Sunday, April 30, 2006

Angry Young, man

He may be a little late to the party, but it sure is good to hear the grand-daddy of angry young men finally put his two cents in. As the Gazetteer graciously points out, you can hear the whole streamed version of Neil Young's new very very anti-Dubya diatribe, Living With War by clicking on his website (or here).

And wow, it rocks. It rocks like a brazen, daring, unkempt Neil Young the likes we only got a hint of with 1989's "Rockin' in the Free World". Basically, it's like Bob Mould has been tweaking his guitar sound or something.

Now I was never more than a luke-warm fan of Young's (didn't he usedta hang out with a bunch of freakin hippies?) But then he won me over some with the props he gave to Johnny Rotten in that Hey Hey My My song or whatever it's called... Still, a lot of his material just leaves me yawning instead of fawning.

Not this time out though: this album has pure classic written all over it. It opens with "After the Garden" (of Eden I presume?), which takes Bono to school on how to write an anthemic rock song. The next song is the title track; then you've got "Shock and Awe" and "Flags of Freedom" among other heavy-hitters before you get to (oh my) "Let's Impeach the President".

Feel free to spell it right out there, eh Neil?

Of course he did wait until it became good and safe before taking this stand. And he's certainly not the first to say these things, but I think this album - coming out at this time - might have a wee impact. Having very recently spent two weeks among the fresh-faced youth at Abercrombie & Fitch's head office, I can attest to the fact that Dubya has officially become the anti-cool president among the cool kids who, in their capacity at A&F, pretty much dictate "cool" policy among the cool-kids and their contemporary cool-kid wannabes. Maybe it's because they're in Ohio, I dunno, but I got a definite sense that Bush has precious few folks standing up for him (or proud of him) anymore.

That's not quite the same situation as in 2002, when Steve Earle's brilliant and sage Jerusalem came out.

And apart from that, while others have crafted some truly intelligent protest songs (check out the late Joe Strummer's "Get Down Moses" and Son Volt's "Endless War" off Okemah And The Melody Of Riot) they don't nearly approach Young's ability to strike a chord (pardon the pun) with the American psyche.

The return of the angry Young comes at a time when just about the whole nation is angry with Bushco in varying degrees, and I sure as hell don't blame 'em.

- 30 -

1 comment:

ivan said...

In the languageof musicians,
that's righteous!