12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Neil Young Goes to War,
This review is from: Living With War (Audio CD)
When the first mentions of this record began to be aired on the internet, initially from blogs of the singers who make up the 100 piece choir, it was difficult to imagine Neil making a completely political album. Sure, he's recorded individual songs with strong politcal content before, but this was a departure, unless you count Greendale!
I for one was concerned that the political message would mean that the music would suffer, but I believe that it hasn't and there are some songs on the album that will stand the test of time and become great songs.
Using a three pice combo of Rick Rosas (Bass), Chad Cromwell (Drums) and Tommy Bray (Trumpet) Neil has recorded ten songs that have urgency, passion and energy that goes hand in hand with the quick recording period, as many of the songs were the first takes. This is a fairly typical Neil thing to do. He has frequently said that there have been better recordings of his songs but he prefers the take that has the most "feel".
This seems quite peverse, especially when it it is so easy for musicians and producers to iron out flaws in the sound, and Neil has been caught out by releasing less than perfect albums. However, Living With War is an exception. It's message demands urgency, hence the quick recording, and the unpolished finish suits the songs and the times.
Stand out tracks after 20+ listenings are;
Shock and Awe
Flags of Freedom
Roger and Out
Peversely, I like Let's Impeach the President because of it's campfire sing-a-long qualities.
The final track is another in the "He's gone one step too far" school of believing everything he does, see Natural Beauty on Harvest Moon. Armed with his 100 piece choir, he gave them the freedom to sing America the Beautiful the way they would like to, in previous songs he mmade them learn how he sings phrases and lines and follow them perfectly. So it's not a Neil Young song, he doesn't write it or sing on it. However, the saving grace is that he gave his choir an opportunity to shine at the end of the recording process. Not a bad piece of generosity from someone who is notoriously difficult.
With regards to the politics, I guess that it might be difficult to listen to if it doesn't fit with your own, but have a listen anyway and see what the fuss is all about. Go to [...] and listen to it for free at first, see if you like it. Remember that the CD will be better quality of sound.
Remember, if you don't like this Neil Young album, there will be a different one coming along shortly.