiful and powerful stuff", and Living With War is right up there. And I do find that longevity and creativity to be most impressive, despite whatever his motivations might be.

Jazzfan's picture

Putting out protest record, oops, I mean CD, about President Bush at this late date is quite a bit like closing the barn door after all the animals have gone. Neil always was a good one for being a day late and a dollar short," e.g. ""The Needle and The Damage Done"".

Stephen Mejias's picture

>Putting out protest record, oops, I mean CD, about President Bush at this late date is quite a bit like closing the barn door after all the animals have gone. Why?I don't see why the timing of this album should take away from its value. The war hasn't ended, George Bush is still in office, so many lies are still being told, people are still dying because of it. These are today's concerns. Again, regardless of what Neil Young's agenda might be, this album has brought me a renewed sense of awareness and has built up my fire, and I bet it's done the same for many others. Plus: the music is good.

Jazzfan's picture

Why? Stephen, Why?Here's why, without getting too much into a political rant (and way off of the topic of music)," because our President is acting exactly as he said he would during the reelection campaign.Kinda reminds me of the story of the frog and the scorpion. The scorpion wants to cross the river and the frog offers him a ride on his back but only if the scorpion promises not to sting him. They get halfway across and the scorpion stings the frog. Just before they both drown the frog asks ""Why did you sting me?"" The scorpion says ""I'm a scorpion"," what did you expect me to do?""

Monty's picture

I like some of Neil Young's stuff and don't really care whether or not an artist is compelled to set a rant to music. My problem with this album is that it is sonically poor. This album was clearly thrown together and suffers from poor production. I must admit that I have only heard 2 tracks from the disc, but they were played on one of the better radio stations here and they both sounded as if they were recorded in somebody's garage. I did kinda like the raw energy, but that appeal couldn't overcome an overall sense of nothingness.

GaveAtTheHooch's picture

Why shore, it's legal! Twice as legal as listening into our phone conversations, and ten times as practical as sorting through all of our emails," and ya gotta hand it to one more of ""The Old Guys"" for stepping up and bringing back to life the kind of well-timed and center-dot scored protest albums that helped give the 1960's era it's long-lived historical relevance. Actually", the '60's could only be relevant, if someone for forward in time (like," now...) remembered what ""it was like"""," and ""what it was for"" as well. For too long we've been sitting by and watching Big Brother Inc. do whatever they want to us and everyone else on earth", with nary a peep from the one group of people who always can get away with even the most radical of diatribes.And why not, from the man who penned that infamous song about the shootings at Kent State University, even while he was still watching it being replayed on TV? If nothing else," hopefully some of today's ""radical"" musicians will recognize being ""slapped awake""...

Donald N.'s picture

I dig the album - politcal or not. Bush is a tard btw - imo.