Neil Young - Living With War

Coming just a matter of months since "Prairie Wind", his second sequel to the classic "Harvest", Neil Young has now rush released "Living With War" first as a download on the net and now just weeks later in a music store near you. After the soft rock of "Prairie Wind" Young goes back to "Godfather Of Grunge Mode". Written and recorded in just nine days and sounding like the tracks were done in one take and the CD artwork is virtually non-existent. Frustrated at the unwillingness of any younger generation of musicians of any genre of music, Young figured out it was up to himself, one of the sixties generation who protested for the Civil Rights movement, against the Vietnam war and was one of the artists involved in the No Nukes Concerts. Youngs politics have not always been on the left, the Canadian supported the Presidency of Ronald Reagan of his adopted country, but he obviously feels angry at the state of the nation.

Of the nine tracks (there are in fact ten, track ten is a straight, ironic? Massed choir rendition of America The Beautiful) one of the highlights is "Lets Impeach The President" in which the removal of George Bush is called for. The voice of Dubya is sampled and the track features a military style trumpet. "Shock & Awe" deals with the irony of George Bush declaring "mission accomplished" on the deck of an aircraft carried and years later the carnage goes on. This track also featuring a trumpet solo sounding eerily like something from a spaghetti western. "Flags Of Freedom" namechecks Bob Dylan and in fact the tune is cheekily similar to Dylans "Chimes Of Freedom" and features the asthmatic harmonica playing he shares with his bobness. "Looking For A Leader" concerns itself with the need for a more visionary President and to quote "maybe its a woman or a black man after all" The massed choir are used to good effect on the track, on "Restless Consumer" the choir is used to unsettling effect - sounding like a manic Polyphonic Spree chanting "No need". "Roger And Out" at the end of the album tells the tale of a contemporary of Youngs killed in Battle and is melodically a close relative of Youngs own helplessness.

Given the theory that an artists most urgent works are done in approximately the first ten years of a career this is one of the best albums Young has done for a long time.

Derek McCann

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