Neil Young’s new album is dedicated to the land of America: to agriculture, to timeless grace, and to hope. ‘The Monsanto Years’ is an absolute triumph of the imagination. Neil is pushing 70, but if anything he’s gaining ground on just about everyone in the music scene. In fact, this album may not only be the most important of his career, it may be the only record that truly matters in 2015. Everything else sounds pretty lame by comparison.
Remember when musicians wrote stuff that really mattered to them? – out of personal or political conviction, that is – stuff that sounded as if they believed music really made a difference. Well, you might disagree with Young’s strong stand on the oilsands, or agribusiness, but Neil appears not to give a s-t about what his audience or what his record company might think. His new record is as unadulterated as they come – his heart and emotions and intellect are out on display for all, come what may.
Key tracks – well, there’s not a loose end on the record. Superb guitar playing (with a Crazy Horse, Danny Whittenesque feeling so many of us longtime Young fans cherish) – great melodies, and lyrics of the old Neil quirkiness all made this an outstanding album. And his singing? – impassioned to the very core of his being. You’d swear the man was 30 years old, not 70. Springsteen needs to hear this record. Dylan needs to hear this record. It might be the very thing to jolt them from their deep deliriums.
Put this album on – we guarantee you’ll listen to the end – something that can be said for very few records these days. His current summer tour in support of the record is entitled The Promise of the Real is already garnering superlatives. Promise of the Real, btw, is a unique collaboration with Willie Nelson’s sons, Lukas and Micah. Buy the record, get to the show, and think deeply upon his message. Wildfires are burning across the land as we write – Neil has the passion, the commitment and the modesty to think he may be wrong (listen closely to the closing track “If I Don’t Know”), but he has the courage to speak up about what he believes is the most important issue facing the planet. And somehow he convinces in a way no other rock star does.