Living With War

Neil Young

Reprise, 2006

http://www.neilyoung.com

REVIEW BY: Mark Kadzielawa

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/04/2006

This is truly the record for the times we live in. The most surprising part is the fact that a true veteran recorded it, instead of someone recent, and managed to attract more media attention than those current stars. Despite that veteran status, Neil Young does a remarkable job expressing the anger and angst of someone incredibly frustrated at the current state of America.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I waited with this review until I saw these songs performed live. I knew Neil was planning to tour with Crosby, Stills and Nash, but at the show they performed the album in its entirety. It turned out to be a clever move, since CSNY brings in bigger crowds and commands more media attention. These are songs that needed to be heard by large crowds, so touring with CSNY paid off, and these songs really hit you when you hear them live. Young plays with such intensity that even his guitar penetrates with anger. It was a very powerful experience.

Young truly means what he says here, which you could say about everything he's ever recorded. And Living With War is a statement against the current war based on fabricated evidence to get us there and the silent fall of the American Empire. Young touches on many topics and few are spared, but the music can be enjoyed by anybody, both those who grew up with young and the young people caught in the middle of the turmoil.

Lyrically, Young longs for the American pride now tarnished by foolish decisions of the current government. He wants to feel proud and strong, and I'm sure many Americans share his view. The sense of mission accomplished often crosses Young's thinking pattern, and rightfully so. It crosses mine too, and I'm only half his age.

Musically, the stripped-down sound is as angry as the lyrics. It is stripped to a basic sound so that the message is carried loud and clear, and that primitive nature is the beauty of Living With War. Despite its here-and-now status, this album that will get stronger with time and history will treat it kindly. But personally, I find the disc eye-opening, saying what many think and more.

It's my personal choice for album of the year.

Rating: A

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© 2006 Mark Kadzielawa and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Reprise, and is used for informational purposes only.