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Critic says Neil Young shows how not to write a protest song

JORGE DIRKX/AFP/Getty Images

JORGE DIRKX/AFP/Getty Images

Neil Young’s new album, “The Monsanto Years,” aims to shine a light on the chemical company’s manipulation of our food supply, but the songs are so awful that no one is likely to listen.

A new music review of Neil Young’s new album “The Monsanto Years’ that appeared Friday, June 26 in the New York Daily News says the songs leave on wondering why  he didn’t choose a quicker, clearer and simpler way to get his message across. Hadn’t he thought of writing an op-ed?

The new album, the author writes, sinks decent riffs and an earnest message in unlistenably didactic lyrics.

Quoting the article: “The band supporting Young has some appeal. The 69-year-old star worked with musicians decades his junior: Lukas and Micah Nelson, the guitar-playing sons of Willie Nelson. They brought in some of their young friends from their band Promise of the Real.

“Even so, no melody or chord progression can survive lyrics like “When the people of Vermont voted to label food with GMO/so they could find out what was in it/Monsanto and Starbucks sued the state of Vermont to overturn the people’s will.”

Read more at: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music/neil-young-monsanto-years-one-star-debacle-article-1.2272246

 

NPR streams The Monsanto Years: “Taut” and “snarly”

10407532_760324400706134_8756850788598829929_nNPR writer Tom Moon seems to like Neil Young’s latest release: “The Monsanto Years.” NPR is streaming the album on its website at:

http://www.npr.org/2015/06/21/415234582/first-listen-neil-young-promise-of-the-real-the-monsanto-years

We’ve heard enough about it for months now. The album will be officially released June 30.

Moon writes:

“Having written some of the rock era’s most tender odes to love and devotion, Young, now 69, might well be a little conflicted. He understands how love can be an escape; he appreciates the notion of the love song as a salve for the soul. But he’s a chronicler of his times, and there’s so much going on in the world, from the erosion of basic freedoms to the erosion of the soil, and he feels a responsibility to sound the alarm. The title line is repeated often, in unwaveringly consonant ’60s-Coke-commercial vocal harmonies — a contrast to the acidic voice Young uses to inventory the many unpleasant realities that have riled him up.”

He calls the song: “People Want To Hear About Love”  the most artful moment on The Monsanto Years, Young’s 36th studio album as a solo artist. “Taut” is his word for it, and Young is describes as “Snarly.”

“Here, we have a series of taut and stone-simple Neil Young songs that fit together under a catchall concept (about companies wielding extraordinary influence over many aspects of our quality of life), each powered by its own supply of righteous fury. Enjoyment of it probably depends less on whether you agree with Young’s positions than on how much tolerance you have for a mantra, repeated frequently, using the three syllables that make up the trade name Monsanto. It also helps to like your harangues set to three-chord rock and expressed through triadic melodies. This is not subtle, Harvest Moon Neil, brooding at the piano. This is ornery, snarly Neil. Give him a megaphone and a transcript of these lyrics, put him on a street corner and watch what happens.”

Decide for yourself.

Read more, and listen here:

http://www.npr.org/2015/06/21/415234582/first-listen-neil-young-promise-of-the-real-the-monsanto-years

More on the Monsanto Years: Trailer

UntitledHere’s a mini-documentary on  Neil Young’s new album The Monsanto Years –  a behind-the-scenes trailer shedding some light on the album and how the collaboration came about.

Lukas and Micah Nelson are members of the Promise of the Real are longtime Young fans, as you will find out when you view the video, and their band name was even inspired by a line from the On the Beach song “Walk On.”

What I am trying to figure out, is it “The Promise of the Real” or “Promise of the Real,” because then it doesn’t need a “the” in front of it.

In a series of interviews, they explain  the collaborative process, plus just hanging out and jamming.

One thing they confirm is Young’s unpredictably. You just can’t rehearse too much. Wrecks the spontaneity.

The Monsanto Years is due out on June 29 through Reprise.

 

Big Box Offers Big Sound

neil-young-the-monsanto-yearsHere’s an audio of the song “Big Box” from Neil Young’s new album “The Monsanto Years.”

Reminiscent of the narrative songs within his musical “Greendale,”  told in the form of a ballad.

Troubadours include Lukas & Micah Nelson, The Promise of the Real. The band name is said to have come from Young’s “Walk On,” off the classic “On the Beach album.”

From the chorus:

“Ooh baby, that’s hard to change
I can’t tell them how to feel.
Some get stoned, some get strange,
But sooner or later it all gets real.”

 

 

Rehearsal video Teatro Sessions

Neil Young Teatro SessionNeil Young and Promise of the REAL from Teatro Sessions, 2015.

Haskell Wexler follows Neil Young getting out of his electric LincVolt and into the studio during rehearsals.

A real down home feel to it all.

 

In the video John Hanlon, producer/recording engineer says: “He (Neil) just captures the moment, he gives it his all, he goes for the throat. If he is not feeling it, he ain’t gonna pick up the guitar. If he’s feeling music, then he is recording, he’s playing and I am recording it because that’s what art is, capturing the movement, – all the human imperfections, that is what it is about always. He is the commensurate artist, we get first takes on everything, that’s the idea, cuz that’s often times the best stuff. If you have to think about it that’s not creating, that’s thinking, then it doesn’t work, it doesn’t have that passion.”

Wexler is an American cinematographer, film producer, and director. Wexler was judged to be one of film history’s ten most influential cinematographers in a survey of the members of the International Cinematographers Guild. He filmed Young in his LincVolt back in March.

In November 2014 Wexler tweeted this :”My niece brought Neil Young over for lunch where we discussed, among other things, his anti-war music. Although…

 

 

 

 

Random Quote

When the change came, And you had a Chance to see through me Though the other side is just the same
by -- Neil Young

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