Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Neil Young - Earth

This 2016 release is a live concept album with the band Promise of the Real that has been augmented with animal and insect noises and some studio overdubs - particularly with commercial jingle singers adding an unsettling effect by seemingly promoting the companies (Exxon and Monsanto) that Young is railing against. The common thread here is that the themes are all based on the planet that we live on and the harm that man has done tos aid planet.

The songs come from various previous albums, especially Ragged Glory and The Monsanto Years. Their are some mellower, acoustic moments combined with raw, electric numbers like "My Country Home", with Young's guitar cutting through like only it can. "The Monsanto Years" has the before-mentioned insect sounds and vocals added and then "Western Hero" is done with mostly acoustic guitars and piano. "Vampire Blues" is musically based on a basic blues pattern, with Young's crazed guitars and, again, a theme of taking from the earth - oil, instead of blood. More heavy guitar in "Hippie Dream", a nice acoustic take of "After the Gold Rush" as well as "Human Highway".

For Disc 2 we get the dramatic rant against corporations and the economic destruction done to our country in the big rock of "Big Box" from The Monsanto Years, which has musical references to classic rock songs, making it work musically as well as thematically. In "People Want To Hear About Love", he rants against those who don't want to know about the harm being done to the planet. More acoustic guitar and harmonica in "Wolf Moon", then for the grand finale, there is a 28 minute electric jam on "Love and Only Love".

Young rarely disappoints and this is another good one - not his best, but a solid work and I dig that he is still willing to experiment - maybe even more willing to experiment - as he gets older.