- Audio CD (15 May 2006)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Warner Bros
- ASIN: B000FI9OSG
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 40 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,365 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Living With War Import
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Digital Booklet: Living With War
Digital Booklet: Living With War
Even if you don't agree with Neil Young's politics, you can't help but be daunted by the intersection of his genius and ire on his second album in less than seven months. It is the very rare artist who is able to channel indignation and moral disgust in such a coherent and forceful way--without sacrificing any of the vivid imagery, passion, or the high level of musicality that we have come to expect from him over the past four decades. But that's not what elevates this album: it's his pure, naked, visceral reaction to the Bush administration's foreign policy, building on a canon of outrage that he began with 1970's "Ohio," penned in the wake of the Kent State student deaths. But here he goes one better, filling in the lines that he began to draw on 2003's Greendale about a family caught in changing times. But Young's done with musing about lost ideals. On Living with War, he demands much more from his audience, and himself. This is nothing less than a call for fearless action in extraordinarily fearful times. --Jaan Uhelszki
Neil Young is no stranger to putting politics in music. He's spent his entire career offering up the occasional haranguing to sit side-by-side with beautiful songs and his entire last album, Greendale, was a statement on protesting and the environment.
Living With War, as the title suggests, is inspired by America's involvement in Iraq and the Bush administration in general, and is filled with the dual towers of anger and imagery that have powered him since his rage truly began three decades ago on "Ohio".
That said, his ire does weigh a little too heavily at times, infecting songs that could have done with a moment or two to breathe, instead of being hammered down your throat.
This is the Neil Young of Rust and of Mirrorball. You might not agree with his politics, but when he's angry, he's a formidable songwriter. Living With War is another fist in America's gut. --Chris Long
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Top customer reviews
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.
The Iraq War is the central theme of this short album,recorded in barely a few weeks and pulsing with righteous indignation.
Using a large choir as backing vocalists,matched to a basic drums,bass and guitar, this is a curious mix but definately Young's best work for a decade
The CD is classic Neil Young. "Shock and Awe" is a vintage Neil Young tune anchored by a compelling melody and politically charged lyrics. The tune that has garnered the most public attention is "Let's Impeach The President". The only real negative I have with this set of songs is that this is almost like a continuous attack on the current administration (primarily George "W") in the same musical beat. The songs are interesting and well written but should not be compared to your typical "concept" album such as the Beatles "Sgt. Peppers" or the Who's "Tommy" that are individually diverse musically. The one change of pace is the final choir number "America the Beautiful" that is an interesting bookend to this powerful CD. I don't see any of these songs being one that will stand the test of time (i.e.: "Ohio", "Rockin' in the Free World", "Southern Man") but it will stir up some critical feedback from the public and politicians of today (both negative & positive) and should be discussed for some time to come.
"Living With War" may make you mad as hell which is pretty much the point. Welcome to Pop Culture Sen. Barack Obama (mentioned in the song "Lookin' for a Leader")!
You get a lot of mixed reactions at Neil Young releases, so a host of good reviews isn't always indicative of a quality product. Living With War is no disappointment. It's brilliant. A beautiful collection of rock songs, in the style of Neil's best, with a trumpet doubling his trademark lead guitar sound and a 100 voice choir backing Neil's voice, all over some heavily distorted rhythm guitar chords. And that's not just on one song; the choir and the heavy rhythm guitar is on every song.
These simple yet incredibly effective ideas give the album a unique sound of it's own.
Some of the lyrics read a little heavy-handed, but when sung they are given a poignancy and eloquence. They are beautifully delivered, and it makes you feel good to know that Shakey is so blatantly sticking a finger up at the Bush administration, while making it clear that his sympathies lie with the good old United States of America. That is, everything that is good about the USA, reminding everyone hopefully that you don't have to support war to be a patriot.
So, to give you reference points: you will probably ike this record if you like "Mirrorball", "Live Rust", "Weld" and possibly even "Zuma", though subtle moments are lacking. It's just one nice, loose, rocking diatribe.
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