Neil Young: Living with War (Warners)

 |   |  <1 min read

Neil Young: Living with War (Warners)

With an embarrassing breathlessness, American rock writers greeted Living With War by 61-year-old Neil Young as if it was to be a turning point in the anti-Bush/anti-war campaign.

All noted Young had knocked it off quickly in a fit of anger, but you have to wonder what took him so long to get round to considering the state of his (adopted) nation.

Some have hailed it - linking it with previous albums like Freedom, which hardly seems a compliment - and praised him for his courage. But that seems like saluting his politics rather than the album.

These songs with titles like Shock and Awe, Impeach the President and Flags of Freedom are mostly bludgeoning, tuneless rants and Young's lyrics are angry but at times laughably banal. Will anyone's opinion be changed or confirmed by hearing him yelp "don't want no more lies"?

Elsewhere, Young demands a strong man as leader (isn't that what a significant number of Americans thought about George Bush?) and then gets in his clumsy qualification that "maybe he is a woman, or a black man after all".

This will appeal to camp followers of similar political opinion but musically it is leaden.

And while it may be filled with righteous -- but belated -- indignation, if you are looking for a reference point it isn't Young's passionate, affecting Ohio, but those clunking diatribes on the Lennon/Ono Sometime in New York album.

 


Share It

Your Comments

Gavin Hancock - Dec 13, 2011

A logical progession from Neil's CSNY 1970 protest anthem "Ohio"? Sure this album was destined to age quickly but it's a folk music time capsule and we just don't have enough of that these days. Best heard in its raw "In The Beginning" mix which strips off the overdubs and that diabetes inducing choir.

post a comment

More from this section   Music at Elsewhere articles index

Ardijah: The Best; PolyFonk (PolyFonk)

Ardijah: The Best; PolyFonk (PolyFonk)

In the decade before hip-hop became the distinctive voice of South Auckland, the Polynesian soul-funk of Ardijah was the most prominent and carried to a wider audience by the singles Give Me... > Read more

Butcher Holler: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn (Signature)

Butcher Holler: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn (Signature)

As well-intentioned as this is -- a tribute to the country legend Loretta Lynn from a group lead by the excellent Eilen Jewel -- Lynn herself brought self-confident earthiness to her delivery of... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Alberta Hunter: You Can't Tell the Difference After Dark (c1936)

Alberta Hunter: You Can't Tell the Difference After Dark (c1936)

When Alberta Hunter enjoyed a career revival in the late Seventies -- when she was in her mid 80s -- people who had forgotten her were scrambling to acclaim her saucy and sassy blues, and to look... > Read more

BLAIR JOLLANDS INTERVIEWED (2004): Kiwi expat under a watchful eye

BLAIR JOLLANDS INTERVIEWED (2004): Kiwi expat under a watchful eye

The Cafe Bangla restaurant in London's Brick Lane isn't too difficult to find - and it's worth the effort. It's a couple of doors along from the one with Prince Charles' photo in the window.... > Read more