By: Derek Jung
Neil Young has never been afraid to pick a fight with anyone. A little over a week after he made headlines for picking a bone with Donald Trump for using his song "Rockin' in the Free World" at a campaign rally, he releases an album taking aim at the controversial agricultural giant Monsanto, most famous for their genetically engineered seeds. Teaming up with Promise of the Real, which includes two of Willie Nelson's sons, Lukas and Micah, Young carves through 9 songs of scathing political commentary against all things Corporate America.
There's no mincing words on this album. Guns blazing, Young hits heavy and often. While there's a definite aging in his voice, he even sounds out of breath at times, you can never question his convictions or his distinctive tone. Churning, driving electric guitars feature on a number of songs that could easily translate into heavy improvised grooves on stage; others highlight Young, his acoustic guitar, and his signature harmonica.
On the opener, "A New Day For Love", Young declares emphatically that "it's a new day for the planet/It's a new day for love" with an optimism that isn't seen elsewhere on the album. From there on out the album delves into the struggles of American farmers, mother nature "enduring thoughtless plundering" on "Wolf Moon", and the evils of corporations, politicians, and, of course, Monsanto.
There's nothing necessarily new to this formula for the rock icon of over a half century, and that's not a bad thing. In fact, I think a number of these songs, especially jams like "Big Box" and fun whistler "A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop" would fit right in with "Rockin' In The Free World" just as "Wolf Moon" would complement his other moon hit, "Harvest Moon".
All of that being said, there's something missing that Young had years ago. Whether age or inspiration, there are times where this album completely misses its target. There's only so many times he can say "Monsanto" before we get the point. But at nearly 70 years old, Neil Young is still the Godfather of Grunge, and he can still produce an album to bob your head to. Monsanto better watch their backs.
My Number: 6/10
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here.